My Brain Team: What To Do When Emotions Run High is a therapeutic resource that teaches emotion regulation and mindfulness skills to children ages 6 and up.
Liv is a fun and creative 10-year old girl who explains how the brain works through the different imaginary characters in her brain team. We learn how the ‘amygdala feelers’ serve to protect us from danger while the ‘prefrontal cortex thinkers’ help us to calm down, solve problems, and relate to others.
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How can I help my child with emotional self-regulation?
A pretty common concern I hear from parents is that their child loses control over their emotions and can go from 0 to 100 very quickly. That is, they see that their child becomes overwhelmed, upset, anxious, and/or angry both easily and often over seemingly small things or situations. It is as if their child’s emotions have taken over (or have essentially hijacked their thinking brains) and there is no way to rationally talk to or reason with them. Parents often want to know how to help their child calm down and regulate their emotions.
My clinical approach is to first help parents and children understand what is happening in their brains. When our emotions, such as anger and anxiety, run high and feel overwhelming, we tend to react impulsively (as a way of coping) and without thinking things through. That is, for both children and adults alike, the same “fight-flight-freeze-faint” (4Fs) response is triggered when faced with any possible threat and danger (whether the threat is real or imagined).