When our children experience dysregulation and can't self regulate, it undeniably adds a layer of difficulty to the parenting journey, regardless of their age. As parents, we find ourselves confronted by challenges in regulation, necessitating a comprehensive understanding and application of strategies tailored to the unique needs of each developmental phase.
Let's delve into this episode where we discuss the strategies of nurturing self-regulation in our kids and explore the positive behaviors that manifest when they successfully regulate their emotions and actions.
Teaching children self-regulation skills.
While occasional dysregulation is natural, it shouldn't be the norm. In my experience working with kids and families over the past three decades, it's clear that fostering self-regulation involves equipping children with the tools to handle emotional upsets and daily stressors such as but not limited to developing good problem-solving abilities and effective coping skills.
Contrary to the misguided attempt to shield them from stress, it's essential for children to experience manageable stressors. This helps them build resilience, problem-solving capabilities, and coping skills. What we want to avoid is extreme stress, but exposing them to moderate stress allows them to develop a growth mindset.
Modeling behaviors as a foundation of self-regulation becomes crucial as we recognize the diverse functions of different parts of the brain because intelligence alone isn't a universal solution; we need a range of skills, including social, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and attention skills. Honest conversations with our children about our experiences and challenges foster authenticity.
Adding brain-calming methods is also important in skill-building, particularly when facing regulation challenges. Exploring alternative interventions for medications, such as neurofeedback and dietary adjustments, is essential as we don’t want medication to be the primary solution.
Teaching emotional regulation to children.
Encouraging kids to feel a range of emotions is important. Even though it might be tough, especially with stubborn or resistant teens, it's crucial to take small steps and seek professional help if needed.
Teaching kids to identify and talk about their emotions is like coaching, helping them not get stuck in just one feeling. It's important to cheer on and highlight their positive actions, especially for teens who've had a tough time before. By consistently acknowledging and positively reinforcing even the smallest steps toward desired emotional behaviors, we not only help them recognize these successes but also create a positive environment that encourages growth and reflection.
In my experience, practicing problem-solving emerges as a powerful strategy in developing stress tolerance. Coping skills play a significant role in tandem with problem-solving, providing a means to navigate stress and challenges effectively. By instilling these skills, we empower our kids to become adept decision-makers, equipped to make sound choices even when we’re not around them.
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