Self-Reg - How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life

ISBN 9780143191575

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By Dr Stuart Shanker 

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 behaviour 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, behaviour, 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 seesour 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.

Softcover, 322 pages.

Penguin Random House.

Read an excerpt here.


About the Author:

Dr. Stuart Shanker is a distinguished research professor emeritus of philosophy and psychology at York University and the creator of The MEHRIT Centre. He is a former president of the Council of Early Child Development. Dr. Shanker attended the University of Toronto, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees. At the University of Oxford, he obtained his D. Phil. with distinction in philosophy. His expertise has been sought internationally, and he has been an adviser on early child development to government organizations across Canada and the United States in addition to Australia, Bosnia, Colombia, England, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Northern Ireland,Peru, Romania, and Serbia.



“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