speaking your truth

Tools for Your Parenting Toolbox: EMOTIONAL LITERACY & SELF-REGULATION

Welcome back to my series on how we can support our kids by using some simple therapeutic
strategies at home. My name is Kim Hamilton and I’m a therapist at Louisville Mindfulness Center. I
specialize in working with kids, teens, and parents to create family harmony. I love to support
parents by offering them tools for their parenting toolbox to handle the stress and uncertainty
that comes along with parenting.

Last time I talked about Attunement and discussed three ways of noticing when they need a
deeper level of attention, therefore strengthening our relationships with them and helping
them to better understand themselves and their feelings. We can do this by 1) paying attention,
2) reflecting, and 3) validating. If you missed it or want a refresher, you can check it out here.

Today I’ll share two more tools: emotional literacy and self-regulation.

EMOTIONAL LITERACY

Let’s start with Emotional Literacy. We can help our kids by helping them to understand their own feelings and how their body physically responds to those emotions. We’ve all experienced “butterflies” in our stomachs when we get nervous, but what about that stomach ache or headache; or that pressure in our chest or inability to catch a breath? What do they mean? When they can learn to tune in to their emotions, to become aware of them, and notice them, they will not only get better at managing their emotions but also at being able to predict them.

SELF-REGULATION

But what do we do when it is already happening?

When we are in the moment of strong emotion, it is difficult to regulate that feeling. Think about when your child is having a tantrum or has asked you 20 times for the same thing. It is easy to feel overwhelmed with emotions, which often lead to behaviors we may regret later. The same is true for kids when they are fighting with a friend or anxious about a big test.

By learning to self-regulate in those moments, we can be in control of how we react. Pausing and breathing intentionally is key to this.

One breathing technique I like is box breathing – breath in for four second, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and then hold for four seconds again.

You can also use grounding techniques like 5-4-3-2-1. Name five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. You can also go for a
walk, jump up and down, listen to music, or do anything else that helps.

Model this self-regulation to your kids and explain to them what you are doing. This will show them how they can also cope in the midst of difficult feelings.

I invite you to experiment with emotional literacy and self-regulation and see how it goes! Feel free to email me and let me know: Kim@LouisvilleMindfulnessCenter.com.

If you liked what you read and feel I could be of assistance to you and your family, feel free to schedule a free 10-minute consult with me at your convenience online HERE!

 Kim Hamilton, MAMFT specializes in working with kids, teens, and parents to bring emotional regulation and harmony to families and households. She works from a non-judgemental, solution-focused, non-pathologizing perspective that creates win-win scenarios within relationships. Megan Bayles Bartley is excited for Kim to join the team and knows she will be a wonderful resource for your family.

Find out more on Kim’s bio page on the Louisville Mindfulness Center website!

 

 

*This blog was inspired by the Washington Post article: “Five skills parents can learn so they can help their children cope”

Tools for Your Parenting Toolbox: ATTUNEMENT

Parenting is hard. Period. But it is especially difficult and disheartening when your child is struggling and you don’t know how to best help them. Kids are experiencing unprecedented amounts of mental health issues due to the coronavirus pandemic, but we as parents can support them by using some simple therapeutic strategies at home. This will be the first in a series teaching you various healthy coping skills to implement with your children.

Hi! I’m Kim Hamilton. I’m a new therapist at Louisville Mindfulness Center. I specialize in working with kids, teens, and parents to create family harmony. I love to support parents by offering them tools for their parenting toolbox to handle the stress and uncertainty that comes along with parenting.

ATTUNEMENT

Let’s start with attuning. Our lives are busy chauffeuring kids to activities, helping with homework, making dinner, and still trying to fit in our own needs. It is easy to get caught up in the stress of it all and not pay attention to what is actually going on in our kids’ minds and lives. By noticing when they need a deeper level of attention, we strengthen our relationships with them and help them to better understand themselves and their feelings. So how exactly do we do attune?

Pay Attention

The first tool for your toolbox is to simply pay attention! Has their mood changed or has there been a shift to their normal routine? Take notice and dig deeper. They are most likely going to say they are fine and nothing is wrong, but don’t let the conversation stop there. Share with them what you are noticing and even offer a guess at what might be wrong in order to get the conversation started.

Reflect

Reflective listening is another tool that is great to use, not only with your kids but in all your relationships. Begin by listening closely to what they have to say. Then, repeat back to them what you heard them say in a paraphrased way. Lastly, ask your child if your understanding is correct and if you missed anything. For example, if they are arguing with a friend, ask them to explain to you what is going on. You can repeat back to them what you heard by saying, “What I heard you say is…Is that correct? Did I miss anything?” This will allow your child to process their emotions, consider how their actions contributed to the situation, and decide how to move forward.

Validate

Lastly, and possibly, most importantly, is validation. Your child may tell you something that you don’t like and is upsetting, and it is important for you as the parent not to react immediately. Just listen. Then validate their perspective instead of dismissing their feelings or trying to change their mind. As parents, we want to fix everything for our children. When we do this, when we fix things or give them the answer, they don’t experience the struggle that comes with the learning process. It’s ok for our kids to struggle a bit. Growth doesn’t happen without some discomfort. Validating doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but by acknowledging their pain, the struggle becomes easier for them and leads to behavior change.

I invite you to experiment with these steps to attune with your children. I’d love to know how it goes! Feel free to email me and let me know: Kim@LouisvilleMindfulnessCenter.com.

If you liked what you read and feel I could be of assistance to you and your family, feel free to schedule a free 10-minute consult with me at your convenience online HERE!

 

Kim Hamilton, MAMFT specializes in working with kids, teens, and parents to bring emotional regulation and harmony to families and households. She works from a non-judgemental, solution-focused, non-pathologizing perspective that creates win-win scenarios within relationships. Megan Bayles Bartley is excited for Kim to join the team and knows she will be a wonderful resource for your family.

Find out more on Kim’s bio page on the Louisville Mindfulness Center website!

 

 

*This blog was inspired by the Washington Post article: “Five skills parents can learn so they can help their children cope”

Join Us As We Meditate For Louisville, KY!! Sept. 11-21, 2022

Louisville Mindfulness Center has been asked to partner with the Louisville Resonant City Peace Project as they assist the Global Peaceful Cities Project study the effects of 3500+ people joining forces to spread peace throughout Louisville during a two-week span of time. The intention is to decrease Louisville’s crime and violence rate by 25%. Previous cities have seen a 25+% reduction in crime and violence during the two weeks of meditation.

Are you interested in participating? Go to PeacefulCities.org to sign up to receive a daily email with a 20-minute guided meditation. This is a wonderful way to join as you’ll have a different member of the Louisville community devoted to peace leading you through that day’s meditation. Our fearless leader, Megan Bayles Bartley, will be leading one of the meditations… perhaps you can listen for her!

Join Megan and friends at the Kickoff Celebration on September 8th at 6:30pm – 740 Old Harrods Creek Rd.

Louisvile, Peace, Peaceful, Cities