Archive of ‘Support’ category

How to Help Your Child When They Flip Their Lid

Many of us have witnessed children getting taken over by intense emotions resulting in losing their temper, reacting without thinking, or blowing up. In those moments it can be really difficult to stay grounded and regulated, while also trying to calm your child down. Dr. Dan Siegel, author of Whole Brain Child, terms these instant reactions your child experiences as “flipping their lid.” Once we understand how the brain affects the way we regulate emotions, then not only can we can help our children stay calm but we can also keep our own lid on. 

What is Flipping a Lid?

Flipping a lid has everything to do with the brain and how messages are sent to different sections of the brain about what our bodies are experiencing. When children are able to problem solve, act kindly, and be empathic, those are immediate signs that their prefrontal cortex or “rational brain” is intact.  Said differently, their lid is on. When the prefrontal cortex is engaged, children feel calm, safe, and relaxed. When children are experiencing big feelings (e.g. very angry or anxious, overreact, yell) that serves as a warning sign that they are not thinking with their rational brain but instead using their “emotional or animal brain.” This is when the amygdala is activated, fight, flight, or flight response is triggered, and children flip their lids. The emotional brain keeps children safe and guards them against things that pose as a threat. During this state, their rational brain has been disconnected from their emotional brain- logic no longer influences emotions. 

How to help your child keep their lid on 


Hugs can be a great way to provide relief for your child who has flipped their lid. Instead of flipping your own lid and matching your child’s high emotional state, hugs activate mirror neurons in your child’s brain. This can can help your child sense your emotionally regulated state and influence their reactions. When your child’s brain recognizes the love and affection in your hug, its chemistry is altered and can return to a state of calm and relaxation. Their lid begins to close.  

Validate and Ask Curiosity Questions

When you are noticing your child has flipped their lid, it can help to understand their point of view. Show your child that they have your undivided attention and provide them a space where they feel seen and heard. Ask them curiosity questions to better understand their experience, such as “Are you feeling frustrated that you have to go to bed?” or “Do you want some space from me or would you like a hug?”  By creating a sense of safety and being empathic, they can slowly tame their emotions and put their lid back on. 


There will be times when flipping your lid is unavoidable. It is after these moments that sincere apologies can repair the relationship and reconnect you with your child. Let your child know that you are sorry for flipping your own lid, which may have caused hurt feelings. It is also important to ask your child how you can fix this mistake. Mending the rupture with apologies can model valuable skills to your child, such as cooling off, emotional regulation, problem solving, and reconnection. 

You can find Dr. Dan Siegel’s scientific explanation of “Flipping Your Lid” here:

4 Mindfulness Practices for Your Family

Mindfulness may be a term you have never heard or hear all the time. Regardless of how familiar it may be, it is often hard to define. When I introduce mindfulness into therapeutic work, I use Jon Kabat-Zinn’s simple definition: Paying attention, on purpose, without judgement. This perspective allows for full appreciation and engagement with the present. 

Imagine the benefits of being just a bit more present-focused and mindful in our lives, work, school, and especially in relationships with ourselves and others. I have included a few mindfulness practices and resources at the conclusion for families with people of any age to foster awareness, acceptance, and connection.  Breathwork

1 – Breathwork

Imagine paying attention, on purpose, without judgement to your breath. By being mindful of our breath, we can begin to realize the power that it has. The breath is the most effective way for us to affect our nervous system. Each inhale engages the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) and each exhale engages the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). Bringing awareness to our breath can have a direct effect on our entire nervous system in an effort to bring it into balance when feeling dysregulated. We often encourage children or adults to “take a deep breath” in overwhelming situations without being mindful of what that looks and feels like. It takes practice and practicing as a family can further solidify its effectiveness. 

Belly breathing – Place your hands or a stuffed animal on the belly while lying down. Practice breathing into your hands or making the stuffed animal move up and down. In this way you are taking a true deep breath by expanding the lungs completely so that the diaphragm pushes the belly to move. 

Ratio breath – Ratio breath acknowledges the different parts of our nervous system that an inhale and exhale engage. By working to extend the exhale to be longer than the inhale, we engage our parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). Begin by breathing in for 4 seconds and breathing out for 6 seconds. Adjust this ratio as needed to practice extending the exhale.

2 – Yoga/Mindful Movement 

Imagine paying attention, on purpose, and without judgement to your body and what it may be trying to tell you. Research shows the tremendous benefits yoga has on the mind, body, and connection between the two (The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk). Whether yoga is familiar or new to your family, it is accessible to everyone. I have included free resources to reference at the conclusion, but also feel free to define what yoga or mindful movement looks like for your family. My favorite option is to let the child(ren) lead the class and choose what postures feel most comfortable, challenging, and relaxing.

