There’s no such thing as a bad kid. That’s what a lifetime of experience has taught Dr. Stuart Shanker. No matter how difficult, out of control, distracted, or exhausted a child might seem, there’s a way forward: self-regulation. Overturning decades of conventional wisdom, this radical new technique allows children and the adults who care for them to regain their composure and peace of mind.
Self-Reg is a groundbreaking book that presents an entirely new understanding of your child’s emotions and behavior and a practical guide for parents to help their kids engage calmly and successfully in learning and life. Grounded in decades of research and working with children and parents by Dr. Shanker, Self-Reg realigns the power of the parent-child relationship for positive change. Self-regulation is the nervous system’s way of responding to stress. We are seeing a generation of children and teens with excessively high levels of stress, and, as a result, an explosion of emotional, social, learning, behavior, and physical health problems. But few parents recognize the “hidden stressors” that their children are struggling with: physiological as well as social and emotional. An entrenched view of child rearing sees our children as lacking self-control or willpower, but the real basis for these problems lies in excessive stress.
Self-regulation can dramatically improve a child’s mood, attention, and concentration. It can help children to feel empathy, and to cultivate the sorts of virtues that most parents know are vital for their child’s long-term wellbeing. Self-regulation brings about profound and lasting transformation that continues throughout life. Dr. Shanker translates decades of his findings from working with children into practical, prescriptive advice for parents, giving them concrete ways to develop their self-regulation skills and teach their children to do the same and engage successfully with life for optimal learning, social, and emotional growth.
About the Author
Dr. Stuart Shanker is a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Psychology at York University, founder of The MEHRIT Centre, and Science Director of the Self-Regulation Institute. He is former president of the Council of Early Child Development and the Council of Human Development. Dr. Shanker attended the University of Toronto and the University of Oxford, where he obtained his B.A., B. Phil and D. Phil. with distinction. His expertise is sought internationally, and he has been an adviser on child development to government organizations across Canada and the United States.
"Though this book takes children's needs as its focus, it is really focused on providing guidance-and even a degree of consolation-to adults as they navigate the often tricky parent-child relationship. Shanker gives readers clear explanations of even the more complex neurological information, such as the role of the limbic system, as well as ample diagrams. And the discussion does not stop at the early childhood stage, moving ultimately into adolescence. If the stressed populations most in need of this book's lessons can find the time to read it, they will appreciate its potential to bring the minds of both parent and child to a state of heightened attentiveness with minimal anxiety." - Publishers Weekly "Comprehensive data backs up a much-tested system that assists parents in getting their children to a calmer state of mind....straightforward and will be useful for any age level." - Kirkus Reviews
"Our digital age is stressful, frantic and over-stimulating. Raising a child today requires an understanding of self-regulation. Self-Reg is a wonderful guide for parents, a way to understand the hidden stressors facing children, and their neurological, psychological, social, and emotional effects. Dr. Shanker helps parents not just to understand the meaning of their child's behavior with compassion, but, just as essentially, how to calm themselves in order to better guide their children toward more positively engaged living." - Catherine Steiner-Adair, Ed. D., author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age
"Capping a lifetime of studying and thinking about children's emotions and behavior, the brilliant Stuart Shanker presents us with this stupendous gift, a true tour-de-force, in which he dismantles and elegantly reassembles, so that the layperson can understand, one of the most complicated mechanisms of the mind: self-regulation. Parents, rejoice! Read this book and you will be able to teach your children (and yourselves!) the practical, immensely valuable, and enormously satisfying skills of self-regulation." - Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder
"Brilliant. In this illuminating and accessible breakthrough book, Stuart Shanker makes a powerful case for understanding children's behavior and misbehavior using the lens of self-regulation. I will never see children in the same way. I recommend Self-Reg to any parent, educator, or mental health professional who wants to understand children at the deepest levels, and who wants a practical technique for helping a stressed-out child feel safe and engaged." - Michael Thompson, author of Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
"Self-Reg is for every parent, educator, and professional who cares for and about children. Dr. Shanker a leading expert in parenting, children, and development, combines decades of theory and practice to teach us about intense and reactive behavior in children in a conversational and understandable way. What's more, he is also teaching all of us about ourselves as human beings wired to think, feel, and react. Reading Self-Reg is like sitting down with Dr. Shanker for a consultation session. This book will transform lives." - Dr. Dan Peters, Ph.D, psychologist, author, and cofounder of ParentFootprint.com and Summit Center