SO many of us have grown up and extended that to our parenting. We are “good” parents if our children are compliant and do not struggle with anything. If we just did everything “right” or “better” our children would act better or struggle less, or whatever delusion we tell ourselves.
The truth is that regulation is a learned skill that we now have to teach more than ever. This is because our children are competing with electronics, environmental toxins, restricted movement, decreased nutrients, increased schedules and stress, a loss of play time, a loss of outdoor time, and countless other distractions. Society today praises and rewards children who are in multiple activities, who get all the correct answers, who work ahead of grade level, who push themselves harder. I am ALL for hard work and being challenged, but we forgot a step.
In order to get to those places where we can multitask, and have high executive functioning skills and amazing abilities to adapt and regulate-we first have to have TIME to learn regulation skills. We need regulation to be taught and modeled by our parents, teachers, coaches, and other adults. We need to not expect children to simply know a complex skill that even adults struggle with. How many adults do you know that still struggle with focus, attention, emotion management, executive functioning skills, eating, sleeping, and more?
This also means that instead of being critical and judgemental of those who are struggling to learn these skills, we need to be supportive and advocate for these things to be integrated into our lives. Good parents have kids that struggle with many things. Give yourself a hug.
To learn more about child and toddler regulation strategies and how to address focus, attention, emotion regulation, impulsivity, and more follow along with Movement Matters.