Battling The Back-To-School Brain

By Dr. Bryant Harris

Summer vacation is over and it is time to head back to school! You are looking forward to the kids being out of the house and back into a routine.  Then "IT" hits...the battle, the tantrums, the horror of homework, the "I don't feel good" cop-out, the calls from your child's teacher (or maybe even the principal)!

Battling The Back To School Brain

As the weeks pass the routine that you thought would be life-saving to you go rounds with your child as you try and get them off to school. Taking the bus to school may be out of the question. Homework time is a "free-for-all" and nothing short of wanting to hog-tie your child to the chair in order for them to get their homework done. After spending hours to help them finish their homework (math tends to be the worst - please don't ask me to show my work), they "forget" to turn it in! You try logic and reasoning and goal setting techniques with little positive consequences. Then you resort to disciplinary steps in hopes of changing their behavior and making them "more responsible" for their behavior and turning in their homework. Nope, that does not work either! You then start to question your parenting skills and start to slow descent into "no hope".

So what really is your child telling you by their behavior?

Bottom line is that their brain is in overload and they are using coping and adaptive behaviors in order to compensate for various neurophysiological deficits. This will lead to feeling threatened and inadequate in certain environments and/or with certain academic or motor activities. The human response to such feelings is to run, hide or avoid that which is perceived as a threat.

When this happens, it is like trying to reason with your significant other in the middle of a very heated argument - it just will not happen!

Tools For Success

Knowing your child's triggers and understanding that their behaviors are a cry for help are the first two critical steps in helping them become successful. Working in a team approach fashion to help "decompress" your child's system and build strong neurological pathways will lead to a happier, healthier and more successful child...and adult!

*Written & Adapted from Monika Buerger's "Battling The Back-To-School Brain"