The acronym is A.T.T.U.N.E.: Awareness, Turning toward, Tolerance, Understanding, Non-Defensive Responding, Empathy.
Gottman says, "Bonding created by turning toward any negative affect and fully processing conflict and failures to connect... has the power to create trust."
That is exactly how parents need to build trust — by engaging their challenging children with the A.T.T.U.N.E. principles.
If you are gasping for air right now because living those principles in relation to your family would be impossibly monumental, then let me count to three and we can all collectively gasp together. There are so many days when parents of challenging children think we have climbed Mount Everest and back because we simply resisted losing our temper. Some days it is a fine line, isn’t it? Let’s be honest.
What I know is that A.T.T.U.N.E. principles, as a daily practice, will make the days easier. The challenges won't magically disappear, but they will seem less daunting when your heart and mind focus in a concerted effort to stay in a secure state of attunement.
When your child is engaging in extreme negative emotion — also known as dysregulation — be aware that his brain is in a neuro-biological, chemical cascade and your brain is, too, in response. For a start, breathe to soothe yourself. Just breathe.
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