Teach Your Kids How To Manage Their Emotions

emotional regulation activities

As parents, would you agree we all try to support our children?

But getting the right balance can be tricky. And, that’s why today we are going to consider what giving support is not…

Giving support is not:

I’ll get back to that in a moment, but first let me explain a little about:

The Stages Of Child Development

Stage 1 is the Imprint stage and goes from ages 1 to 7.

During this stage, essentially what happens is we all come in with a blank mind and then everything within our environment is imprinted onto our subconscious mind.

Stage 2 is the Modelling stage, which is from age 7 trough to 14.

I describe this stage as “monkey see, monkey do.”  The modelling stage is where our children model everything… the good and the bad.  So, as parents it’s very important that we model good behaviours and set good examples during this stage.

Stage 3 is the Socialisation stage, and this encompasses the ages 14 through to about 21.

The socialisation stage is where your teenager is trying to gain their independence and determine their self-identity.  So, the key issues parents are often faced with during this stage are around independence.

The reason why I’ve shared these stages with you is because it’s important to support your child through each of these stages.


Back to what support is not.

Let’s start with Helicopter Parenting and what that looks like.

It’s when parents are constantly hovering around their child.  This occurs when parents obsessively check in on their child.  The child doesn’t get any time to themselves.  It’s also when parents are always scheduling things for their children.  It can be seen as smothering rather than loving.

An example that comes to mind…

When I was working at a university, during orientation week one year a mother kept ringing the staff asking them to check in on her daughter so as to make sure she was not just sitting in her dormitory room and missing out on the orientation activities.

Therefore, this is not supportive because it does not allow your child or teenager to develop their own independence.

Now, I know this example is for a teenager, but it starts when they are born and can often get worse as the child grows. Some signs of helicopter parenting with younger children include constant hovering to ensure they never fall, fail or fight, not allowing your child to try activities that are appropriate for their age for fear they might get hurt, and not letting kids try to work out their problems on their own first.

Essentially… it’s the parent not letting go.

So, what about Lawnmower Parenting?

Well, just like the picture shows, lawnmower parents want to smooth everything over for their child. The child does not get to learn any lessons and the parent handicaps the child by doing everything for them. The lawnmower parent is not providing positive support because if you smooth everything over for your child it doesn’t help them learn how to take responsibility.

And here is an interesting one…  Peerenting

Peerenting is when the parent tries to be best mates with their child. I have had colleagues who have said they often see this in single parents with an only child. It can also be seen in cases of divorce where the parents are sharing the care of the kids. And, another example is when the child is a teenager and the parent is more a peer than a parent to their child.


They want their child to like them and avoid setting limits and boundaries to keep their child on side. The problem with peerenting is the parent struggles to use the word ‘no’. They do not want to be seen as the bad guy and discipline their child. They don’t want to be the disciplinarian. Peer-renting is also allowing your child to make important decisions for you about your life.

But, parents know at times they need to be the bad guy and set limits even though it feels awful.

And here is a great concept that will help you with setting guidelines and connecting with your child:


Relationships Before Rules = Respect

But if it is the other way around and we start dishing out rules before building the relationshipwith our child, it will often result in rebellion.

Have you ever gone straight to the rule-book before connecting?

What result did you get?

I bet it was not a good one.

Now let’s look at three key ways you can provide the right type of support to your child:

  1. Help them understand and manage their emotions.

This one is really important.  Because if they turn their emotions inwards, it can lead to things such as depression. And, if they turn their emotions outwards, it can lead to outbursts of anger.

There is a great tool that I go into detail about during my parenting workshops that is really simple and easy to use. I’ll give you a quick run-down on it now, but if you would like more information, feel free to contact us by email: info@ontrackparenting.com, via our contact page, or phone us on: 0458360666.

Here’s a quick fact:

There are 22 common emotions that human beings experience.

Guess how many of these are positive?

If you thought it was half positive and half negative, it might shock you to know that there are only 7 that are positive. That means there are twice as many negative emotions!


Now you know why it can be a struggle to stay positive.

But the important thing is knowing how to manage our emotions appropriately.

  1. The second way to provide the right support is to let them discover their self-control.

You see…

When it comes to disputes it is better to settle our emotions first and then settle the dispute later.

By the way, did you know that time and space can settle emotions?

“Talking it through” is a technique which is recommended for conflict resolution, but the key to this is TIMING. And you can encourage them to give themselves some space by going outside to jump on the trampoline, doing some craft/drawing, reading a book by themselves, or something else your child likes.

Having these emotional regulation activities in mind for “time and space” is a great idea because it will give them the opportunity to feel better and manage their self-control much more easily.

Something to remember around this is:

“When emotions go up, intelligence goes down.”

  1. Last but not least is to support your child by putting together a Personal Learning Plan.

It’s something they won’t be able do themselves but is a great habit to develop from an early age. How you do this is to help them set a goal and then identify core skills that will support them to achieve that goal.


