chapter  20
7 Pages

Look Out! I’m Going to Explode!

Children with mood dysregulation usually have signifi cant problems with anger control. Th ese youngsters suff er from a chronic state of irritability that is easily exacerbated by over-stimulation, transitions in activities, and task and situational demands. A dysregulated child’s diffi culty resolving social confl icts can cause increased agitation. Once the anger reaches a certain threshold, he explodes into a tantrum, and may be inconsolable for a long period of time. He is unable to calm himself or to use strategies that could lead to a decrease in the discharge of anger. Oft en the mood-dysregulated child cannot predict which situations will serve as a trigger, and simultaneously cannot accurately read those body cues that signal the onset of anger in self and others (Greene, 2001; Miklowitz & Goldstein, 1997; Turecki, 2000). Th e letter in this chapter attempts to capture the unregulated child’s complex experience of anger.