When you think about using words to co-regulate your child, what words come to mind? (If you read yesterday's post, you'll remember that was the final question I left you with.)
If you're anything like me, you'll probably respond with, "it depends!"
On what your child is saying or doing at the time you need to say something.
But, I would also ask you to consider that, no matter what they say, if you find a way to "agree with them" (to get on the same page with them) and then communicate that agreement to them, you're pretty much. most of the way to helping them regulate their feelings - even the hard ones.
And still, after reading those two posts, you might also say, "There are some statements that are impossible to agree with! Like, if my child says, "I'm stupid!", how could I possibly agree with that and be a good parent?!"
But, I'm betting that if you said something like, 'You're not stupid! I can't believe you'd say such a thing about yourself!" (a completely normal response, I may add!), your child has probably responded with something along the lines of, "You just don't understand!" right before they stormed off.
So, if you can't agree with (or argue with) the content (the text) of what your child has said, what can you say? What can you possibly agree with?
Try finding agreement with the SUBtext. When a child says something self-deprecating, the underlying message is, "I feel really crappy about myself right now.". "Crappy" may mean embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, frustrated, or any number of other emotions. So, in this case, you CAN say, "You sure feel crappy (or other more appropriate emotion) right now. That's a really tough place to be." This response offers statements that are true, speak to the underlying message of a self-deprecating comment, AND communicate understanding for your child's present moment experience - they feel crappy!
What might you hear back if you spoke to the subtext of their words rather than the text?