There’s no such thing as a bad kid. That’s what a lifetime of experience has taught internationally celebrated research professor 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.
STUART SHANKER is Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at York University in Toronto. He is Science Director of the Canadian Self-Regulation Initiative, a three-year comprehensive initiative supported by the Ministries of Education in British Columbia and the Yukon to incorporate his five-domain model throughout the public school system, and in teacher and parent education. He was educated at the University of Toronto, where he won several awards, including a scholarship to study at Oxford. He lives in Ontario.
A career journalist and seasoned book collaborator, TERESA BARKER was co-writer of The New York Times bestseller Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, and has co-written more than a dozen published titles in the fields of parenting and child development, education, adult psychology, creativity and aging, personal growth, and healing. Her most recent collaboration, The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age with author Catherine Steiner-Adair, received a starred review in Publishers Weekly.
“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