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New Approach to Parental Control Improves Child Behavior

by B. Bryan Post PhD, LCSW


(NC)-Stress in the parent-child interaction may originate either with the parent or with the child - or in both - but it is the responsibility of the parent to rebalance the emotional see-saw. Finding the way back to a harmonious interaction requires the parent's awareness of their own emotional state. The only way to create a regulated environment is to constantly be asking ourselves, as parents, "How do I feel"?"

Understanding our own parental fears allows us to express our love for our children in a way that is not threatening to them and that helps them to de-escalate their anger, fear, and stress. The Bible says, "There is no fear in love, but Perfect love cast out all fear." This understanding is at the center of a parenting model I call "Family Centered Regulatory Parenting". In a nutshell, Family Centered Regulatory Parenting relies on two principles: (1) that the only basic emotions are fear and love, and that anger represents a defensive outlet for fear but really derives from failure to regulate stress, and (2) that the parent in the home must bear the responsibility for creating an environment in which stress, while unavoidable, does not create constant tension or crisis.

A farmer must first understand the environment needed for her crops to flourish, and then must go about creating it. Understanding that our children are immersing themselves in computers and television due to unexpressed fear - is the first step parents can take in examining themselves, their family, and the environment they are creating for their children. Parents have the responsibility and the ability to foster the environment necessary to calm the state of stress their child may be experiencing.

How might the busy parent begin?

First, relax yourself. Make certain you are not passing along the stress of a busy day to your child. Second, present a calm and supportive emotional demeanor to your child. Naturally join him in what he is engaged in without expectations. Observe quietly and give your child an opportunity to invite you into his world. Finally, doing these things in the context of the home and family allows you to regulate not only his environment, but the larger environment which consists of the interactive space between the two of you.

B. Bryan Post PhD, LCSW, author, speaker, and attachment and trauma expert is the founder of the Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy. To download a FREE copy of Dr. Post's parenting book visit:



Wed, Jul 23, 2008 12:12pm

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