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Some children have uncontrollably strong emotions, which causes them to act out and throw tantrums. We refer to this as emotional dysregulation. The good news is that parents can teach their children a plethora of relaxing and calming practices.

Identifying and Labeling Emotions

Teaching children to identify and label their emotions is a crucial first step. They will be better able to regulate their anger before they attack someone or have a meltdown if they can tell themselves, “I’m feeling angry.” It’s critical that children understand that intense emotions are common and that their difficulties are acknowledged. 

Teaching Kiddos to Cope

The most powerful tool parents have in influencing behavior is attention. As a parent, it’s useful to realize that even bad behavior is a form of communication. A kiddo that is so overwhelmed that they are acting out, is feeling distressed. They lack the maturity to control their emotions and communicate in a more responsible manner, so they throw a tantrum. Teaching kiddos to cope when they find themselves in a frustrating, scary, upsetting, or very exciting situation is the most difficult type of self-control. In these heated situations, it’s easy for kids to lash out, burst into tears, or refuse to cooperate. Having a plan that spells out what to do instead can help them hold onto self-control.

Another option is to try planning how you two are going to handle stressful situations. Talking about stressful situations in advance helps avoid meltdowns. For instance, you can discuss with your child before a visit how they can handle their difficult emotions if they frequently become upset by the more stringent regulations at their grandparents’ place. If your child does throw a fit, discuss what went wrong and how it could have been avoided later on.

Lastly, schedule a time each day when your child can select an activity for the two of you to do. The knowledge that they will have that period of time helps ease their stress levels for the remainder of the day. Regular special time spent with your children also serves as a constant reminder that you adore them—even on the bad days. 

Problem Solving and Stress Management

Recalling a previous incident, such as a tantrum at the grocery store, gets the youngster to reflect on what went wrong and to plan out possible solutions. Should you identify one or two factors that could have resulted in another outcome, your youngster may keep those in mind the next time they are beginning to feel overwhelmed.

A child can learn stress management techniques that they can use later in the day by having a parent set aside a short amount of time each day to accomplish something they have selected. It’s a time to foster strong relationships with your children, to ignore any petty misbehavior, to just pay attention to them, and to let them take charge.

Sensitive Parenting – How to Meet Your Children’s Needs

Serve and return is a key component of sensitive, responsive parenting. The architecture of the brain is shaped by these types of interactions. An adult’s eye contact, words, or embrace in response to a yell, screams, or crying builds and reinforces neural connections in the child’s brain that facilitate the development of social and communicative abilities.

Who and When to Ask For Help

Given that there are so many possible causes for emotional outbursts and aggression, an accurate diagnosis is key to getting the help you need. Knowing how and whom to ask for help when they need it is also essential. If your child has a pattern of lashing out it may be because of an underlying problem that needs treatment. Square Peg Therapies is the perfect place to start getting your child the therapy and resources they need.

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