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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The Magic Pill

There is much talk about teaching our kids to self-regulate, use impulse control and learn to react calmly to adversity. This is all well and good but merely talking about it and wanting it to happen certainly doesn't ensure that our children will move through adverse situations with ease because we merely want them to. We can tell them to calm down and take deep breathes, use their words and make good choices, but again, will they magically internalize this way to "be" just because we have told them that's what is best?

When we don't react with yelling, anger, threats, bribes, and consequences which certainly are no model of self-regulation, we often times engage in the "talking to" the secret word for "lecturing". We explain things ad nauseam with the expectation that our children will look at us with utter adoration and agree with how much sense we are making, thereby altering their behavior to be more acceptable. When has that ever happened? Do they appease us by agreeing...

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