Creative Child

Weathering Your Child’s Emotional Storms

by Rebecca Eanes

“You don’t take on storms; you weather them.” – Dr. Gordon Neufeld


How many times have you tried to take on your child’s storms? How often have you confronted your child and tried to correct her or teach an important lesson right in the middle of a torrential downpour of emotions, such as during a tantrum, or during the thunder and lightning of misbehavior such as hitting a friend or sibling? When emotions are high and storms are raging, it’s best not to take it on, but simply to weather it. Children do not absorb our lessons well in the midst of a storm. Here’s the brain science behind this idea:

“Being calm turns on more circuits between the feeling and thinking brain, and integrates the right prefrontal lobe's direct responses to emotions with the left prefrontal lobe's ability to regulate these emotions. This allows the brain's CEO to do it's job. When the CEO is "on-line" it makes it possible for a person to:

  • reflect on their emotions and better control their impulses;
  • manage negative emotions such as fear, frustration, and anger;
  • soothe oneself;
  • consider consequences, make thoughtful decisions and plans;
  • move out of defensive survival behaviors;
  • relate to others in more empathic, compassionate ways.

With the brain's CEO at the helm, even in an upsetting situation a calm person is in control of himself.” (Amen, Healing the Hardware of the Soul, 2002, 31-33). (Source)

One more illustration of this point from the same source: “When one is calm and alert, the prefrontal lobes are free to engage in higher level thinking tasks. Positive emotions help a child to pay attention, concentrate, solve problems, be creative, learn and remember (Goleman, p. 85).”

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