Dr. Shanker’s latest article for Psychology Today explains how to talk to a teen when he’s “gone limbic.”
“All too often, we misinterpret what a teen is “saying” because of mindblindness: i.e., we fail to recognize which state the child is in. The truth is that, past a certain age (typically three), we cease to see limbic behaviors for what they are. A form of mindlessness sets in, where we commit the category-error of applying concepts that apply to the rational state to what is, in fact, limbic.
Self-Reg teaches us how to recognize when a teen is in a limbic state and how to respond accordingly. It teaches us how to “speak limbic”: how to interpret the meaning of limbic utterances and how to respond; to reframe what sounds aggressive for what is, in fact, self-defensive. Whether or not the teen’s utterances are “requests” for assistance, they are most certainly indicators of the need for assistance.”