- Megan Stapelberg
Regulate yourself first!
Picture this: Your 6-year old is furious because they cannot have that cookie before bed-time. They scream and cry and refuse to take no for an answer. You've had a long, challenging day yourself and this outburst really is the last straw for you. You yell back and say that your word is final and you storm off hearing your child scream even louder as you walk away... Does this sound familiar?
An essential part of healthy emotional development for a child is to learn to be able to regulate themselves, but children can find this even harder if the caregiver they are engaging with is not able to regulate themselves.
If you choose to model to your child that you can regulate yourself before continuing to engage with them, you will be able to deal with them in a calmer fashion and will support them in learning how to do it themselves. Let's replay the scenario from above:
...You've had a long, challenging day and this outburst really pushes you to the edge. You notice your child is pushing your boundaries and you say: "I need to quickly take a step back and take a few breaths." You turn away from your child, close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths. You return to your child and say: "I can see that you are angry that I do not want to give you that cookie now. I understand that. I can be here with you until you feel more calm and then I can give you a hug and take you to bed."
Have you given strategies like these a try? If not, why not try it out? Do you think you or your child need more help with this? Head over to my website and look at individual support that I can provide to your child.
Yours in healthy emotional development,