School is a great place to be, with friends, learn new things, and have new opportunities. For some children, it’s a stressful place to be. It can be overstimulating, or under stimulating, anxiety-provoking, or a reminder that they don’t seem to fit in. Each child will have a different perspective of their day and that can change as the day changes. Emotions evoke behavior, sometimes they shut down and sometimes they act out. When they have a huge checklist of triggers throughout their day how they respond can change. The children that explode get the most attention. We know they are distressed; they usually get attended to quicker. The children that can cause a parent even more stress is the child that keeps it all bottled up. This is the story of many parents I work worth. They try and have a conversation with their child and teen only to get a shoulder shrug, “I don’t know” or they won’t say anything at all. You can’t force someone to talk, but it’s not healthy to keep it in either. When they keep the emotions to themselves it’s their coping. They are trying to protect themselves from their emotions. Eventually that emotion comes out and it’s BIG!

After-school restraint collapse

This is the after-school meltdown that you witness, from a whole day of masking their symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, agitation, overwhelm, Tics etc. Many parents can relate to a child that masks all day and unloads on them at home. This is particularly difficult when the school or daycare don’t see the same behaviors you are seeing at home. In order to get a diagnosis for ADHD for example they want you to see the same behaviors for at least six months at home and at school. The parent and teacher have to fill out a form/checklist to review the symptoms and behaviors they are seeing. If the teachers not seeing the behaviors, it’s hard to get the paperwork filled out to take the next steps.

The behavior is telling you something. It’s saying I’m having a hard time. Many adults smile through the day but struggle when they are alone. This cycle needs to be stopped in our children. We have to dig a little deeper to understand what is going on. We need to better understand what is triggering them at school and how can they turn the volume down on their emotions with helpful coping strategies while they are at school. (I have a whole module on emotional regulation in both of my parenting programs listed below)

Read more about this topic of after-school restraint collapse his article I’m featured in For Parents Canada Magazine:

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