Step 2: Set the Temperature

I'm so excited to share some ground-breaking ideas with you in this step. Psychological safety is a key foundational element we need to explore before diving into trouble shooting your child's challenges. Learn how you can find and provide psychological safety, set the right 'temperature' at home and work the 5 steps of self-regulation.


  1. Claudia on July 24, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Thank you for this. We have been in the green zone since March which is when we switched to remote work and school, and it’s been wonderful. This summer has been nothing short of glorious. To see my little guy happy and engaged is truly a gift. But I am definitely feeling anxious about the return to school which is a challenging environment for my son for many reasons. I am aware that it is not the right setting for him but without seeing an alternative yet, we’re going forward with returning to the same school this September. I find myself inching towards the red zone as anticipate my son returning to school. It’s helpful to think of a toolbox as a way to self regulate and it’s always a good reminder to celebrate even the smallest of baby steps.

  2. Mona Kim on June 14, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    This was great thank you these are great 5 steps to remember ( maybe not always easy to do) but easy to go back to when I don’t know what to do. I also wanted to add that my own therapy to address my own triggers has really helped me to be able to that caring adult to be able to provide co-regulatuon for my kids. I’ve had more clarity that because of my own history some of their very normal behaviours would send me into red or blue zones and they would mirror my own red or blue zones and or if they were having their own red blue zone moments and I was triggered by that I wasn’t in a space to recognize or help them …now with my own healing I have more success with being that caring adult who can help my kids with co-regulation leading to regulation and that feels good for all of us.

    • Lauren on June 19, 2020 at 1:04 am

      This is wonderful, Mona! Those mirror neurons are a powerful thing, aren’t they? Kudos to you for being willing to do that work which will enhance co-regulation in the family!
      -Lauren with the B&Q Team

  3. Sarah on February 4, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    So it seems as though my kiddo could have faulty neuroperception. Fortunately we have the base level- food, water, etc. How do you create safety? Any suggestions? #ask

  4. Karina on November 27, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Understanding that I don’t always have to come up with the perfect solution to their problems right when they tell me about them has been huge for me. For some reason it felt like that’s what I was supposed to do, and because I was never sure I had the right solution -because I didn’t- I always ended up second guessing myself and feeling the worst parent ever because I wasn’t sure my solution was the best. I am teaching myself now to be curious about them and their problems, to listen to them, to see them, instead of trying to always be the hero that saves the day. Just by using reflective listening, repeating back to them what they said and then adding “tell me more” has been eye-opening. It has taken a tremendous weight off of everyone’s shoulders, and communication is improving.

    • Lauren on December 5, 2019 at 8:19 pm

      So glad to hear that, Karina! There is magic in that deep listening that goes with “tell me more” – so simple but powerful!
      Lauren with the B&Q Team

  5. Suzanne on November 18, 2019 at 7:13 am

    Thank you….I have learned one of my son’s trigger is me talking about his ASD with him, so I have learned to back away from it. When we saw his therapist, he mentioned that he wants to be like everyone else. So how can I talk to him about his ASD concerns without it impacting all the work I’ve been doing on the connection part?

    For example, for the last year I’ve was the coordinator in trying to get other parents from the Autism Society to see if they were interested in a Teen Social Group as my son doesn’t have any local friends since he goes to a small school.

    Many parents say they were interested but when the time comes there’s always some reason people can’t come. So I decided since my son has found his coaster friends to not do this anymore, so we had the last one this weekend, and he was pretty irate after the event because no one showed up.

    There was another mom who was there (long story) who I connected with over summer who was trying to get the teen group going too. Her 3 ASD sons have all grown up & she used to have a Teen group & is looking for more families to help. Anyways I spent the hour talking to her, so I am thinking that is why my 13 yr old son was very angry too. I did give him my phone to keep him busy with.

    So back to my question, how can I help my son on ASD issues without talking about ASD?

    • Lauren on December 5, 2019 at 8:29 pm

      Sue, for my son I ditch the diagnosis lingo and talk about the solvable problem. For example, “We need to find more people who like doing X. Let’s check out Y event this weekend.” Step 3 is where we evaluate challenges and name the problem. The way I do this is, “Hey, I notice X has been happening a lot lately. I wonder what’s going on? I wonder what’s getting in your way?” It’s really Ross Greene’s CPS, but sometimes it’s me building the motivation for my son to make a change by noticing and naming the struggle.
      Lauren with the B&Q Team

  6. Amy Harris on November 13, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Thank you for reiterating all these things, which I know but need more practice in. I’ve helped her deescalate a few things recently, though, so yay. Baby steps. It’s also been a huge challenge to get my introverted 17 year old to talk. I don’t yet know how to help pull down the stress for a high school senior who has college applications on top of homework. She just doesn’t seem to care about any of it.

