Helping Our Kids Regulate Big Emotions

Does your child struggle with how to regulate their big emotions? Do they seem angry or frustrated most of the time? We’ve got some answers! Join us to listen to this interview with Dr. Stuart Shanker, a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Psychology at York University and author of several books, including Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Reframed: Self-Reg for a Just Society. He is also an adoptive dad.

In this episode, we cover:

  • 3 basic principles to self-regulation:
    • There is no such thing as a bad or lazy kid.
      • No matter how difficult, out of control, distracted, or exhausted a child might seem, there’s a way forward: self-regulation.
    • All people can learn to self-regulate in ways that promote rather than constrict growth.
    • There is no such thing as a “fixed outcome”: trajectories can always be changed, at any point in the lifespan, if only we have the right knowledge and tools.
  • How can parent help their children become more calm when we live in a stressful, frantic and over-stimulating world?
  • How can parents calm themselves down in the hectic world?
  • Five-step method for managing stress
    1. Reframe behavior by learning the difference between misbehavior and stress behavior and the signs of each. (Why and why now?)
    2. Recognize stressors.
      • What are some typical stressors broken out by age.
      • What are some “hidden stressors” that their children are struggling with: physiological as well as social and emotional.
    3. Reduce stress (deep breathing (pizza breath), exercise, touch, music, pets)
    4. Reflect on what it feels like to be calm and what it feels like to be overstressed.
    5. Restoration- energy, balance, and relationship.
  • These steps are not a program for managing a child’s behavior. Rather, these are five steps to promote understanding a child’s behavior.

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: Victoria Akvarel