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The '3 Rs' of Parenting

By Thomas and Hannah Luttrell

Bruce Perry, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, recommends the non-traditional “3 Rs” method to help children—especially those who are highly sensitive or neurodiverse—learn, think and reflect during difficult situations.

Regulate: Many parents try to reason with their children when they are already “unregulated”—unable to control their emotions. This can be due to being tired, anxious, fearful or hungry. The first thing parents need to do is help their child control their emotions. They can model this by not reacting in anger. Parents may need to remove the child from an overstimulating environment or immediately address their underlying physical need.

Relate: Parents should remind their children that they love them unconditionally. Sometimes a child simply needs a hug. Withholding affection will only draw out the conflict longer.

Reason: After parents help calm the child down and meet their relational needs, only then can the child be reasoned with. Explaining things to children is always better than demanding they obey “because I told you so.”

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