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Managing Big Feelings

February 23, 2021

Today, I’m going to be brief. Because COVID. And “momming.” And feelings-doctoring (it’s a thing). And distance learning. And ALL.THE.THINGS. And because my kids and I feel a bit overwhelmed, I’m going to talk about what I’d like to do better, which is regulate.

Regulation is the ability for us to respond to incoming cues and respond emotionally. It’s our ability to recognize and respond to our internal emotional experience. Fancy, I know. We do this seamlessly as humans, almost involuntarily. In fact, you’ve done it hundreds of times today if you think about it. But while it’s responsive, it’s also learned.

Funny thing is, we learn this from our environment and the people in our environment. Mainly, if you’re a child, you learn how to regulate from the adults that take care of you.

I introduce to you the term….CO-REGULATE. Our children are learning to make sense of the world, their emotions and experience through a process of co-regulation. This means that they learn how to organize their feelings based on how we regulate ourselves. We teach them. We do this together, for better or worse. This process is called co-regulation. It is a reciprocal, co-dependent process.

How you regulate your feelings, experience your emotions and make sense of your internal state teaches your child how to experience his/her emotions and feeling states.

I’ve gotta make dinner, so I’m going to let you sit with that.

You teach your child how to regulate. What did you teach them today?

By the way, if you’re like me and you’ve got some unlearning to do, you’re not alone.

With compassion,

Dr. Amy

 

PS – Please join my newest Facebook group, Parenting with Intention! It’s an amazing community of supportive parents full of love, ideas, and honesty.

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