- Emotional regulation in children means the ability to manage emotions in a healthy manner.
- Factors like negative parenting and mental health disorders can trigger emotional dysregulation in children and impact their lives in the long run.
What Is Emotional Regulation In Children?
Emotional regulation refers to the ability to manage and control emotions in an adaptive and healthy manner. It is a crucial skill for children to learn as they grow and develop.
Emotional regulation involves recognizing and understanding emotions, being able to express them appropriately, and being able to regulate them when necessary. Children who are able to regulate their emotions are more likely to have better mental health outcomes, stronger social connections, and higher academic achievement.
Factors That Influence Emotional Regulation In Children
Emotional regulation in children can be influenced by a range of positive and negative factors. Factors like parenting styles, genetics, life experiences and psychosocial environment, innate personality traits and temperament, as well as cultural norms influence how children regulate their emotions.
Positive parenting that provides a safe space for children to express their feelings and thrive is associated with healthy emotional regulation.
By virtue of genetics or otherwise, children who are born with personality traits related to introversion or neuroticism tend to display intense temperaments and they may find it challenging to regulate their emotions.
Similarly, children with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as abuse or neglect, may have more difficulty regulating their emotions.
Children with ACEs, in fact, go on to develop severe mental health disorders (like ADHD, anxiety, PTSD, etc.) and this may contribute to greater emotional dysregulation and problematic behavior patterns. Moreover, cultural differences may also impact how emotions are expressed and regulated in children.
Signs Of Emotional Dysregulation In Children
Common signs of emotional dysregulation in children can include:
- Frequent and intense tantrums or outbursts
- Difficulty calming down after a stressful event
- Excessive worry or anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention or staying focused
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomach aches
- Social withdrawal or avoidance
Taking Care Of Children’s Mental Health
Emotional dysregulation in children can severely impact their daily functioning, social relationships, and how they harbor at school.
Therefore, taking care of children’s mental health and supporting emotional regulation in children is essential for their overall well-being. In the process, we can help them develop into healthy, resilient adults.
This week, following National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, we can pledge to help our children in regulating their emotions better.
As parents and caregivers, we can do so by modeling healthy coping strategies (such as taking deep breaths or going for a walk when feeling upset) and helping children learn by watching adults around them.
We also have to acknowledge that children need to feel heard and understood when they express their emotions. Validating their feelings can help them learn how to regulate their emotions in a healthy way.
Moreover, because children thrive on routine and predictability, creating a stable and consistent environment can help children feel more secure and less stressed.
But, if a child is struggling with emotional dysregulation or other mental health concerns, it’s important to seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide support and guidance on how to best support the child’s mental health needs.