As adults we go through phases and challenges alongside the boys, girls and teenagers throughout of their growth. Although we had understood the importance of recognizing, accepting and living with a wide array of emotions and feelings, it will depend on this process that our children manage to set positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, sustain positive relationships and make assertive decisions they can assume with responsibility; in fact emotional response patterns often established in childhood, largely in response to adults reactions and behaviors.
At one time, in a CIEDI Parents meeting from pre-school, several parents shared their latent concern ‘We do everything theory teaches us, but sometimes the triggers are more intense, and its seems that stopping in time before diving into this cycle is not easy. What can we do?”
Acquiring abilities involves developing new behaviors, so I want to share with you some unconventional practices that is have learned from Dr Bethany Cook, American clinical psychologist and university professor, who has encouraged me to take conscious pauses/breaks that help to break the cycle of reactivity.
Three conscious breaks to manage emotions with your child:
- Agree on and make use a keyword as a warning, alert or reminder:
- Create a keyword with your child; the effect will be much more meaningful if it is a funny or nonsensical word (i.e. ¡banana!)
- When you get angry and you identify this emotion can escalate quickly, focus on one thing: You must say the keyword out loud, perhaps even repeat it several times
- I know you initially will end up screaming the keyword, something like (“ ¡grrrr! ¡ BANANA!”), but remember it can help to cool down the situation.
- You can also give a hint to the boy or girl by saying: “it’s time to calm down” it is important for him or her to understand that this warning goes for you as well.
2.Use tangible aids to shake it off:
- This idea comes from DBT (Dialectical behavior therapy) which suggest you have a sour candy on hand or keep a hair rubber around your wrist. When you are starting to feel provoked, eat the candy or break the ribbon. That physical stimulus allows you to stop or slow the emotion down, in other words you can think: Is it time to cool down or start again? Is this discussion worth it?
3.Try any technique to recover calm such as deep breathing, doing mantras, visualization exercises. Remember that the language we use about ourselves and towards children, even if we don’t say it out loud, is important since it nuances our interactions and responses.
- So tell yourself, as many times as necessary, in that moment: “it is not personal”, “calming down is contagious”, “guiding and raising with love”, “I can only control myself”, “just breathe”.
As you are practice these conscious breaks to cut the reactive cycle, you will find that your mind and body will do it more and more, naturally.
In the end as DR Jill Bolte Taylor, Harvard scientist expressed, when we have emotional reactions to stimuli in the environment, there is a chemical process of just 90 seconds only, after this time any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional state.
Author: BIPRODEHU – program ‘Bienestar, Promoción y Desarrollo Humano’(Well-being, promotion and human development program)
In CIEDI School, we work constantly with all members of the school community to create a comprehensive learning environment, inside and outside of the classroom, understanding the impact of cultivating healthy and conscious relationships with our own emotions and with others.
¡Let’s make school-house team! Your child will count on having fun and challenging learning experiences that nurture their emotional, intellectual and physical growth.
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