Executive Functioning and Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is often a deficit seen within individuals with Executive Functioning deficits.  Emotional regulation is referred to as the ability to manage more intense emotions in a manner that is considered developmentally appropriate or how most individuals would manage similar emotions in a similar circumstance.  For example, it would be expected that a toddler could have a temper tantrum if they were denied a toy or something that they wanted in the moment.  A toddler does not yet have reasoning skills, an ability to understand that they can likely have what they want at a later time, or why it would be denied to them.  A child who is 8 or 9, however, would be expected to manage their emotional reaction (not have a temper tantrum) in most situations when denied something that they want.  Difficulties or deficits in emotional regulation often cause many instances of conflict, stress, and frustration for children and parents.

If emotional regulation is an area of difficulty for your child or adolescent, consider the broader picture of their functioning.  If there are other areas of executive functioning weaknesses, there may be a connection between that and managing emotions.  Therapeutic treatment is one avenue that can assist families or individuals in this area.