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Mom explains how parents can handle kids unraveling after coming back from school due to stress

The mother and child therapist explains how the stress of school causes children to act out at home and how they can be given a safe space and outlet by parents.

Mom explains how parents can handle kids unraveling after coming back from school due to stress
Cover Image Source: TikTok/ @mindfulasamother

Going to school is always a difficult step in the process of growing up. Children have to go from the warmth of their home to an environment where they have to socialize and may not be the center of attention. They are also encouraged to always put their best foot forward in that environment which might result in different behavioral patterns. But sometimes these patterns are distinct like day and night, at home and at school, which raises a lot of doubts within parents. Fret not, as @mindfulasamother is here to explain in detail about this contrasting behavior, and how parents can support their children through such a phase.

Representative Image Source: Pexels/Photo by Kindel Media
Representative Image Source: Pexels/Photo by Kindel Media

@mindfulasamother calls this entire phenomenon “restraint collapse” or “after-school restraint collapse.” As per care.com, Restrain Collapse was a term coined by parenting expert Andrea Loewen Nair. This occurs when children after controlling their mood, desires and tendencies all day at an institution like school in order to fit in, come home or arrive at a safe space and begin to unravel. This unraveling could result in them behaving as per their whims or becoming cranky. They do this because they know there will be no negative consequence per se of their behavior, and they will be responded to with love. In most cases, it happens with parents because children feel most protected with them.

Image Source: TikTok/ @mindfulasamother
Image Source: TikTok/ @mindfulasamother

In her now-viral video, child therapist Lindsay Adams explains to parents how their children do not have a split personality disorder when they reflect such behavioral patterns. It is just that they are giving their hard parts to their parents while their most well-behaved version is what their teachers get. Adams says in the video, "They are on their best behavior or masking or whatever words you want to use for it, keeping their feelings in all day at school. They come home. They take off their backpack and all their big feelings fall out of it." They feel exhausted with the pressure of school and want to unwind which causes them to display erratic behavior.

Image Source: TikTok/ @mindfulasamother
Image Source: TikTok/ @mindfulasamother

In front of parents, they can get emotional or irritated as a way to decompress. All of these patterns are just a way they deal with constantly having to suppress themselves and fit into the limits posed by institutions like schools. They are not prepared for the regulatory lifestyle academic life brings for students. Therefore, they appear to be a model student in front of teachers but became a source of headache for their parents at 3 am. It is their way of dealing with the stress they endure during the day. This happens because most children are not prepared for the transition to such an orderly environment. Adams suggests to the parents in the video, "Plan for the transition. Know what they struggle with at that time of day and set them up for success. Structure their day in a way that allows them to do a calming or coping activity right when they get home or do a physical activity right when they get home."

In the video, Adams gives suggestions on how to curb the restraint collapse. She suggests that parents fill the schedule of their children with activities that can help them decompress. She additionally warns parents to not lose their cool, especially in the early days. "Be patient with them for the first few weeks while they're adjusting because it's always going to happen, but it's probably going to be more intense during transition periods where they're getting used to going to school," she says.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Paige&Linds (@mindfulasamotherpodcast)


 

Adams then asks parents to add activities that are complimentary to the needs of their children. She talks about her own son for whom she arranged for a "downtime" where he does not get involved in any physical activity to wade off "Restrain Collapse." She suggests introducing an activity between school and home to break up the transition. "It could even be just going outside and hanging out outside, doing chalk, doing something creative. Really the things you wanna focus on are creativity, sensory stuff, and physical activity," she shared.

Image Source: TikTok/ @gassyqueen265
Image Source: TikTok/ @gassyqueen265

 

Image Source: TikTok/ @baked_kimberlays
Image Source: TikTok/ @baked_kimberlays

The comment section wholeheartedly agreed with Adams and her suggestions. @hanginwithmrs.cooper believes that schools put undue pressure on children. "This is why, after being at school for 7hrs., homework is unnecessary. They need time for creativity and phy activities! And downtime," they commented. @kimbotkim added: "And also have a snack and water in the car at pickup! They rarely eat enough the first few weeks."

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