Our Kids’ Body/Brain Connection and Understanding Their Strong Emotions
Opposition, aggression, tantrums, or defiance?! It’s sooo easy to see a child’s behavior and react without noticing what lies underneath the surface. Dr. Dan Siegel coined the phrase “flipping your lid.” Huh???
Under some stressful circumstances, the prefrontal cortex or “lid”
(the part of the brain in charge of memory, organization, and impulse control)
is no longer able to manage the limbic system’s arousal
(the part of the brain responsible for fight, flight, or freeze).
That’s when our kids (and us, sometimes, if we’re being honest here…) “flip their lid.” The result?
- the brain’s signals get all mixed up
- communication is affected
- behavior can quickly become challenging
Dr. Stuart Shanker, who created the Self-Reg framework for learning self-regulation, advocates for parents and teachers to become “stress detectives.” In this role, we dig deeper, not just scratching the surface of challenging behavior but truly examining the environment, the social and prosocial demands, and each child’s innate biological needs. As Dr. Shanker states, “See a child differently, you see a different child.”
We love the Hand/Brain model created by Dr. Siegel, now used by many respected scientists and child psychologists. The model is easy for children and parents to make sense of. To better understand what happens to your child’s brain and body while under excessive stress, this video sums it up in a creative, super visual way. Enjoy!