FOSTERING YOUR CHILD'S EMOTIONAL SELF-REGULATION
Emotional regulation is the ability to effectively monitor and modulate one’s emotional experience. Good emotional regulation in children impacts positively their peer relationships. It is also a strong predictor of academic success and performance. In addition, children who know how to regulate their emotions can also better handle and bounce back from trauma or adversity.
As parents, our role is essential to help our children acquire emotion regulation skills. Here are a few strategies to help them:
1. Modeling healthy emotion regulating skills. Children who observe their parents constantly internalize and then mimic their behaviors. If parents are able to effectively manage intense feelings and impulses then children learn the “correct” reaction in different situations. However, if children watch a parent who screams or yells whenever something goes wrong, children learn to be reactive and misbehaves when things do not go their way.
2. Adopting a responsive, warm, and accepting parenting style. When parents respond positively to their children’ emotional distress, then children associate them with comfort and relief from stress. Parents who notice, accept, and empathize with and validate their children’ negative feelings teach their children how to self-regulate adequately. Ignoring, dismissing, discouraging, or punishing negative emotions is counterproductive and leads to children unable to manage their own emotions appropriately.
3. Teaching self-regulating techniques. Parents can teach their children a few strategies to help regulate one’s own emotions.
4. Encouraging self-care. For older children, self-care daily is important in strengthening their internal resources to regulate emotions. Activities that enhance self-care include:
Creating a supportive environment and modeling strong emotion self-regulation skills are two approaches that help children regulate their own emotions.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.