Some children and adolescents struggle with controlling their behaviors and managing their emotional reactions. These are children who may feel bombarded or overwhelmed by their feelings. When they are overwhelmed, they fall apart or have tantrums that appear to be out of proportion to the situation. These children may also have difficulty controlling their impulses and stopping themselves from making poor choices. They do recognize their mistakes, but it is often too late.
Dr. Frank works with parents to help them see that poor self-regulation reflects a skill deficit. Children do not like to feel out of control. Their tantrums are often manifestations of feeling overwhelmed and are ineffective attempts to help themselves feel better. They often don’t know how to soothe themselves or help themselves to feel better. Or, they might not be able to slow themselves down and think through their choices of how to behave. Therapeutic work with the children involves helping them develop tools to manage stressors and difficult situations and make thoughtful choices. Parents are encouraged to provide empathy and support and help their children access their new self-regulation tools.