Perhaps the most important reminder for parents …
No matter what behavior they are exhibiting, your child is a great kid who is having a rough time. In this video I will guide you through what to do when behavior seems out of control.
Is it the behavior that’s out of control?
The more accurate way to think about this is that kids are overloaded and dysregulated, which means the current level of demands has exceeded their ability to make sense of them. They can’t manage the discomfort of overwhelm and stress. This happens for kids with diagnoses like ADHD, ASD, anxiety, mood disorders, PANDAS/PANS, etc., as well as kids without a diagnosis. Their behavior is not intentional. Kids don’t wake up deciding to cause problems. Quite the opposite! They want to do well and connect in positive ways. In these moments their cup is overflowing, and they don’t know what to do to get their rational brain back in control.
So what do they need from us?
Understand what’s going on at the root of their reaction – recognize that they are overwhelmed, dysregulated, and unable to manage themselves in that moment.
Provide support and empathy – remind them that they are a good person who is having a rough time.
Set firm boundaries – these provide the guideposts they need to make sense of the world, feel secure, and manage themselves more effectively.
What might this look like?
1. Stay quiet and calm-it shows that you can handle what’s happening.
2. Remind them that you love them, they are a great kid, and you are going to help them.
3. Do what’s needed to keep them and others safe. Remind them that you will always do whatever is necessary for safety.
4. When they start to come back to a more regulated state, focus on something that builds relationship. This is the priority – homework, chores, zoom classes, etc. can wait.
Support and repair
The “magic” for building more healthy resilient brains for kids is in the support and repair when breakdowns happen. Looking at and responding to difficult moments in this way does so much good for their brain development. You’re actually helping their brain form the neural connections needed for strengthening emotional and behavioral regulation.
If you found this video helpful and would like to read more on this topic, here is a blog post full of tips on ways to incorporate a slower pace into your child’s schedule. Over Stimulated is Overrated – Slow Down for Better Behavior. If you’d like to see more video on this topic, head to my Youtube channel or Instagram.
Does this resonate with you? What challenges are you experiencing? Tell me in the comments so I can follow up!