Practical tips and skills from Wyndham City’s Youth Services team to help parents and carers tune in to young people.

Have you ever said something in the heat of the moment and then had regrets later?

When we are experiencing heightened emotions our logical thinking brain is offline. If we respond when feeling heightened, we will be responding without forethought for the impact of what we might say on the other person.

It always feels better when we are able to think about what we want to say before actually speaking.

Have you ever been in a situation where your young person has said or done something that has made you feel extremely angry or sad? If your answer is yes, then building in a pause is a helpful strategy for you to use in your home.

How do we build in a pause?

The first step is to recognise the emotion you are feeling. If you’ve recognised that you are feeling triggered by the situation take a few deep breaths. Make the decision to do something to calm yourself down and regulate this emotion. That might be a cup of tea, unstack the dishwasher or sit outside in the fresh air.

The key here is to recognise when you are feeling able to respond in a way to the situation that you will feel proud of later. This will be different for everyone.

You can then approach the situation with your logical thinking brain as opposed to your emotion brain.

You may re-enter the conversation with your teen by saying “I had to take a moment as I was feeling very hurt by… so I took a short walk.”

Building in a pause is not only helpful in regulating our own emotions it’s also beneficial for the young people in our lives. By building in a pause you are role modelling emotionally intelligent behaviour which we know is one of the ways in which young people develop their emotional intelligence.

We also know that once words are spoken, they cannot be retracted. When responding in a highly emotional state we could damage the relationship we have with the young person.

By introducing the ‘pause’ we are forging a stronger relationship with our young person through interactions built on mutual respect and that create a level of trust and predictability, not to mention your message gets across a lot clearer and is received with open ears rather than folded arms and a raised voice.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program or would like to contact us feel free to email us at [email protected]