    • Lauren on December 5, 2019 at 8:33 pm

      Baby steps for the eventual win! Fall of senior year is a tough one. I have a senior myself, and I am trying to be quiet and do lots of listening, give lots of encouragement, and keep the emotional temperature of the house dialed down as low as possible. Our kids will look a lot different in spring, so hang in there, Mama!
      Lauren with the B&Q Team

  7. B Keever on November 9, 2019 at 8:47 am

    What an important message! I learned that I was triggering my son’s meltdowns by trying to force him to work on spelling and handwriting every day. I thought I could fix his Dyslexia by focusing on extra practice in his areas of difficulty. Then I would escalate the meltdowns by trying to talk logic to a screaming kid. To top it off, I would get upset because he was yelling at me, and he wouldn’t be logical, calm down, and do his school work. My getting upset made him even more upset. Once I saw that what I was doing contributed a lot to these meltdowns, I was able to change my actions. What a huge difference it made! I also found that his meltdowns were not an over-reaction to a single trigger but rather built up over days from lots of small triggers. After figuring all that out, we were able to head off the meltdown by taking a break and switching to a prefered subject when he started to get stressed. Simply planning downtime between stressful or overstimulating events did wonders to help him get back to calm. If meltdowns did happen because of overstimulation, I learned to give him time alone before problem solving.

    My son thought of himself as stupid because he couldn’t do what he felt he should be able to in his school work. Giving him a chance to work on areas of interest helped because he was able to have some successes instead of constant reminders of his disabilities. He doesn’t accept external praise so he had to have ways to prove to himself that he was good at something.

    Now, meltdowns almost never happen, and if they do, they are much shorter and he recovers much faster. He has learned how to see the stress building and has more tools to deal with stress. His self-esteem is higher and he is able to face stress without going over the cliff into meltdown or withdrawl. It takes time and support but kids can learn emotional regulation and it is so important for success in life.

    • Debbie Steinberg-Kuntz on November 11, 2019 at 1:34 pm

      Bobbie, You are doing so many things right here. Big kudos to you! Thanks for sharing your wonderful story! Warmly, Debbie

  8. Juanita Durand on November 4, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Thank you, my daughter is slowly comming to the green zone after a long period in the blue zone. Having these ideas verbalized is very helpful.

    • Lauren on December 5, 2019 at 8:34 pm

      So happy to hear that, Juanita!
      Lauren with the B&Q Team

  9. Andre and Willa on November 4, 2019 at 5:47 am

    I think we as parents really have to work hard on getting ourselves more in green zones too. In our case, Andre and I have been so focused on our son’s needs and just get on with the moments that we have neglected our own psychological safety needs for a decade. So now that a lot of major challenges, like sleep, is behind us – we make time to take time out to feed what needs to be fed to maintain green, not just for our son, but for each one of us 😉 It was good working through this again and be reminded of that, as we fall back into previous decade of son first out of previously needed habit to adopt for a bit, but really no reason now to put our needs last. We should now maintain a balance of all three needs 😉 Going to ask Andre to make time to work through this too (all the steps) so that we reinforce and apply this to each family member. And though we are all three very much laid back in personality types, if we do not maintain the balance our green will turn red, never mind blue, so have work to do! Thank you, Debbie.

    • Debbie Steinberg-Kuntz on November 11, 2019 at 1:36 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Willa. Giving time and space for parents to be in the green zone is so important!

  10. Sabrina on November 3, 2019 at 7:53 am

    Thank you Debbie! All of this is so true. This morning my daughter wanted me to brush her hair, and as I was doing it she started to get really disregulated. I didn’t understand why and I was starting to go into disregulation. She finally said that she wanted me to finish up quickly because she needed to go to the bathroom. Once I understood that, it was easier to move passed the hurt feelings and get us both back on track.

    I often think of the Biblical story of the two Mary’s. One is focused on tasks and the other on relationship. I am very much the task focused Mary and I think it’s hard for me (and most of my family), to see the benefit of being relationship focused, when all we are thinking about is the negative parts of being in relationship with someone else (for example, I want to be tidy, and they place less importance on tidyness, yet, it negatively affects my mindset when things aren’t tidy. Or my eldest daughter struggles to appreciate her younger sister, because her sister just takes her things without asking, or is noisy). I’m working on us valuing relationships more.

    • Debbie Steinberg-Kuntz on November 11, 2019 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Sabrina. Love the story of the two Mary’s!

  11. JENNIFER on November 1, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Thank you! You’ve confirmed my own instincts about how important my child’s emotional and mental health is. My son has an extremely bad experience in 4th grade. I pulled him out and switched schools. But it’s taken almost a year to get him back to almost his old cheerful self.

    • Debbie Steinberg-Kuntz on November 11, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Jennifer, and so glad you’re here with us in the IdeaLab. Please keep us posted on his progress! Warmly, Debbie

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