What You Need To Know About Your Child's Self-Regulation Abilities
You may be asking yourself, “What exactly is self regulation? How do I know if my child is lacking this ability? And if they are, what can I do to help?” These are all excellent questions that we will discuss in this article.
In short, self-regulation is the ability for a child to deal with their emotions and behavior when faced with a difficult situation. It is often times confused with the term self-control, and although they may be related they are not interchangeable. Self-regulation is a tool that a child uses to recognize that they are in some sort of dilemma, and utilizes their emotions and behavior accordingly.
This skill is one that is developed over time. A 4 year old child’s ability to self-regulate will not be as finely tuned as a 10 year old child. A tantrum for example may be appropriate for a toddler, because they have no other way to express their frustrations. That same tantrum however would not be appropriate for the 10 year old and may be indicative of a sensory processing or executive functioning issue. When you see that your child is not able to take hold of their emotions or behavior in a healthy way, it may be time to seek professional help and get an evaluation done.
Lack of self-regulation is not uncommon with children dealing with learning and behavioral issues. There are many frustrations a child deals with, and they are unable to reflect internally to come up with a solution which can lead to anger, outbursts and feelings of being overwhelmed. Luckily there are many tools available for both parent and child that can be used to lessen their frustrations and deal with negative emotions in a more positive way. Things such as teaching self-awareness, coming up with options to control impulses, and setting realistic goals are just a few things that can be done with the aid of a qualified professional.
Dr. Sepideh Homayoonfar is a licensed child clinical psychologist located in Great Neck, NY who specializes in comprehensive pediatric evaluations. Should results warrant a diagnosis, she can help parents and their child better understand ADHD, develop better coping strategies, and improve organizational skills.
Please feel free to email us or call our office at 516-484-1200 for a free phone consultation and any other questions that you may have!