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Aggressive outbursts and self-regulation

I have a 4.5yo with hearing loss. His behaviour this past week has become noticeably irrational, escalating quickly to anger/aggression. We’ve had three consecutive days with aggressive outbursts. He’s a very smart, strong-willed boy but has trouble self-regulating. He is very aware of his feelings and has no problem naming them. He also knows what strategies he should be using to calm down but doesn’t utilise them ‘in the moment. We already see speechie and OT. Would a child psych help?

Thanks for your question. Self-regulation is a critical skill for long term social and emotional success. Even though your son has an awereness of his emotions and been taught some strategies to assist him regulate his emotions, it seems he can't apply them in moments of a full blown stress response as he has been 'emtionally hijacked". In these moments it literally makes it impossible for his brain to act in a rational and logical manner.

I would want to understand more about "what is the message behind the behaviour?" by talking with him. In addition, it might be of value to work with a psychologist to learn more re-emptive strategies to ward off a full blown resposne. Then in everyday moments you can emotion coach him until he learns to apply the skills for himself. 

 

Greg Antcliff

Greg Antcliff

National Manager, Professional Practice at Goodstart Early Learning

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