Emotional Regulation

Research shows that the capacity for regulating emotion is first established in early childhood. Research also shows that children who have challenges regulating emotions early in life are more likely to have challenges making and sustaining friendships with peers. Strong emotional regulation is reported to positively impact children by serving as a strong predictor of academic achievement, specifically with testing performance. Children with better managed emotions are reported to demonstrate better sustained attention, problem solving skills, and integral executive function skills such as inhibition control. Children who learn to regulate emotions from an early age are shown to demonstrate better resiliency given experiences with trauma and adversity. Emotional dysregulation is also reported to be closely linked to clinical disorders such as Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Anxiety, and Clinical Depression in children.

Effective modeling of emotional regulation is reported to play a central role in the development of these skills for adolescents as parents’ own abilities to practice self-regulation are among the first examples their children see. Research shows that children of parents who struggle with emotional regulation are more likely to grow up having dysregulation challenges themselves.

To help adolescents develop emotional control, it is recommended that parents work to adopt consistent regulation strategies within the home for themselves and for their children, model positive and negative emotional vocabulary to attach language to their actions/expressions/responses, value and prioritize mental health/mindfulness practices, and expose their children to other adults who model positive self-regulatory skills (e.g. neighbors, family friends, community members, etc.)

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