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How to Stay Anchored With Your Teen

How to Stay Anchored With Your Teen While a three year old’s words can be triggering enough - I will spit at you, you’re poopy, your teenager’s words like fuck you, you’re stupid, bitch, etc., can really light up your buttons. Before you know it, you’re taken over by that here we go again feeling! Your heart rate increases, you’re boiling inside or yelling, despite yourself, and hooked into a ridiculous and irrational interchange that you can’t win, no matter what you say. Here’s the thing, the teenage brain undergoes a major re-wiring in preparation for adulthood. It’s like your teen is growing back up through their early years again. So, they are using 14 year old words, but expressing 3 year old feelings! Brain science tells us that children learn emotional regulation through connecting with a regulated caregiver. That’s where you come in! It’s what I call being the anchor. Improving your ability to manage your own emotions in the face of your child’s big feelings - i.e. self-regulate - has 3 powerful impacts on your child:

  1. It puts you in the best position to help your child be OK.

  2. It models healthy emotional skills to your child

  3. It allows your brain work to work better so you can make the best parenting choices

Here’s a step by step guide for self-regulation. Try it next time you get that here we go again feeling: 1. Notice when you get the here we go again feeling. 2. Pause - stop talking 3. Exhale three times 4. Remind yourself, “14 year old words. 3 year old feelings!” 5. Rinse and Repeat You are your best parenting tool! PS: Here are a couple more blog posts about Emotional Age. And here’s a super clear explanation of emotional regulation in a short video by my colleague, Stacy Nation. Courage!

This is Parent-Centric thinking! Read more HERE.

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