Updated: Mar 27, 2020
SELF-REGULATION - The ability to use coping skills, weigh the pros and cons, use thought replacement or deep breathing exercises. The ability to work your way up the polyvagal ladder on your own.
Children don’t have it basically. They can build it, but need co-regulation. Self-regulation is built upon co-regulation
Kids have increased sympathetic energy and nothing to do with it. Defensive states increase the heart rate and decrease the ability to think clearly.
Desperation, tantrums, anger, running away
High emotional volatility
There’s nothing wrong with them, they’re just kids
Kids naturally have a weaker social engagement system and vagal brake
They need effective and consistent co-regulation
This is really where the bulk of your child’s vagal brake development will come from. We are a social species.
We regulate with each other
Co-regulation is integral to mental and physical health
Safety leads to closeness and touch
Co-regulation begins in infancy
Use of prosody, eye contact for bonding/soothing
Ex: “motherese” - slow, melodic, exaggerated speech
Changing a diaper is a great time
We are constantly engaged in a feedback loop with others
PIECES OF CO-REGULATION
Feedback loop - Back and forth communication, two nervous systems sending cues to each other.
Cues of safety = connection/reciprocity
Cues of danger = disconnection/rupture
Ruptures - Routine events that lead us away from safety
Looking at a cell phone, looking away, internal distractions, talking over the other person
Experienced as a minor cue of danger, but could also be a bigger deal for some
Ruptures can easily turn into self-criticism or judgment of the other person
Experienced as withdrawal or confrontation
When ruptures happen, they need to be repaired, like a simple apology, being empathetic, getting on their level, co-regulation through gentle eye contact, giving space if needed
Misattunement - Nervous systems in different states
Might come from ruptures
YOUR HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT - Make the extra effort to show your kids your face and your smiles
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