Self-regulation in Teens

Parent self-regulation

Responding calmly helps us to model self-regulation, while also preventing escalation of emotions and behaviours.

Take note of your own thoughts, feelings and reactions during stressful interactions with your adolescent.

Use strategies to calm yourself, and to respond effectively and compassionately to others.


Show your teen that you care by recognising and responding to their signals and needs.

Provide care and love in times of distress, and show interest in their world.

Model self-regulation, provide instruction, prompt reflective conversation and provide reinforcement.

Don’t try to reason with your teen while they are experiencing a big emotion. Connect and regulate first, reason later!

Structure the Environment

Try to provide a buffer against environmental stressors and ensure a physically and emotionally safe environment for teenagers. Know and manage their technology and social media use.

Get to Know your Teen’s Triggers

It is important become aware of your teen’s mood fluctuations. Consider their mood changes, and try to notice if something may have triggered their emotional response.

Validating Emotions

Validating feelings means acknowledging feelings, and allowing your teenager to feel their emotions without trying to ‘fix it’ by offering advice or solutions. It also means not dismissing the feelings of our children.

Sometimes it can feel harder to validate certain feelings, such as anger. In these cases, it is important to remember that we can validate the feeling, but not necessarily the action or behaviour.

The Basics: Eat, sleep, exercise

These seem like simple things but this does not take away from their importance and influence on your teen’s mood and self-regulation abilities. Therefore, it is important to consider whether your teenager is eating a nutritious diet, getting enough exercise and time outdoors, and sleeping well.