When older kids still have tantrums: What to know

By Bob Cunningham, EdM

It’s common for young kids to have temper tantrums when they don’t get their way. But by the age of 8 or 9, tantrums have tapered off for most kids. 

When older kids have tantrums, people may see them as spoiled or disrespectful. The truth isn’t so simple, though. Tantrums happen for a reason.

As kids grow up, they typically develop language skills to express feelings like frustration and anger. They learn to negotiate for what they want. Most learn to handle strong emotions and cope with disappointment.

But some kids take longer to learn to handle strong emotions and cope with disappointment. They may struggle with self-control or anxiety, or have trouble putting feelings into words. These and other reasons can lead to older kids having frequent tantrums.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Bob Cunningham, EdM serves as executive director of learning development at Understood.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Ellen Braaten, PhD is the director of LEAP at Massachusetts General Hospital.