3 – Guided Imagery/Meditation

Imagine paying attention, on purpose, and without judgement to our thoughts and feelings. Guided imagery and meditation are grounding practices that encourage mindfulness, stillness, and relaxation. This can become a part of your morning or night routine by listening to or creating moments of stillness as a family. 

Guided imagery can be used in combination with a total body scan or progressive muscle relaxation by imagining a warm light traveling throughout the body, recognizing, and releasing any physical tension along the way. Another accessible option for all ages is a counting meditation. Start by simply counting your breath and each time a thought or feeling comes up, pause to notice and then start over counting from 1. See if you can count 10 or 20 breaths uninterrupted. Finally, the following is a short grounding meditation focusing on the 5 senses to bring our awareness to the present moment. 

Identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste or say aloud 1 positive self-statement. 

4 – Nature Walks 

Nature is therapeutic as it is. Taking a walk outside and paying attention, on purpose, without judgement to what nature has to offer can benefit all the parts of ourselves and our ability to connect with others. While enjoying a nature walk with your family, I encourage mindful curiosity which could look something like the following: 

  • Having a conversation about what parts of nature stand out on the walk for each person and why. 
  • Creating a family sculpture with natural objects found in your yard, a walk through the neighborhood, or a local park. 

Online Resources

written by Emily Koenig, LMFT-Associate, Supervised by Kirby Schroeder, LPC-S, LMFT-S

Meet Emily!

Therapy is a long-term Investment

Are we there yet?

I remember going on family vacations when I was younger. The excitement between my three sisters and I would build for weeks. Finally, the day would arrive, and we were off. Pretty soon the questions would begin. Anyone who has traveled with children (or some adults) has heard these questions. “How much longer?” “Are we close?” “Are we there yet?” Depending on how long the drive was, there could be many variations of these questions, and they would be asked numerous times. This was usually when my parents remembered why we had flown instead of driven the year before.

The journey.

The journey of therapy has some similarities to our family road trips. Appointments are made with anticipation of feeling better. You may feel depressed, anxious, or could be dealing with a specific issue that is interfering with your life and your happiness. You are seeking help and a new perspective on life. Some clients come to therapy primarily to reduce the symptoms they are struggling with, and, there are some that want help discovering the issues that may cause those symptoms. 

How long is this going to take?

You finally make it to your first session. A common question that is asked is, “How many sessions will this take?” or “What’s the estimated time frame for this issue?” Moving into sessions two, three and four, people start asking, “How much longer will I need therapy?” “Is there something I should be doing on the side to expedite this process?” “Can you suggest any books or seminars that may cut off a few sessions?”

We live in a time where convenience, speed and efficiency are desired and expected. Expedited shipping, fast food, same-day delivery, express lane – we want everything fast. I just did a Google search for “Austin.” As soon as I hit the enter key, an entire selection of sites appeared. In fact, I received a notice telling me that Google had provided about 12,230,000,000 results in 0.84 seconds. Nearly instantaneous results have become our normal, which makes the process of therapy seem abnormally long.

To go fast, we slow things down

Jonathan Shedler said, “Psychotherapy is about slowing things down—so we can begin to see and understand the patterns that otherwise happen quickly, automatically, without reflection or awareness. (American Psychologist: 2019) When my family took road trips when I was a kid, so much more happened along the way than just getting to our destination. While it may have been  faster to fly, we certainly learned more about ourselves, and made deep, lasting memories during our drives in the car.

Similarly, accelerated therapy is not expeditious. Slower is faster. Attempting to race through therapy may work for a time. But when we don’t take the time to look deeply into the issues at play, it usually results in coming back to therapy again, perhaps with more issues the next time. There is no express lane for restructuring years of harmful learned behaviors, barriers that were built for safety, non- effective coping mechanisms, or destructive narratives that we believe and live out. It takes years to build unhealthy beliefs and patterns of behavior. It takes time to discover them and unlearn them.

Therapy is an investment of time, money, and effort

Therapy is an investment in a better life. It takes time, money and effort. Those who are willing to exert patience, fervent determination and hard work are the ones who experience a positive return on the investment. You are worth it.

Written by clinician Lorri M. Frasier M.A., NCC,  LCDC – Associate, LPC-Associate

supervised by Dr. Kyle Miller, LPC-S

Meet Lorri!

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