Self-Regulation: How to Get Your Kids to Be Self-Regulating

When our kids are upset, we all hope they can say; “You know I didn’t really like it when my brother was unkind to me, and that’s why I am so upset today.” Yet, it takes a highly evolved and emotionally intelligent human to know where their larger feelings of upset are coming from. Sometimes those upsets and emotional reactions come long after the initial offense and can also be triggered by an unrelated action. Instead most of us, kids and adults, take out our upsets on the safest and closest people in our orbit. We lash out at those who will love us no matter what. When this happens with our children many of us take those outbursts personally. Sometimes we believe our child is displeased with us or is being unkind because they do not understand this type of behavior is hurtful and not acceptable. This is just not true.

Our children do not want to make us angry or push us into our own upset. They are merely just reacting to what is happening for them...

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A World Without Punishments

What if we lived in a world where there were no punishments? What if instead we were greeted with love and tenderness when we did the wrong thing? What would a world built on this premise look like?

When I first contemplated eliminating consequences and bribes with my own kids, it scared me. How could I possibly get my kids to brush their teeth every night if I didn’t promise them a TV show afterward? There was no way they would do it, and if they did, it was going to be a knockdown drag-out fight. I just rather not! I thought it sounded lovely to have my kids just do as I asked all the time without bribery or threatening and consequences; but at the time, it was all I knew, and it worked.

However, when I started to research rewards and other extrinsic motivators the evidence was clear. Once the motivator was taken off the table, the child not only failed to reproduce the behavior, but they also found no value in doing the right thing. So what was I teaching my kids? I guess I...

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