Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
Please enter a search term


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

See more

Other questions about this topic

Is time-out okay for kids?

I’ve always understood that time-out was a reasonable way to deal with behaviour issues. Now I’m seeing some articles suggesting that time-out has had its day. Is time-out OK and if not, what’s the alternative?

Learning to follow directions

I have a 3.5-year-old who won’t listen to anything. We both just end up getting upset. I'm concerned that she will face problems in preschool if she won’t start following directions.

Help! My child is biting other children

I’m so embarrassed but my child care provider called me in to say my two-year-old has been biting other children. I hate to think what the other parents must be thinking. What do I do?

Preparing a toddler for a new baby

My toddler isn’t happy about the arrival of our second child. How do I prepare my child for the birth a new baby?

4-yr-old throwing tantrums

I have a four year old daughter, and the tantrums are worse now than they were in the ‘terrible twos’. She seems to fluctuate from happiness to meltdown so quickly and sometimes it seems that no amount of effort from us helps. Is this normal? I thought she’d be growing out of this by now.

Get Advice

Ask a question