Seeds planted in childhood develop and take form in adulthood.
Updated: Feb 9, 2020
Like most friends, my friends and I have a group chat, where, amongst the occasional gossip or nonsensical chatter, we stay updated on the awesome, beautiful, and amazing children we created. We call it “Nennies”, a common term used in the Caribbean to describe a godmother. It’s our little village where we share pictures, accomplishments, day to day struggles, and most importantly we offer support. I would like to just take a moment to brag about my amazing friends. About two weeks ago, the question of “how to manage tantrums?” was posed. There we were in our group chat, engaging in dialogue about the different steps we take to teach our children how to regulate their emotions. I have to share with you how proud I was because, in retrospect, I realized what we were really discussing was the process of co-regulation.
You may be asking yourself, “what is co-regulation, and why is this such a big deal?” Co-regulation is the process of a parent or any individual assuming a caregiver role, helping a child learn how to regulate/manage their emotions through soothing acts or speech. Gerard Costa, Ph.D. states, “Most of what we become as individuals, and most of the unique wiring of our brains are experience-dependent.” With that information in mind, that is exactly why, as human beings, co-regulation is such an important part of our social and emotional development. Children who are not taught how to self-regulate may struggle with building and maintaining healthy relationships, resolving conflict, problem-solving, communicating, and ultimately modeling the art of responding rather than reacting. We are all on this mission to create, in every way possible, functional adults. As such, emphasis must be placed on the manner in which social and emotional development are correlated; one affects the other. It is important to note, however, that the type, frequency, and duration of co-regulation will differ at each developmental stage.
Below are some helpful tips for engaging in the process of co-regulation.
Create a supportive, and warm environment
*Be mindful not to react, or make comments that minimizes what the child is feeling. Show empathy. Place the focus on identifying and processing the emotion.
Manage the environment
*If possible, remove the child from all environmental stressors or safety concerns.
Model self-regulation skills
*Teach the child coping skills such as breathing techniques, or counting, etc.
As always I hope that you have found this blog to be helpful. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns regarding this topic. Remember to hit the like bottom below, or leave a comment.