How Regulating Our Feelings Can Help Us Become a Connected Parent

Don’t take it personally! Really? I just read that the other day, don’t take your child’s anger and “off-track” behavior personally. WHAT? You mean to tell me when my 10-year-old rolls her eyes in the back of her head and says that I don’t know what I am talking about demanding that I leave her room I am not supposed to take it personally? Really?! She is so disrespectful and obviously has NO manners; I don’t even know where she came from.

Science tells us when our kids are “off track” they are no longer relying on the use of their prefrontal cortex (the reasoning center of the brain). They are fully depending on the limbic system (the emotional center of the brain). That means they literally can’t think. Dr. Dan Siegel talks a lot about this in all of his books and he describes it as “flipping your lid.” So instead of getting angry, reprimanding the behavior, lecturing and rupturing the already compromised connection you currently have with your child you remain calm and “come with kindness.” YEAH RIGHT! Who can do that? Well, we can’t always do it but we strive to regulate our anger so at least someone is thinking.  Even more important if we teach our kids that we can keep our cool when things get a bit nutty then they can learn from our modeling. In reality, we are growing up kids who will self regulate their emotions. Is it seamless and instantaneous?  NO! But they WILL get it over time and with practice.  Science says,  (my friends and clients hate when I say science says…) that 80% of what kids learn is what is modeled to them. So, when I look at Esme angry and seething rolling her eyes and being a total ass, I know she learned it somewhere!


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