Today's episode is based on the research of Dr. Dan Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson. Having an emotional outburst, whether you are a toddler, a teenager or an adult, can take us by surprise and feel scary. Our brains become dysregulated and trying to teach a lesson about behavior in a moment of emotional chaos does not work. Dr. Siegel says that we all have a "window of tolerance" - that sweet spot where we are flexible, adaptable and able to handle setbacks. Outbursts, or the other extreme of shutting down, happen when we are outside of our "window of tolerance." Today we explore strategies for being soothing and compassionate during times of emotional chaos in order to bring your child back into her "window of tolerance." Once her brain is settled, behaviors can be addressed. You can then teach skills for allowing and moving through feelings WITH appropriate behavior. As parents, we have the opportunity to help our child widen their "window of tolerance" as they move towards the ability to become their own expert self-regulator. It all starts with us, as parents, understanding how the brain works and keeping our cool.
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Vashti Summervill is a PCI Certified Parent Coach and a certified teacher in the state of Idaho. She is the secretary of the Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition and the co-chair of the St. Luke’s Pediatric Family Advisory Council.