Positive discipline nurtures emotional intelligence better than punishment yet most adults were raised with punitive measures. Because positive discipline was not modeled for us, as parents, we have the science, but we lack the skills. This means we are teaching our children concepts that were not taught to us, namely to notice, name, and share our emotions and choose strategies to override our reactive brain to access our learning brain.
This was the case for Kevin. As a supervisor for the federal government and dad of two daughters, ages seven and six, he and his wife were looking for tools to help their children understand and manage their emotions. “Our oldest daughter went from zero to 100 in a blink of an eye and our youngest struggled with emotional outbursts. My wife is the genius who came across Generation Mindful in search of mental health tools for our family.”
Kevin shares that he and his wife purchased GENM’s Time-In ToolKit. “We set up a Calming Corner in our home, and when we became intentional and deliberate with our rituals within the space, it became a safe place that our girls could go to process and regulate their emotions. And they actually wanted to go, not just when having a hard time, but just to hang.”
Kevin and his wife realized that in teaching their children about emotions, they were growing too. “We knew we had unlearning to do based upon our upbringings. These tools are for us just as much as they are for our girls. We are teaching them something that was never taught to us and so we are all in this together.”
“I am a big believer in mental wellness,” says Kevin, “and the pandemic has shown me, even more, why it is important to have available tools like the ToolKit. Emotions are natural yet many of us were taught to ignore or suppress them. In fact, as an almost 40-year-old African American male, I can tell you that this is one aspect of my life I am trying to embrace - that all humans, female and male - are allowed to feel. Society tells men that we don’t cry and to toughen up. But I want young children to know that emotions are natural, and learning what to do with them is a skill just like all other life skills.”
Using what he learned at home with his girls, Kevin was able to integrate those skills into other relationships, including those at work. One day, he noticed an employee having a heated moment - miscommunication that led to frustration - and so Kevin quickly adapted some of the foundations of the ToolKit. “I asked my co-worker, who was quite upset, to come to my office. Sometimes work can be fast pace and I felt that I needed to get the employee out of the contentious environment where the frustration was stemming from. This reminded me of the reason we built the Calming Corner for our girls - so they could have a place to notice their emotions and calm.”
Kevin continues, “Once the employee was in a different setting, I simply asked him what he was feeling. I didn’t focus on the event that occurred. I realized through my listening that this member was under mounting stress and it led to a reactionary mindset. I focused my questions to help him work through his emotions safely. This is something I learned from the GENM tools. And I figured, hey, this is working for my girls so why wouldn’t I try it in other areas of my life?!”
When we learn emotional regulation through our parenting, we are able to internalize the learning and it allows us to share with others. This is what Kevin has done here. In his search to help his daughters in their emotional process, he not only gave tools to his inner child but he was able to connect with another man to validate and regulate. This is the intention of the ToolKit. It’s multigenerational. So, if you find that you are getting as much out of parenting as your kids, it’s not by accident. It’s by design.