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Happy Parenting: Why emotional regulation among kids is an important life skill

Emotional regulation is not a skill we are born with. Toddlers’ mood can swing like a pendulum. Helping our kids learn to self-regulate is among parents’ most important tasks. This article will examine how emotional self-regulation develops and how we can help our children acquire this crucial skill.
 
What is emotional regulation? 
 
Emotional regulation or self regulation is the ability to monitor and modulate which emotions one has, when you have them, and how you experience and express them.
Learning to self-regulate is a key milestone in child development – whose foundations are laid in the earliest years of life.
 
A child’s capacity to regulate their emotions affects their family and peer, academic performance, long-term mental health, and their ability to thrive in a complex world.
 
RELATIONSHIPS WITH FAMILY AND PEERS
 
A child who cannot self regulate and throws tantrums constantly puts a strain on the parent-child relationship. This can impact the climate of the whole household, including siblings or everyone around them, and lead to a negative spiral.
 
Ditto for friendships: Kids who don’t have the ability to control their feeling or behavior can have a harder time making or keeping friends. The inability to self-regulate emotions can lead to traits like anger, aggression, withdrawal or anxiety.
 
All this can snowball into further negative consequences: Children who are rejected by their peers are at increased risk of dropping out of school, delinquency, substance abuse and other behavior problems 1 . Those who are withdrawn and rejected by peers are also more likely to get bullied 2 .
 
PERFORMANCE AND SUCCESS

In contrast, good emotional regulation in children not only positively impacts relationships, but it is also a strong predictor of academic performance and success. Effective emotion management allows a student to focus on performing during tests and exams, rather than being impaired by anxiety.
 
Students who can self-regulate also have better attention and problem-solving capabilities, and they perform better on tasks involving delayed gratification, inhibition, and long-term goals.
 
This effect carries on throughout life. An adult who cannot master emotional regulation enjoys less job satisfaction, mental health or general well-being. 
 

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