All parents have faced the screams and loud roars of their children. It is normal for children to throw tantrums when, for example, something is not allowed to them. But when it happens too often and goes on for too long, or happens suddenly and unexpectedly for the parent, something may be wrong. Emotional dysregulation may be present.
Judy Katz, an occupational psychologist specializing in sensory processing and behavioral issues, explains to purewow.com exactly what emotional dysregulation is.
What is emotional dysregulation?
Emotional dysregulation, according to Katz, refers to a person's ability to regulate, manage their reactions to given stimuli.
Extreme situations can be a trigger, unlocking a certain type of behavior. For example, imagine that a co-worker stole your credit and took it to himself, or you caught your spouse cheating. The first thing you want to do is clench your fists, pound the table with all your might, and scream at the top of your voice.
Of course you won't, because most people learn to control their emotions in certain situations and according to the specific form of communication. Just think what would happen if every time you wanted to scream, you did. Would you be well accepted in society. What if everyone did that?
This is what emotional dysregulation is in children. If the uncontrollable outbursts happen more often than is acceptable, if they are too long-lasting and the child does not calm down despite the attempts on your part as a parent, it is possible that it is a question of emotional problems.
Why does this happen, especially to children?
Emotional regulation is a key part of personality development and depends on the sense of security and comfort that the child has in the family environment and in the surrounding world. This affects the levels of self-esteem and confidence later in the child's life as an adult.
One of the early signs of problems with processing sensory stimuli from the environment, which are also involved in the formation of the child's emotional characteristics, are sensitivity to noises, reluctance to be touched or, conversely, to be constantly hugged and carried on hands. These signs suggest that the child does not feel comfortable in his own body.
Furthermore, these emotional problems cause anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, unrestrained impulsivity, short temper, hostility, inertia and apathy in communication, difficulties in understanding and following unwritten social rules of behavior.
So if your child is crying inconsolably and banging his fists on the table when you try to serve him vegetables for example, this is a sign of emotional dysregulation.
What to do if you notice this behavior?
First you need to determine if the child's behavior is a momentary outburst of anger or if it is about something more serious. Pay attention to what triggers outbursts of nervous behavior. Try to talk to the child, to his teachers at school or in the kindergarten, if necessary contact a specialist psychologist.