How to Help When Your Child’s Not Coping

child not coping

Reading time: 3 minutes

Suitable for: Families of secondary-age children

It's hard when your child's not coping. Emotions have a powerful effect on how children behave. Inside our brains there is a small area called the amygdala (pronounced: “ah-mig-da-la”). This acts like an alarm system. 

When we feel threatened, the amygdala activates the nervous system. Adrenalin and noradrenalin are released into the bloodstream, and our bodies go into "fight-flight-freeze" mode.

We can:

  • Stay and face the threat
  • Run away to safety
  • Freeze and become unresponsive

When some children feel overwhelmed by strong emotions, they can respond physically by being angry and shouting or having meltdowns. Others act out by pushing boundaries or engaging in risky behaviour. Some children appear to shut down, becoming withdrawn or depressed.




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