- Dr. Liz Homan
Did you know that as a parent you have superpowers? 😉 This can really come into play when your child is feeling all the feels and is having a ‘rough’ time.
By using your nervous system, you can impact how your child regulates their emotions. The emotions that you are experiencing will be shadowed by your child. This is because as mammals, we regulate our nervous systems in the presence of stable others.
So if you are upset, those around you are going to feel that and become upset, but if you are calm and joyful, those around you are going to feel calm and joyful as well!
As kids, we have immature and dysregulated nervous systems and through different interactions (a soothing voice, a gentle touch), we learn to experience stillness, safety and peace.
So, when our children, or any person, no matter the age, is appearing to be off and in need of soothing, they may really just need to be in the presence of another person. But not in the presence of someone who is going to feed their dysregulation, but someone who is stable and is able to help them regulate their emotions and become calm.
And as a parent, you get to be this person for you child. You get to be their anchor in their proverbial emotional storm and help them find balance. There are a few different ways that you can do this.
· Simply remain calm.
· Offer a hug/cuddle.
· Take their hands and take a few deep breaths- not saying a word.
o Each time we take a few breaths, we invite regulation into our system and as we do
this, our regulation invites the nervous systems around us to regulate as well.
· Listen to what they are saying but do not add in any advice.
· Asking them questions about something completely different (ex: how many blue things
can you find right now? What sounds do to you hear right now?)
· Pray over them or with them.
As we do this, our secret power of our stable nervous system, helps their nervous system regulate and balance out.
So as life goes, when you notice that your child is showing some unhealthy emotions, first check yourself to see if they are regulating off of your current emotional state and then use your parenting superpowers to be the calm that your child needs to help them balance out.
Also, this is a continual practice that we are all working on. I will admit, sometimes I join the girl’s emotional unease, (or maybe I am the cause of it) and life is not quite in our house, but then I bring it back and remember that they are reflecting my current emotional state. It is a lot of responsibility but when you realize how influential your emotions are, it can be very powerful!