Moodiness and irritability are a normal part of growing up, especially during the teenage years. However, some children and adolescents seem to have a harder time managing their emotions than others. Their feelings are intense and they may express their emotions in ways that get them into trouble with parents, teachers and friends. They can be highly sensitive or irritable, which may lead others to “walk on eggshells” or try hard not to upset them. Even when they are excited or happy, they may take it too far, getting overstimulated and getting themselves into trouble. When really angry or sad, they may feel out of control and take their feelings out on their family members in ways that they later regret. Parents may identify some kids as spirited or emotional from birth, whereas others may have difficulties with feelings that emerge later, usually during adolescence or in response to stressful life events

In therapy, children and adolescents that have difficulty with moods can learn strategies for regulating their emotions. Working collaboratively with their therapist, kids can learn to monitor their moods, identify when they are vulnerable to problematic behaviors, and practice new coping skills. Parents can also learn techniques to manage problematic outbursts at home while providing effective support and coaching to their children. With help, children can learn to feel more in control of their feelings and behavior.