Regulation Mirrors

Have you been trying to offer your child coping strategies when they’re in the middle of a meltdown and not been having a lot of success? If so, I have a couple of questions for you.

1. What coping strategies are you choosing to use yourself when *you* are in the middle of a meltdown?
2. What coping strategies are you modeling for them with your own body (not verbalizing or teaching in any way, simply modeling) while they are in the middle of a meltdown?

Human beings don’t typically have brains that are receptive to learning new information or trying new things while they’re already overloaded and falling to pieces. But, the patterns that humans see modeled for them are the things that tend to become instinctual to reach for when in a situation where the brain starts acting on instinct.

If you’re finding it hard to access the coping tools you’d prefer to use when you’re already mad—well, your child feels that way too.

If, when they’re mad, you can just get them to a place that’s physically safe and then otherwise sit there and let the storm happen and do the internal work it takes to keep your nervous system calm, that’s powerful modeling. Nervous systems in distress reach out for mirrors like those. It’s called co-regulation: your regulation becomes their regulation.

(This message composed for you in my mind while taking deep breaths and sitting in a room with a screaming child, so, don’t think I’m not right there with you everyday. ❤️)