Your Parent Superpower: Co-Regulation

On Thursday, April 2nd, Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP of A New Day Pediatric Psychology, shared a video discussing the importance of co-regulation in parenting.

What is Co-Regulation and Self Regulation? 

Why is it important for parents and children? 

Co-Regulation occurs before self-regulation. 

Co-Regulation is the ability to monitor, to discipline, to be able to keep yourself in balance when things are a little bit off. Co-regulation occurs because someone else helps us regulate ourselves.

For example: 

A parent rocking a baby to quiet him down. A parent who rubs their toddler’s back after they hurt themselves. Holding a teenager’s hand because they just experienced a heartbreak. 

Sometimes we don’t realize that another person is helping us stay balanced and emotionally regulated. 

So why is it important? 

A dysregulated child is not able to regulate themselves in the presence of a dysregulated parent. 

Yelling or threatening a child who is having a meltdown or tantrum is not the best solution.

So how do you teach self-regulation to your child? Here are some tips I’ve used for myself and for my clients.

  1. Ask yourself – is my reaction to the behavior the most productive way of responding to my child? Is this their issue or my issue? Am I irritated? Am I feeling out of control? 
  2. When you speak to your child, speak in a calm, but firm manner. If you speak in an angry and impatient tone, that is going to trigger in them the need to defend themselves. 
  3. Remain calm and take a breath and maintain a calm voice. This will help you avoid saying words that you’ll later regret. 

So we may be in an unusual situation of isolation at this time. Let’s think of it as an opportunity to get connected with our family. 

This is the best chance to connect in a healthy, appropriate and secure way.