We really don’t say those words out loud, but often our behaviors get our meaning across quite clearly. We have to deal with so many complex and difficult situations that we just grow tired of “self-regulation.” Don’t you just want to throw a good old fashioned temper tantrum sometimes? But learning how to pause, “count to ten,” and consider alternatives is critical if we are to maintain a civil society.
The camp experience is a wonderful vehicle to help kids use their brains to practice “self-regulation.” Every time we are exposed to a new situation, we experience a low-level stress response. As parents and educators, it is our job to expose kids to new situations in safe and responsive settings so they can learn to manage feelings of discomfort without getting angry, fearful, dismissive, or even by becoming a bully. Discomfort is not necessarily a bad thing; rather, it’s an opportunity to learn.