When your first child starts school or pre-school, emotions can run high. For many it is often the first time that the parent and child will be apart for long periods. While, on the one hand you’ll be swelling up with pride, you might also feel guilty and worried that you are not there to mind them if they get upset. It can seem cruel to be sending your little loved one into the unknown. The process is often tougher for the parents!
Usually after the first week or two the child settles into a routine and everyone breathes a sign of relief as the transition is complete. It’s a lovely thing to see your child making friends and growing in confidence in new ways.
But for some kids the transition is not easy. They may find being away from Mom or Dad too hard and some can become extremely upset. Often children will cling on to Mom, sobbing in anguish as they refuse to let Mom leave. This leaves everyone distraught and feeling terrible. The child is traumatised, so too are the parents and teachers are helpless. So what can you do to help this type of child? Do they just have to toughen up?
Why do some children find starting school so much more difficult that others?
I’ve worked with a lot of children in my kinesiology practice. Very often I meet children from the same family with completely different emotional abilities / personalities. Some are calm and steady while others are emotionally volatile and can easily become upset. Sometimes this just comes down to genetics and as a parent you just have to learn how to figure out each child and encourage them in ways that suit them best. In short, as all parents know, no two children are the same. Being a good parent means your on that journey of trying to figure it all out. It’s an unending learning process that takes time, patience and energy but it’s worth it.
But sometimes no matter how well the parents prepare the child, the child can’t seem to cope with the transition into school life. In my experience there is usually a trigger behind this type of emotional reactivity. What I consistently find in assessing these children is that a trauma, either physical or emotional has occurred at some time in their lives and their anxiety levels are high as a result. Very often birth trauma, such as C-section, forceps delivery etc. can be a contributing factor. There is a growing body of research in this area.
Some children can be a bit more emotionally sensitive in their makeup. And they are more susceptible to anxiety from trauma. The good thing for these ‘sensitive’ kids is that kinesiology tends to work well on them.
How does kinesiology help a child that is struggling to start school?
Kinesiology is a therapy system that uses Chinese medicine techniques such as acupressure (no needles) to balance or calm emotions. The important thing to understand about the child struggling to start school, is that they are feeling emotionally overwhelmed and they cannot suppress or inhibit those feelings like other children can. Why not? Fundamentally these children just don’t feel as safe as other children. And the reason for this is often that at some point in their lives they got a shock or felt significantly threatened. If these shocks have happened in very early life there is no conscious memory – but there can be a subconscious memory. It’s as if the body remembers.
One of the keys to figuring out how to help them is to assess them for retained primitive reflexes. Primitive reflexes are built into all of our bodies and relate to basic survival responses. The fight / flight and freeze responses are involuntary and ‘switch on’ when we are threatened. Many children who become easily upset or find starting school really difficult have a retained reflex and this keeps them ‘stuck’ in this state of heightened fear. You cannot feel safe and be in fight / flight at the same time. For these children the primitive brain is sending signals through the body to stay in high alert. So before they ever go to school they are already frightened. Therefore the challenge of school with all its new variables is too much and the child just does not feel safe and inevitably reacts.
Having worked with hundreds of children with anxiety and related emotional issues in my kinesiology practice I have found that the child who finds starting school really challenging, simply does not feel as safe as the children who has no problem with it.
Previous traumas can create excess fear in the body keeping the child stuck in fear. The emotional reactions from the child are often triggered by these traumas and when these ‘trauma’ emotions are balanced the child settles down. Techniques which sedate our body’s primitive reflexes help the child to feel fully safe again and with this restored feeling they are better able to deal with all the challenges that growing up brings.
The kinesiology treatment process is gentle and non-invasive. Very often one or 2 sessions are enough to balance out their emotions.