Helping Children With Behavioral Dysregulation

May 7, 2024 | Education

Raising children is no walk in the park, and sometimes, kids exhibit behaviors that are challenging to manage. One situation that many parents struggle with is behavioral dysregulation, especially in kids between the ages of 5 and 10.

As tough as it may be, there are several ways in which children with behavioral dysregulation can be helped. However, this is often only viewed as “acting out.” There’s a notable shortage of programs to assist children in handling their emotions.

Let’s explore what behavioral dysregulation means and how you can help your child.

What Is Behavioral Dysregulation in Children?

Behavioral dysregulation is when a child struggles to regulate their emotions, behavior, thoughts, or actions in what is considered an “appropriate” fashion.

It manifests in several forms, including:

  • Emotional outbursts
  • Aggression
  • Impulsivity
  • Hyperactivity
  • Self-control problems
  • Difficulty concentrating

This behavior may negatively impact relationships, academic performance, and the child’s well-being.

What causes behavioral dysregulation?

There are several factors that may contribute to behavioral dysregulation in children:

  • Neurological factors
  • Trauma
  • Environmental stress
  • Parenting style
  • Genetics

Parents must spot dysregulation early on so that the child can receive the help they need.

How To Help a Child With Behavioral Dysregulation

There are not a lot of professional programs available to help children with behavioral dysregulation, and often, the duty falls to overwhelmed parents.

The main way to help a child with behavioral dysregulation is to guide them to develop coping mechanisms that calm them down.

Understanding emotions

A child must learn how emotions work. Emotions don’t appear suddenly; they build until they become too much to handle, and then a tantrum or outburst occurs.

By helping your child understand and name an emotion early on, it can be handled before it turns into an overwhelming situation.

Validating emotions

Parents often try to dismiss a kid’s feelings, especially if they’re negative. However, communicating that you understand and accept their emotions will make them feel understood. This can help them release powerful emotions, leading to a calmer state of mind.

Positive attention

It’s not always good to make a fuss. At times, a parent wants to ignore an unruly child. But by praising positive behavior, you are teaching your child that they’re doing something well.

Pay attention to any self-regulating steps your child is taking to calm down, no matter how small.

For example, if your child is busy having a tantrum on the floor and takes a deep breath, quickly tell them, “That was a nice, deep breath. Let’s do some more breaths together.”


A child with behavioral dysregulation will benefit from having a consistent routine. A daily schedule offers stability, which can reduce anxiety — a trigger for outbursts.

Physical activity

Staying active will help your child reduce stress and improve overall mood. You can encourage your child to partake in extra-curricular activities, like athletics or gymnastics, or you can set time aside each day to kick a ball in the yard or take the dog for a walk.


Children should learn to practice self-awareness from a young age. This will help them to identify negative emotions associated with dysregulation. Encourage your child to think about their feelings and reflect on their behavior. You can ask them to write down their feelings (even if they’re just basic ones like “happy” or “angry”) and ask them how they want to react to those feelings.

When they start to notice their emotions early, they can develop strategies to soothe themselves.

Professional support

Therapists or counselors will be able to provide you with the necessary support. They can work one-on-one with your child to help them navigate their own emotions and behavior.

Programs To Support Families

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of programs to support families and children with behavioral dysregulation. There is a great need for this service, as more and more children are exhibiting behavioral problems.

Treatment centers offering patient-centered health care for young children with emotional and behavioral dysregulation are needed to help them understand and manage their emotions.

These healthcare facilities will not only help the children become the best versions of themselves but also help the whole family cope and work through any outbursts.

Final Thoughts

Parents may feel overwhelmed when dealing with an emotional, volatile child. But they need to understand that there is probably a reason behind the child’s behavior, and there are also ways to help manage the outbursts.

While the duty falls to parents to help their children, there are treatment centers that can assist them in guiding their children to understand and cope with their feelings.

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