A Personal Learning Plan doesn’t have to be fancy. Here’s an individual learning plan example we whipped up on the computer to show you how simple it can be:

By the way…

We’d be happy to make a copy for you (tailored to suit your child/ren). Simply email us at info@ontrackparenting.com with your child’s name and 3 or 4 skills you want included on your Personal Learning Plan and we’ll get your version sent to you ASAP.


“The quality of your life is dependent on the quality of the skills you have.”

Brad Everton

So, set your kids up with the best life skills now to ensure they have a great quality of life in their future.

Thanks for taking the time to learn how you can enhance your child’s wellbeing.

May you have an On Track Day!

Brad Everton

International Author and Psychologist

On Track Parenting


Download free resources & grab yourself a copy of “On Track Parenting – The Missing Manual That Should Have Come With Your Child”

How to Never Make Bad Mistakes Again

the essential life skill for decision making process

Ever experienced moments of utter despair when you child did something they knew was wrong?  Or maybe you have felt the frustration of your partner undermining your parenting…  And maybe you have done something yourself (possibly more than once) that you regretted and really don’t want to happen again.

The good news is…

Today I’m going to share with you a life skill you can use to combat all of these problems that I call:

“Advanced Decision Making”

This is a life skill that can help you with your parenting in so many different ways. And here are just a few:

  • It will help you prevent the sense of overwhelm, anger and frustration – particularly when things go wrong
  • It will help you feel a lot more relaxed because you will have more clarity, and
  • It will help you stay a lot calmer in general because you have more certainty

There are 3 tips I am going to share with you around this. They are:

  1. Prevention is better than cure
  2. Respond vs react, and
  3. How to master your self control

Let’s explore the first tip…

Prevention is Better Than Cure

As parents, making decisions in advanced will allow you to prevent future misbehaviour.

Did you know there are four main categories of misbehaviour? And one of them is demand-seeking misbehaviour (discover more about managing the 4 misbehaviours in my short course here).

Let’s use an example of our child who every time we go into a shopping centre, throws a tantrum because they want something bought for them. Well, by simply applying the concept of Advanced Decision Making we can let the child know that we are aware of the type of misbehaviour prior to going shopping and discuss alternatives with them in advance. We can also discuss some of the consequences in advance.

As a parent, we may also be able to think about some different ways that we can distract our child in a positive way.  

So, there’s an example of how to use Advanced Decision Making using the concept of prevention is better than cure.

The second tip is:

Respond Rather Than React

We should always be aiming to respond rather than react. And what I often say to people is:

“When we react, we tend to react in a negative way. But when we respond, we respond in a cool, calm and collected manner.”

Brad Everton

You see…

The goal is always to respond.

Let’s say for example our children are pushing our hot buttons by:

  • constantly nagging (think of a toddler repeatedly shouting “mum, mum, mum, mum, mum” over and over again)
  • our teenager diminishing what we do for them and angrily telling us what bad parents we are
  • one of our children blaming the other for bad behaviour just to get them in trouble

What can you do to respond instead of reacting during these situations?

The key to remember when you start to sense yourself becoming annoyed is to see it for what it really is and choose to respond rather than react.


It is easier said than done.

But it is also a matter of conditioning ourselves to the concept of responding.

It’s also recognising when our children push our hot buttons that there is often a motive behind the behaviour. And our job is to determine what that is.

The problem is reacting makes it a lot harder to do that.

So, using the concept of Advanced Decision Making – if you have pre-determined how you will behave in certain situations, it allows you to respond verses react.

The best thing is…

You’ll find this will give you a sense of calmness and peace of mind because you have things in place. And, it also allows you to stay in control of yourself.

Which leads me to the third tip, which is:

Master Your Self Control

Another great idea is to have a Plan A and Plan B. This will allow you to be more organised because you’ll have already thought through more than one option, which will give you even more self control.

And the fact is…

Self control is something we are all looking for.

Because if we feel as though we have options, it allows us to feel we are in control of the situation, and that also helps us to respond rather than react.

So, if Plan A isn’t working, we can always resort to Plan B.

For example:

If telling your children “play nicely with your sibling” is not working (Plan A), then you can get them to do something different and suggest they both go and sit down away from each other and read a book (Plan B) as an alternative (this is another strategy I suggest in On Track Parenting called How to Use Time and Space to Manage Conflict – Page 91).

This will help you as a parent to practice self-control because you have already thought through the game plan in advance.  And part of your game plan is to resort to Plan B if Plan A is not going the way you want it.


Advanced Decision Making is a learnable skill.

What I encourage you to do is learn the skill for yourself and apply it into your life. Then share the concept with your children.


The first part, in terms of utilising the skill of Advanced Decision Making is to identify different areas you can implement this concept.

Just take a few moments now to come up with ways as to how you can use it in your personal life or how you can use it in your professional life. Because the more you are able to use it, the better you will become with it. 

That’s my tip for today – Advanced Decision Making.

I encourage you to use it.

I encourage you to play with it.

And as parents, you will find if you adopt and embrace this strategy into your life… it will pay dividends in many ways for the rest of your life.

May you have a great day,

Brad Everton

Committed to empowering those connecting with my message through the power of excellent mind tools, tips and strategies.

P.S. Feel free to pass this blog on to anyone who you feel might benefit from it.