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What is Self – Regulation and How it Can Help Your Teen

By April 7, 2014No Comments

What is Self-Regulation and How Can It Help My Teen?

Self regulation, sometimes called executive function teaches young people to be mindful, thoughtful, and intentional in their behavior. It refers to the capacity to control one’s actions. A self regulated teen can start doing something when it is necessary, even if he or she is unwilling to do it. Self regulation will also enable a teen to stop doing something if needed, even if the teen feels like continuing with it.

Self regulation should not be confused with obedience. A self regulated teen will behave in a similar manner in the presence or absence of an adult. When they choose to stop doing something they shouldn’t do, they are not resisting to impress anyone, but because they fully understand the consequences of their actions.

Self regulation can be applied in social life as well as in cognitive behaviors such as when remembering or paying attention. Interestingly, teens who are able to control their behavior at an early age are more successful in following the teacher’s instruction when they go to school.

Benefits of Self Regulation in Teens

  • Development of a strong identity – teens who exhibit high levels of self regulation have an increased probability of developing a strong identity, a factor that is closely associated with well-being. This well-being enables them to develop intimate relationships more easily.
  • Performance in class – teens with low self regulation are unlikely to be as successful in their studies compared to their self regulated counterparts. Indeed, teachers report that self regulation ranks higher than entry level reading, math skills, or even IQ when it comes to school readiness.  The two facets of self regulation will both help the teen while at school. Social-emotional self-regulation ensures that kids are comfortable with rules and thrive in various social contexts such as one-to-one sessions and group learning. The cognitive aspect of self regulation allows them to use and further develop the cognitive skills necessary for problem solving.


Self regulation is best developed from an early age though it has to be continually nurtured into early adulthood.

Click below for more information on self regulation.

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