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Emotional Dysregulation in Kids

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Emotional dysregulation in kids means they have trouble managing their emotions. They may quickly get upset, have outbursts, and have difficulty calming down. They need support and help from mental health professionals to learn healthy coping skills and control their emotions.

Frequently Asked Question


How can I tell if my child has emotional dysregulation?

Signs of emotional dysregulation in kids include frequent tantrums, outbursts, and trouble managing emotions in social situations.

How can I help my child with emotional dysregulation?

Helping a child with emotional dysregulation involves providing support, understanding, and seeking professional treatment from a mental health professional.

Can emotional dysregulation be treated?

Yes, emotional dysregulation can be treated through therapy, counseling, and other mental health services. Children can learn healthy coping strategies and better regulate their emotions with help.

Scientific Definition


Emotional dysregulation in kids means that they have trouble controlling their emotions. They may feel overwhelmed by their feelings and have a hard time managing them in a healthy way. This can lead to outbursts, tantrums, and other behavioral problems. For example, a child with emotional dysregulation might easily get upset and have trouble calming down. They may lash out at others, cry frequently, or become very angry. It’s important to understand that emotional dysregulation is not a choice. It’s a problem with the way the brain processes and controls emotions. Kids with this issue need support and understanding from their caregivers and specialized treatment from mental health professionals. By working with a therapist, kids with emotional dysregulation can learn healthy coping skills and better control their emotions.

Treatment to Help with the Symptom Emotional Dysregulation

Treatment options for emotional dysregulation can greatly assist in managing and improving symptoms. Let’s explore how these treatments can be beneficial:

  • Therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help children learn effective coping strategies, identify triggers, and develop healthier emotional responses.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to address underlying conditions contributing to emotional dysregulation, such as ADHD or mood disorders. Medications can help stabilize mood and enhance emotional control.
  • Parental Support: Providing a nurturing and understanding environment is crucial. Parents can implement strategies like creating consistent routines, offering positive reinforcement, and fostering open communication with their child.
  • Skill-building Programs: Programs focused on teaching emotional regulation techniques, executive functioning skills, and social skills, like Goally, can provide interactive and engaging tools for children to develop these vital skills.

With appropriate treatment and support, children with emotional dysregulation can experience significant improvement in managing their emotions and behavioral responses. Over time, they can develop enhanced emotional regulation skills, leading to improved overall well-being and healthier relationships.

Conditions Associated with Emotional Dysregulation

Emotional dysregulation can be associated with various conditions that impact a child’s emotional well-being and behavior. Here are some of the most common conditions associated with emotional dysregulation:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Kids with ADHD often experience difficulty regulating their emotions, leading to impulsivity and emotional outbursts.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Children with ASD may struggle with emotional regulation due to challenges in social communication and sensory processing.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety can disrupt emotional regulation, causing heightened emotional responses and difficulty managing stress.
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): Emotional dysregulation is a core feature of ODD, characterized by persistent anger, defiance, and frequent temper tantrums.
  • Mood Disorders: Conditions like depression and bipolar disorder can affect emotional regulation, resulting in extreme mood swings and emotional instability.



Goally’s Mood Tuner | Emotional Regulation in a Fun Way

Goally's Mood Tuner app displayed on two Goally Devices. One shows the quiz asking which emotion the child is showing. Another shows the zones of regulation that child can select to express how they are feeling.

The Mood Tuner app encourages kids to look inwards and identify their feelings, helping them understand what’s going on inside. Once they’ve recognized their emotions, they can choose from a variety of exercises designed to help them self-regulate and find their balance.


Pax the Penguin is your child’s friend and personal guide as they learn to express their feelings, we’re all about managing big emotions before a meltdown.


Check out our distraction-free device (with ONLY Goally apps on it) for $149. And by distraction-free, we mean your kiddo won’t be sneaking onto Youtube every few minutes… 😉


Explore ALL the Goally apps today!


This post was originally published on Feb. 8, 2023. It was updated on July 12, 2023.