Parental Emotional Regulation: Why It Matters

May 16, 2024

In my role as a mental health professional, I often encounter concerns from clients about their children’s struggles with emotional regulation. It’s a challenge that many families face, but what does it really mean, and how can we address it from both a parental and individual standpoint? Moreover, how does it relate to our own journey of self-regulation as adults? Let’s explore these questions together.

Understanding Emotion Regulation:

When we talk about children having difficulty with emotional regulation, we’re referring to their ability to manage their feelings in various situations. This might manifest as outbursts of anger, difficulty calming down after being upset, or struggling to adapt to changes in expectations. Essentially, it’s about helping children navigate the ups and downs of their emotional experiences.

Parental Perspective:

So, how can parents support their children in this journey? First and foremost, it’s about understanding that it’s okay for children to experience a range of emotions—it’s all part of growing up. We can help by providing them with tools and strategies to cope with their feelings, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness techniques, or simply talking about what they’re going through. Creating a safe and supportive environment where they feel heard and understood is key.

Individual Perspective:

But what about us adults? How does our own journey of self-regulation come into play? Well, turns out, we’re the biggest role models for our kids. They learn by watching how we handle our own emotions. So, if we want to teach them healthy ways of coping, we’ve got to practice coping ourselves. That means being mindful of our own reactions, taking time to regulate our emotions before responding, and showing them that it’s okay to express how we feel.

  • Practice self-awareness: Take time to reflect on your own emotional responses and
    triggers and consider how they may impact your interactions with others.
  • Implement self-care: Engage in activities that promote your own well-being, such as
    exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.
  • Seek support: Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for guidance and support when
    you’re feeling overwhelmed by your emotions.
  • Develop coping strategies: Explore techniques like mindfulness, relaxation exercises, or
    creative outlets to help you manage stress and regulate your emotions more effectively.
Connecting the Dots:

By addressing emotion regulation from both a parental and individual perspective, we create a
holistic approach that fosters growth and resilience in both children and adults alike. When
parents understand the challenges faced by their children and prioritize their own self-regulation, they can create a supportive environment where everyone can thrive emotionally and

Here are some skills to practice self-regulation!

Box breathing relaxation technique: how to calm feelings of stress or anxiety – YouTube

Progressive Muscle Relaxation – A 5 minute Guided Mindfulness Meditation – YouTube

Written By:
Valentina Davalos, LPC-Associate


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