POV: one of the greatest challenges of being a gentle parent, for me, hasn't been keeping myself regulated when my child is having big emotions (although, that was certainly a big challenge for me to address early on!)....
instead, my biggest challenge is when other adults expect more emotional maturity from my child, than they have themselves… le sigh
Children need adults to be the lighthouse.
Children’s self-regulation develops, from how the adults around them help them with their emotions.
A dysregulated child, needs a regulated adult… in order to learn how to regulate their own emotions over time.
Note: learned helpless or a completely dominated/controlled child who has been scared into submission, has not developed self-regulation. They’ve shutdown into freeze/fawn, learnt to self-abandon their own needs & avoid authentic communication. They’ve shutdown #learnedhelplessness
and will have a very difficult time calmly & directly talking through their emotions to resolve conflict in adult relationships later on… making them a match for toxic adult relationships #traumabonds
because secure relating wasn’t modelled to them in childhood.
When you desire to “control” a child by lashing out at them with your own big emotions or scaring/dominating/overpowering them into submission…. you might like to instead try asking yourself:
“what in me feels out of control?”
and then self-parent yourself through that.
When your child is an adult, would you like them to able to calmly talk through conflict or problems with you so that you can repair any relationship ruptures & feel deeply connected to them? #secureattachment
That is most likely to happen in future by you showing them now, how it’s done.
The sign of good parenting is not how “controlled” a person’s child is… it’s how in control of their own emotions the parent is,
Because that’s who the child will become:
either a calm adult who can also directly, clearly & calmly address conflict, allowing them to repair ruptures and build secure deep connection with others....
or, a dysregulated child in an adult's body who either avoids calm authentic open communication altogether, or who lashes out, spraying their big emotions everywhere, trying to dominate other adults and disrupting psychological safety in their relationships, denying themselves the vital feeling of true deep connection that only comes through psychological safety that they help to create (...which can then lead into addictive tendencies to fill the void where real connection is missing...)
The way you model regulating your children in early childhood, will become the way their "inner parent" regulates themselves in adulthood... which will mirror out into how they address others who are having big emotions when they're an adult.
If you simply scare them into compliance now... how are you going to work through conflict with them appropriately when they're an independent adult who is no longer under your power & control?
Choose connection over control, if you to build something far more satisfying in the longterm, and if you want your child to have the tools to build healthy relationships in adulthood.
Need more tips to help you stay more emotionally regulated, so that you can better support your child to foster self-regulation, healthy communication & conflict resolution skills?
Book your free spot to my live zoom workshop "How to Be a Calmer Mama" now.