Barbara Roberts, Homeopath

After School Meltdowns

I periodically ask for ideas that people would like me to write about, and this is one that came up a while ago – “after school restraint collapse”. 

This is a really common phenomenon. Children go to school all day, hold it together, then get home and lose the plot. It can be emotional breakdowns with tears, it may be anger or rage, and typically it will be the smallest thing, maybe something irrational, that sets them off – the nectarines are white and they wanted yellow, or their sibling opened the door and they wanted to, or something else that seems, to an outsider, to be totally ridiculous. 

What you are seeing here though, has nothing to do with nectarines or opening the door. Instead it has to do with the pressure cooker of everything that happens at school – when they have fewer choices (sometimes not any) about what they do, there are expectations for behaviour, there are other children to navigate relationships with, and a whole lot of concentration involved in learning. It’s away from home and if they have a meltdown they don’t know how it will be received- so they shove the emotions down into the pot, which is under more and more pressure with every thing that bothers them, until they get home and the pressure cooker explodes. 

It’s tough being their safe space, and dealing with all the emotions that then come up. With multiple children you’re also navigating how the others are feeling and sometimes holding space for them also. 

Can Homeopathy help? Absolutely. Homeopathy supports each individual to increase their resilience, but before we talk about that let’s discuss some other things. 

Give them time and space after school to decompress. Feed them as hunger makes everything worse. 

Try to identify what is triggering them- is it noise, is it changes in routine, is there something they are eating or something else? When you have done this, minimise as many triggers at home before and after school as possible. 

Talk to the school – start with your child’s teacher, explain what is happening and that it is overwhelm. Discuss some of the triggers you have identified and ask for help managing triggers at school. If those triggers are not hit at school then they won’t be holding as much in to explode outwards when they get home. 

It may seem obvious to some, but talk to your child when things are calm. Reassure them that you love them, ask them what they notice about what is happening and anything that could help. 

If the behaviour is triggering anything in you, make sure you also check in on what is happening for yourself. Do you need support also? 

When you come to Homeopathy with a child having these experiences, there is absolutely no judgement. We are not labelling the child or judging the parenting. As a Homeopath I need to know what is happening, in terms of behaviour, reactions, triggers, and the response after calming down again. Sometimes it is not appropriate to talk about this in front of the child – and that is okay, we can do a two part consult, and meet the child separately to find out about the other things – what they like to do, friends, food, and anything else. 

I could not make this a therapeutics post, because it is deep and I cannot sum up these experiences in 1-2 sentences for a remedy. Instead, what I am offering here is compassion – I see you, and I would like to send love and space to both you and your child. If you would like to explore what homeopathy can do for you and your child, please contact me, or your local homeopath. 

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