For example, a parent with high personal competence understands exactly why, after a long day with too few snack breaks, they might feel grumpy and short tempered. The parent takes steps to remedy that with a nutritious meal, and then consciously checks the decision-making process to ensure that the grumpiness is not making them more pessimistic or cynical than usual. The parent monitors their tone and responses with the children, reminds themself to be upbeat rather than short with them, and takes a deep breath before reacting if one of them makes a mistake. Similarly, if the parent is in a very good mood and one of the children does something worthy of discipline, the parent does not brush off the incident or ignore the consequences of the mistakes.
The benefits of this parent's emotional self-control are many. For one thing, the children know they can rely on the parent to be level-headed in any scenario and know that they can safely acknowledge their mistakes without getting an irrationally upset response. They know that if the parent is bothered by something unrelated to the task at hand, it will not prevent the parent from doing the best at whatever needs to be done. If the same parent were less emotionally self-aware, that person would be less likely to respond to obstacles in a reasonable way. Instead, the parent’s reaction would be altered by lack of sleep or a bill that came in the mail that day. The parent might displace anger, frustration, or fear onto the children and treat them as if they have knowingly done something wrong or have some looming threat over their heads when, in reality, there is nothing wrong.