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#1 Parenting Skill for Loving Connection with your Child or Teen

It’s been a week since New Year’s. Perhaps you resolved to be more patient with your kid this year. And then… 

that here we go again feeling came and your resolve failed you. Maybe you felt like you were right back in the same vicious cycle. Try harder. Fail. Feel guilty. Rinse. Repeat.

Here’s the thing. I suspect you are already trying REALLY hard! I believe becoming more responsive and less reactive as a parent doesn’t come from more will, but rather from more skill. 

Today I want to share a strategy for building the #1 essential parenting skill of self-regulation. In the same way learning to balance is the first skill needed to ride a bike, the skill of noticing the here we go again feeling is the first step to building your emotional self-regulation skills. Self-regulation is the foundation for loving connection with your child or teen.


Here’s a short skill-building exercise to start the new year.

Think about a recent incident with your child and ask yourself the following questions:

1. “How did I know I had the here we go again feeling? 

2. “What did I notice in my body? My breath? My thoughts? Did I feel something in my gut, my shoulders, my head, or my left foot? Did my heart speed up? Was it hard to breathe? What were the thoughts I was having?"  

The here we go again feeling shows up differently for each of us. That’s why it’s so important to identify your own personal clues.

Here are a couple of examples: 

1. For me, my brain speeds up. The space between my thoughts and my words decreases, I start talking a lot and my words feel disconnected from my body. 

2. One dad told me that for him it feels like resignation and he withdraws. 

3. Jen’s here we go again feeling starts with her fists clenching at the first sign of challenging behavior from her kiddo, a while before the full meltdown actually happens.

>>Here's a quick tip for a quick win with parenting.

Got that Here We Go Again feeling? Hit the BRAKES, not the gas!

In the same way caution signs warn us to brake, noticing your body’s specific, concrete here we go again clues helps put the brakes on your reactivity and gives you the space to employ regulating strategies.

As you keep practicing, you’ll get better at noticing those “clues” when the here we go again feeling hits you. This will allow you to make choices - like pausing, breathing or taking a step back - to stay more regulated and available for loving connection with your child. You’ll find that you feel more in control of your parenting choices.

With a parent-centric approach, you hold the power to interrupt and change negative feedback loops with your child. Rather than trying to control their behavior from a state of reacting, you’ll be able to influence their behavior for lasting change through loving connection because The Better You Do, The Better Your Child Does.

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