If you’re looking for “life-changing” parenting tips, Drew Barrymore’s got you covered with advice she learned through a parenting book. As all parents know, kids come with some really big feelings, and one of the hardest parts about dealing with that is knowing when to step in, and how to regulate your own big feelings in reaction toward your child’s.
Per TODAY, Barrymore had Aliza Pressman, a psychologist, parenting expert, and author of the book “The Five Principles of Parenting” on her show on Jan. 23, and she expressed extreme gratitude for her guest and shared how one particular tip in her book changed her life as a parent forever.
Our evolutionary instinct as parents is when our kid is upset about something, we immediately want to make it better and to fix it. Barrymore shared that her daughter Olive was going through a phase years ago, where she would get incredibly upset and Barrymore would immediately try to go to Olive to make it better. When Barrymore would attempt to chase after Olive, her daughter would either run away or become reactionary. “I didn’t understand it,” she said.
But through the advice in Aliza’s book, Barrymore realized that chasing after Olive and trying to fix her big feelings immediately wasn’t doing anyone any favors. “Either way was like the two extremes of no goodness, and Aliza taught me to regulate myself,” Barrymore said.
She then shared that she took Aliza’s advice of learning to leave when big feelings happen to give her daughter space, and then taking that time to regulate her own emotions before handling the situation. Barrymore said by following this advice she “got the best results” she’s ever gotten when it came to parenting, and it was something she had never considered doing before.
Aliza responded, “I think we get so scared of the big feelings that we want to fix them. And we’re chasing them.”
“Yes!” Barrymore shouted. “I was literally chasing her!”
Aliza added “We are afraid of feelings. And feelings aren’t dangerous.” As adults, being able to regulate ourselves first and say, “Okay, I’m not being chased by a bear” is crucial. It’s not an emergency situation, it’s just a feeling, she said.
Aliza related this behavior and response technique to the weather. “But we need our kids to know how to dress for the weather and not try to control the weather. Because we can’t. So, better they understand how to have the feelings and know that they are survivable and that we are not shaken,” she said.
You know that saying about putting your mask on first in the event of an airplane crash before helping others? This goes for parenting, too. Make sure you’re grounded first and let your kid feel their feelings before jumping in and trying to fix everything. Hard to do because it’s ingrained in us as parents to want to fix everything and we don’t want our kids to be uncomfortable, but the amount of learning from both sides—parents and kids—is crucial when it comes to handling big feelings and disappointment.