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Kids with emotional or behavior problems? How schools can help.

A few years ago, I walked into an elementary school and in the knick of time, dodged a chair that was being tossed by a young child. Here was a little girl, so angry and desperate and completely unresponsive to the commands of the adults around her.

This is but one example, one child, one school of many who are struggling. Let’s talk about why out of control behaviors and, emotional regulation disorders appear to be increasing in children.

It’s stress, folks. Many of us don’t consider that children experience stress, but they do. Getting up and going to school, doing homework, meeting new friends can be stressful in the lives of children. These are ordinary events and not the type of stress that contributes to behavior and emotional problems. We’re talking about stress that is related to traumatic events and ongoing. Examples of this include poverty, unstable living arrangements, parental divorce, neighborhood violence, abuse of any type and others.
Overexposure to stressful events changes a developing brain. In fact, chronic stress is also implicated in health problems later in life. It can cause learning problems and emotional difficulties. The Harvard Center on the Developing Child has extensive research on toxic stress and worth checking out

Toxic Stress

We know schools are struggling to manage children with behavioral and emotional regulation difficulties. It’s not easy because these children present with such complicated concerns.

Our work in schools is trauma informed because we understand that many children, no matter what the socio-economic level, are struggling. We’re at a point where we can’t continue to ignore the growing mental health needs of children. Schools would never consider not having a nurse to tend to the physical needs of children. At this point, we can no longer avoid tending to the mental health needs of children.

If your child or school is in need of mental health services, call us 302-292-1223 x1 Lisa Savage. We will talk about the specific needs and come up with a plan to help. This is our area of expertise; we focus on the child, family, and school community.

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Center for Child Development
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