Understanding why kids have trouble managing emotions

By Gail Belsky

It’s not unusual for preschoolers to burst into tears when they “ruin” their drawing. Most 10-year-olds wouldn’t do that, though. They typically have more ability to manage their emotions. 

But some kids struggle with managing emotions even as they get older. They might still have outbursts or get overly upset when something goes wrong. Or slip into a bad mood that goes on and on.

These challenges can sometimes be a matter of maturity. Stress and anxiety can also play a role. But a common cause is trouble with self-control

Kids who have a hard time managing emotions don’t only struggle with negative ones. They can get caught up in feelings of joy or anticipation, too. Some get overexcited about social activities or other events.

Dive deeper

    Tell us what interests you

    Share

    About the author

    About the author

    Gail Belsky is executive editor at Understood. She has written and edited for major media outlets, specializing in parenting, health, and career content.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Ellen Braaten, PhD is the director of LEAP at Massachusetts General Hospital.