Amazing Parents

Sometimes it\’s AMAZING. Sometimes it\’s just A MAZE.

Reflect, Relate, Regulate

But how do you apply the Stress Model? Simple. It’s as easy as A, B, C. No, wait. That’s reading. The Stress Model is as easy as R, R, R. Pleas allow me to explain.

If we know that stress met with a fear results in a negative behavior, then we would want to be very diligent to meet our children’s stress with something loving instead. Maybe some encouragement, hugging, talking it out, etc.

But what if your child lies? And not just once, but every single time he opens his mouth. You ask him if he did his homework and he says, “Yes!” You tell him to pick up his shoes and he says, “I already did.” You need to know if the neighbor brought over that package and he tells you, “No.” Lies. Everything is a lie. This type of behavior does not take long at all to begin grinding on your nerves. Eventually, you are unable to say anything nice or to react in any positive way whatsoever. Instead, you yell or withdraw yourself or give a consequence. You have applied fear and according to the Stress Model, his behavior will only get worse. But what can you do? You are so stressed out that you cannot stop your own behavior. Because you also are experiencing fear. Well, now is that time to Reflect, Relate, and Regulate. It’s that easy.

REFLECT means to stop and think. Imagine that your child is tantruming…again. Sit down and look at your child writhing on the ground in terror. Watch his fists tighten up and listen to his voice as he screams. Try to imagine his pain at that moment, his inability to stop this behavior. Just stop. Do nothing else, but think. Reflect on his pain, his rapid heartbeat, his fear.

Then RELATE. Put your hand on your heart and feel how quickly it is beating. Let yourself feel what he is feeling. Get beside him and share that moment together. That you both are feeling it. That you both are scared to death at that moment of something, even if you dont’ know what. It’sok to be scared and it’s ok to feel it together. Relate to him. Consciously make yourself aware of his pain. You might even be able to hold him or to talk to him. However you are able, simply relate.

As you do these two steps, your physiology will literally come together. Your heartbeats will slow together or speed up together. Your breathing too. As you are relating to your son, he will begin to relate back to you. That is where regulation occurs. Slowly, you can calm down. Together. Your stress level decreases and you are exhausted and left wanting to connect somehow. If he lets you, try to hug him. If he won’t, simply be beside him and look at him with sincerity in your eyes. Help him come back down to a regulated state. Be the clock inside the puppy’s basket that helps lull them back to sleep with a steady tick-tock, tick-tock. It will work. This is how to REGULATE.

This little step-by-step guide works to help any relationship. Between friends, co-workers, spouses. It will help you to calm down during moments of high stress and begin seeing the situation in another light. Practice it when you are stuck on the freeway, late to an appointment and the guy in front of you won’t go any faster. Try it when your spouse begins an argument about how you are going to remodel the house or where to take your next vacation. Try it at work when your boss is calling you names because the project deadline is 5 minutes away and the project has 3 more days left of work. Reflect, Relate, and Regulate.

You will be surprised how well this works. If you can master it in times of low stress, then you will be more likely to fall back on it during times of elevated stress, which is when you need it the most. So practice, practice, practice. You won’t get perfect, but it will become second nature. To a parent of a RAD kid with severe behaviors, this will be your life preserver. You will begin to use it more and more and it will become natural and simple and faster every time. Pretty soon you won’t even know you are doing it. That is when the real healing begins….for both of you.

If you would like to read what Bryan Post has to say about Reflect, Relate, Regulate, click on the link in the sidebar called “For All Things A Season” and download this free publication. Begin reading on Page 33 and see for yourself how this three-phase intervention works.

November 5, 2007 Posted by | A New Paradigm | Leave a comment