It’s Not Your Fault. It Is Your Job.


It’s Not Your Fault. It is Your Job. They Are Very Different

Bryan Post talks about parents taking responsibility for the children’s mis-behaviors. Some parents think this means that the child’s negative behaviors are the parents fault. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being responsible for our child’s behaviors simply means it is our job to help our child learn to self-regulate. When we miss the signals of our child reaching their regulatory window of tolerance, and the child messes up, punishing the child becomes a mis-directred attempt to teach. I recently heard a teacher express this so elegantly, “when did we learn that in order to make children feel good, we first have to make them feel bad?” — David Durovy

The Self Regulatory Thermostat

Your most important job as a parent is to train your child’s emotional thermostat to keep on an even keel, that is, to regulate the body/mind/emotions. Think about a house where the windows are old and leaky. There’s no insulation, and drafts rush in under the front door. The thermostat may work okay, but it has to constantly adjust the furnace in an attempt to keep the temperature somewhat even. If the house is well-insulated, on the other hand, it’s easy to maintain comfort. A parent’s love and care in the first three years of life acts as emotional insulation, giving a child a secure base from which to meet the challenges and disappointments of life. Without this emotional insulation, a child may over-react to little things like being corrected by a teacher or being denied a cookie. If the child was not given this co-regulation early in life, the job becomes even more important regardless of age, for the parent to provide this “insulation” for the child. Since the child cannot do it on their own, parents take the responsibility — not the blame — for helping the child learn self-regulation through patience and love.

Excerpted From Oxytocin Parenting by Susan Kutchinskas and Bryan Post.

It is simple. It is not easy. It can be done. But remember this is a process and not a silver bullet. You are not just teaching, but you are overcoming that which never took place in their development and now must be learned.