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Compassion, Attunement, Regulation & Expectations


To be candid, it's natural for our children's behaviors to sometimes test our patience. When our children exhibit anger, anxiety, or distress, attempting to correct or rush them in the moment can exacerbate these emotions. When faced with challenging behavior, it's crucial to ask ourselves: "Is this a reflexive stress response or a deliberate misbehavior?" Distinguishing between the two may initially pose a challenge, but with a better understanding of neuroception and the Autonomic Nervous System, this differentiation becomes clearer.

In these trying moments, prioritizing connection and empathy can guide our children back to a state of calm. It's essential to bear in mind that our aim is to foster skill development in our children, rather than demanding perfection.


Attunement refers to an individual's responsiveness to the emotional needs and moods of others. A person who is highly attuned demonstrates the ability to react appropriately with language and behavior according to another person's emotional state. It's imperative to acknowledge and validate your child's emotions, particularly when they are experiencing intense feelings. By maintaining a sense of calm yourself, you can effectively support your child through their distress.

Merely reassuring a child that they are okay during moments of distress may inadvertently convey disapproval of their emotions rather than providing genuine comfort.


Recent research underscores that children often exhibit challenging behaviors as a result of experiencing intense emotions and physiological stress responses. Tantrums, for instance, are frequently triggered by underlying factors in their environment. Identifying these underlying stressors and engaging in co-regulation with your child is crucial. When children encounter stimuli that activate their fight, flight, or freeze response, it's essential for caregivers to respond with composure and compassion, facilitating co-regulation. This approach fosters the development of self-regulation skills in children, enabling them to articulate their emotions effectively, form meaningful connections with others, and seek support when necessary, ultimately empowering them to navigate their emotional experiences with resilience and maturity.


Our children possess their own unique thoughts and perspectives, embodying individuality separate from our own. It's essential to recognize and embrace their autonomy, understanding that they are not meant to mirror us but rather to express their authentic selves. Embracing the notion that our children may have differing preferences from ours is key, fostering an environment where such differences are not only tolerated but celebrated. Additionally, it's important to critically assess whether our expectations align with our child's developmental stage. At times, our reactions to challenging behaviors may be rooted in expectations that are not developmentally appropriate for our child.

Taking moments of quiet contemplation to marvel at our child's perception of the world allows us to truly appreciate their unique interests and passions. By striving to accept and support their individuality, we lay the groundwork for a relationship built on mutual respect and understanding. This acceptance nurtures a sense of self-love in our child, fostering a bond characterized by love and acceptance between parent and child.

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