Parent Regulators

If a child came from difficult beginnings in the first 33 months of life, then it is likely that child will have difficulty with emotion regulation.  One of the main goals of the parent/child relationship before the age of two is to imprint the child with an effective arousal relaxation system by meeting crying upset with soothing care.

If your child gets over the top when upset, YOU are going to have to help your child “learn” to do what otherwise would have been hardwired in the first two years.

How the heck do you do that?

1.  Stop talking when you see your child is getting upset.   STOP TALKING.
2.  Be a soothing influence.  Soft eyes, neutral voice, loving facial expression.
3.  Be a safe influence.  Kneel down, step to the side, breathe deeply and slowly.
4.  Be an empathic influence.  You must feel really awful right now. I am sorry you feel so bad.  Focus on your child’s needs, rather than your own.
5.  Assure your child you are here, s/he is safe, and that together everything will work out.
6.  Resist letting your child’s dysregulation gobble-up your regulation.  Without yours, there is none.
7.  Wait it out.  Safety hold if you need to.  Offer love, help, support, solutions when the storm has cleared.
8.  Calmly talk it through, listen, redo without shaming.

Then…get support for yourself afterward so you can be emotionally held.  YOU need that to stay steady and empathic.  YOU have a tough job.  Get some love for yourself.

Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
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