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Navigating emotional responses to behavior is an important
parenting skill. Children reveal many messages through behaviors and even
meltdowns. Parents who explore the “why” of the meltdown, will learn many
lessons that children are eager to reveal.
Regulating our emotions is not always an easy task. As adults, our early experiences shape the way we respond to adversity or challenges. We must be aware that the kids around us are watching how we respond, react, or behave when faced with challenges.
They too may learn to respond, by how they see us responding, so having an awareness of our own coping techniques will be helpful.
Neuroscience research tells us that there is a set of underlying core capabilities that adults use to parent effectively. These include planning, focus, self-control, awareness, and flexibility.
Have we ever thought about the impact our planning can have on our ability to control our emotions? Have we ever considered that our own self-control impacts how we respond to challenges? Have we ever stopped to think about how being flexible can impact our own parenting effectiveness?
When emotions get high, our ability as the parent to self-regulate can assist other members of the family to find peaceful ways to self-regulate.
It doesn’t mean we won’t have times when we are upset or challenged, but it means that we will need to call upon appropriate techniques, and that can be really hard to do.
Stop. Breathe. Talk. is the technique we have been highlighting because it gives the brain time to re-focus energy from the limbic portion of the brain, where our emotion sensor is, to the prefrontal cortex, where our rational, decision-making portion of the brain can kick in.
Helping kids move from the meltdown, into the calm down stage means they too, must have time to re-regulate. The wiring of their brain must re-focus back to the pre-frontal cortex, where they can think about how they want to respond.