Skip To Main Content

Parenting to Support Emotion Regulation

Parenting to Support Emotion Regulation

Life throws plenty of curveballs at us, which force us to exercise our emotion regulation skills. Our children learn so much by watching us–probably even more than they learn from listening to what we tell them. This especially applies to the way they learn to regulate their emotions. 

Now, none of us is perfect, and our expectation of ourselves should never be “perfection.” But, if we consider strengthening our emotion regulation muscles as an ongoing process and opportunity for personal growth, our kids will certainly benefit from that! 

Research shows that children’s brains are wired to “do as we DO, not as we SAY” (see meta analysis linked below). This offers a (healthy) challenge for us as parents to be mindful of our own reactions to stressful, angering, and/or triggering situations. If I find myself reacting to unexpected and negative situations by yelling at someone, and my child is within earshot when this happens, I can expect my child to react in a similar way when something unexpected upsets them, no matter how many times I tell them to “calm down.” Check out the videos and articles linked below to learn more!

Video: Parent Understanding - Self Regulation (6:20)

Video: 3 Easy Ways to Teach Your Child Emotional Regulation (4:21)

Learn More: 

How To Model Regulation as a Parent or Caregiver

Meta Analysis: Parent Emotional Regulation

Tip Sheet for Parents: Emotion Regulation and Learning Disabilities

Call to Action: 

Find an activity from a previous week this month that interests you, and that you feel can help you strengthen your own emotion regulation muscles. Engage in this activity; feel free to do this work out in the open, to model for your family that this is important work for us all to do! If we are expecting our children to improve their emotion regulation skills, we must show them that we are invested in this work ourselves, and that self-improvement is something positive and healthy to do. 

Be on the lookout for future Mental Health Spotlights! Our next theme is: Seek Help.