Heart pounding, hands sweaty, jaw tension...it all kicked in whenever I would recall a specific memory of a traumatic event with my child.
And that memory would sometimes be triggered at the most inopportune moments.
Gaining freedom from this intense reaction changed my path.
It was the defining moment of realizing I needed to bring this work to others and share one of the best tools I have in my toolbox.
Our memories are more than just images, they are made up of thoughts, feelings, and body (and other) sensations.
We hold onto them for the purpose of learning and survival. Yet, we don’t need them to have a stronghold on us.
Our sense of smell is the only inroad to the limbic system where we store our memories and we are able to tap into it with the support of essential oils and reconsolidate the way the memories are stored.
Gently going through the steps of an Aroma Freedom session gifted me the ability to now recall the memory without the negativity or miserable physical responses.
It's opened up the doors for me to create new pathways for more positive perspectives and directions related to the memory.
How could I not learn how to help others be free!?
And support them in creating goals and intentions for their future!
60 seconds...the most dynamic simple process can be done in 60 seconds to flip the switch on that part of your brain that sends you into “fight, flight or freeze”
How helpful would that be for you or your teens!!?
Mamas, we need tools in our tool boxes!
Tools we can use on the spot and tools to help clear past messes and pave the way for future possibilities.
Let’s chat about how I can support you. I offer free 15 minute consults so you can ask all the questions!
Sign up HERE to get all the info and take the opportunity to schedule time with me!
Also, join my resilientAf midlife mamas Facebook group for more mama tools and occasional free group Aroma Freedom sessions.
Impulsivity is a HOT TOPIC!
Inhibition is the executive function skill that allows one to stop their behavior, actions, and/or thoughts at the appropriate time. Impulsivity is the lack of inhibition.
That's all it means! So what does this look like?
not following directions
inconsistent performance on tasks
touching things... other people's things.. other people
restlessness or other active behaviors
difficulty turn-taking and waiting
Let’s talk strategy!
Teach them to take a breath, pause, process- even just a few seconds before responding.
Process time is so important for building this skill.
This is for those that are raising their hands before the question has been asked, or responding before communication is completed.
I love this traffic light graphic for teaching this concept.
Taking the time to verbalize the questions and create a plan is incredibly powerful.
For teens, impulsivity can have significant consequences, learning this skill to apply everywhere in their lives is critical.
Provide visual options such as a text, a note, posting on the wall, or writing on the board. Visually processing can slow down the impulsivity. Provide clear expectations and reminders.
It also helps support working memory, planning and organization.
As parents (and/or teachers) we don’t want to hover!
That said, for some students it's helpful to have someone nearby. For example, with remote schooling right now, I hear many parents concerned about limited focus and attention, which leads to impulsive behaviors.
Co-working can be highly supportive. The student is on the computer doing their classes and the parent is in the same room on the computer doing their work.
In a classroom students can be strategically placed in the front row and/or they may have an aide or a resource room teacher in the classroom.
Monitoring isn’t about squashing the behaviors, it’s about redirecting the energy.
When my kids were younger I learned about the importance of focusing on their positive behaviors. Admittedly, this has been one of my biggest struggles. This is where my impulsivity appeared...the negative behaviors always seemed to be illuminated and right in front of my face.
When we seek, focus and acknowledge the positive behaviors we are also helping build inhibition.
Emotional regulation is a sensitive topic for me.
As a pediatric speech language pathologist, I knew about executive function. I worked with younger kids so I wasn’t as tuned into it for the older kids. I also didn’t fully understand the emotional regulation behavioral component.
While in the thick of raising my kids I didn’t acknowledge and comprehend how our nervous systems co-regulate.
Lots of stuff I didn’t know that I didn’t know!
I’ve done the emotional work to release myself from the guilt of not knowing, of not doing better or different. I chose to educate myself and share with others, so other families might escape the trauma.
Emotional regulation is when it's difficult to redirect and refocus when there's a lack of emotional control. This is when we see meltdowns, tantrums, cursing, extreme crying or extreme laughter. Typically unpredictable emotional responses that are out of sync with the situation at hand.
Emotional regulation also involves co-regulation so if a parent is struggling with their own emotional regulation then they feed off of each other. For example, if Mom is really stressed out then the kid gets really stressed out. These kids are not able to not take in what is happening in their environment. Basically our nervous systems are bouncing off of each other and it's a chicken and egg thing.
One way to explain the emotional regulation is polyvagal theory as shown in this image:
Another take on it is the “window of tolerance” as in this image:
Five strategies that can be used to support teens at home and at school:
Supporting them in being aware of their outbursts and the consequences of having them on their surroundings.
Being aware of stressful situations at home and/or in school.
Clarifying expectations to reduce their feelings of overwhelm.
Creating a safe and supportive environment that fosters empathy.
Using scales to help them monitor where they are emotionally or may be heading as things escalate.
We can all widen our window of tolerance by practicing mindfulness, increasing happiness, and building resilience.
**so much more on this topic coming soon!
Organization is also about planning and time management, a bunch of executive function skills that overlap and play off each other. Organization is reliant upon visual memory and spatial skills so things like color coding, labeling, checklists, schedules all supports that are prominent. These tips are simply scratching the surface. Each area can dig deeper into personalization for person and setting.
Everything has it's home: Where does the backpack or school bin live when not in use? What should be in it? Create a list. What shouldn’t be in it? Need to clear it out every time it gets parked. Within the backpack, a folder for physical homework that needs turning in so it doesn't get crumpled up and lost in the bottom.
De-clutter! Get all the stuff out that isn’t meant to be in the drawers or on the surface. Create a clear space with functional drawers and for some it is helpful to label the drawers so it’s clear what should be in them.
I’ll drop in here that de-cluttering and organizing their bedrooms is important, they don’t know how to reign it in on their own. “Clean your room!” won’t work here. Help them to sort, categorize, and organize creating a home for everything.
Don't ignore the digital clutter: Seriously, I would love for you to all send me pics of your desktops...I would imagine many of us are guilty. It’s so easy since it doesn’t take up much space, and most of the time nobody else sees it.
Clearing the junk and setting up systems digitally is critical! Use the Chrome Bookmark bar to save all the places they need to go in labeled folders so they can easily find them. Take the time to unsubscribe from the junk mail. There are services out there to help with this!
Planners...I need two more blogs to really break down planners! Planners support working memory, kids should always have their planners handy so they can check in and stay on track. Time management is another executive function skill that is supported with learning to break up the day into chunks and being present to how long tasks realistically take. Create a system within the planner to capture assignments, manage homework, and time manage larger projects and studying for tests.
Digital planners are a preference for many, they can have them on their phones and their computers, can personalize them for what they need, and it’s a self contained tool. Lots of cool options available.
In our home we use Trello boards on the computer and phone. I’ve created a course that instructs how to use the boards and includes prepared boards so you can jump right in and get started! I designed it with mamas in mind, to scaffold the entire family, not just the kids! Learn more here!
Take care of you! Join resilientAF midlife mamas on Facebook!
To read the first 3 parts of this series: