Up and down, over and under, so the roller coaster goes. If you have been there, it can be anxiety-provoking just thinking about it. The Bloom Mindset can help.
When your child (or your boss or partner, that’s right this stuff is great in relationships as well) is riding the roller coaster, it’s important to be steady, remain calm and don’t personalize it. The roller coaster ride is a time for you to help your child with co-regulation, by offering your brain and heart to help your child develop better coping skills.
Life with an intense child is like a ride on a roller coaster, some moments are thrilling, others calm, still others fear-inducing. Intense kids feel so powerfully, they see more, hear more acutely and feel more deeply. Of course, they have to share all of it with you, ’cause life can be just so overwhelming. It’s almost like in their meltdowns and fits they say, “Here Mom, hold this.” Meaning, hold my pain, suffering and overload for a moment while I try to gather myself together. Intensity, pain, grief and anger are easier to hold when you have a solid vessel, a place of understanding in your brain and heart that make meaning and build skills in the moment.
What seems like a behavioral issue to many, the school, your parents, (you know what I’m sayin’) is more likely a problem of brain mediation than willful non-compliance.
“You see, children want to be calm and happy. Evolution encourages children to strive – to live well, be loved and thrive. When children are willful, obstinate, unhappy or anxious, this is not their healthiest or desired state.”
Their behavior and mood signal an imbalance in their body and brain. So how can we help?
Know that the limbic brain is phylogenetically older and in the case of intense kids, momentarily more powerful than the frontal lobes. So plan for those amygdala melt-downs and prepare calming strategies with your child ahead of time. Talk about the times they feel like they are going to lose it and ask them if you can help by offering some pre-planned calming solutions like taking a walk, a bath or a bike ride.
Be a behavioral detective with your child and identify what sensory input soothes him/her best. When the intensity or BIG feelings are ascending does he prefer:
- Vestibular input – rocking, swaying, moving on a large exercise ball.
- Auditory input – consider fully resonant calming music from advancedbraintechnologies or the stories by Lori Lite at stressfreekids.com or the guided meditations at relaxkids.com.
- Proprioceptive input or bone conduction – inTime or Musical Thinking.
Know that food and nutrition matter. Remember, it is not just what you eat but what your body assimilates nutrition that is important. Consider eating 1-2 ounces of whole nutrient-dense food every 2.5-3 hours. Learn more about nutrition and learning via Jan Katzen.
If you need more help see an expert such as a developmental pediatrician, pediatric psychologist or neuropsychologist, occupational therapist, school psychologist or counselor who specializes in cognitive and limbic calming strategies. Meditation, yoga and brain exercises can help increase neuronal connections thus harnessing the power of the Thinker to manage the Caveman.
Intense kids are creative, intelligent and lovable, you just have to plan for the squall…after all living on the coast is beautiful, it just storms sometimes.
Dr. Lynne with Wendy Young who made the super helpful Roller Coaster kids image thank you Wendy:).