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To me, so much of the relationship game comes down to “connection before direction.” In other words, the secret sauce when it comes to relationships (with kids especially) is all about regulating first, before you try and teach. The kicker is that connecting is the hardest thing on the planet to do, especially when it’s needed the most. It requires us big people in charge to also have access to our prefrontal cortex, because if we don’t, we lose the skill, insight, and training we’ve acquired to do it well for the babes we love and teach (especially the super hard ones).  

A further hurdle is this connection-first approach flies in the face of all behavioral reason. The consequence/reward model is how so many of us have been taught. And previously, strict behavioral interventions worked so much better in a culture that was connected by proximity to one another. When we widen the physical space between us, it means we pay the cost of co-regulating. Because of that, connect first. And then teach/parent. We’ve long long been taught that consequences must be immediate, and they must “match the crime,” otherwise they will carry no meaning. This is true, when we are talking about dogs or rats; however, this isn’t true when talking about humans. In fact, we can’t make sense of a consequence or be taught a single thing when we’re dysregulated. 

Kids These Days and Kids These Days: The Online Course explore this concept in more depth, along with other critical keys to reconnection. Order your copy today or sign up for the online course at

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