Many parents have a hard time dealing with kids who are unable to regulate their emotions. Tantrums are not uncommon in toddlers and this is nothing to worry about. But if you have a 6-year-old who throws a tantrum every time he/she cannot get what he/she wants, then you have a problem. The tantrums are probably as a result of the fact that your child is unable to regulate his/her emotions.
It is alright for children to feel disappointed, anxious, discouraged, angry or excited, but the way they express this says a lot about their level of emotional maturity. If your child’s anxiety is causing them to refuse to go to school or go out to play with other kids, or their anger means no one in the house will have peace until they get what they want, you need to find a way to help them deal with the problem. In most cases, the child can be helped at home without the need for a professional. However, some cases are complicated and may require you to seek professional help for your child.
Why some children struggle with emotional regulation
People have different ways of dealing with their emotions and this depends on one’s temperament as well as learned behavior. Children are no different.
- Some children are unable to self-soothe when they are infants and these ones are likely to have issues with emotional regulation in their childhood. In such cases, a child counsellor may be able to help the children learn how to deal with their emotions.
- Children with personality disorders such as ADHD and those who suffer from anxiety issues may also have a difficult time dealing with their emotions. Such children need professional help to learn how to control their emotions before things get out of hand.
- Some parents are too soft on their children and easily give in to their tantrums. This makes the child think that the only way to get what they want is by demanding for it and they will not understand that they cannot always get what they want. This is not healthy for a child’s emotional development as they will expect things to always go their way. If they do not get what they want, they will be unable to deal with their disappointment and may end up having an emotional outburst.
Parents play a very important role in emotional regulation in children. You can therefore help your child learn how to deal with his/her emotions in a way that does not hinder their productivity or cause so much trouble to everyone around. If children do not learn how to control their emotions early in life, they will have a hard time coping with life’s challenges later. Such children may end up becoming unpleasant people to deal with as they will always insist on having their way. Others may be unable to deal with their anxiety and this can terribly affect their livelihood as they will be too afraid of taking risks.