Stress makes everything worse: But what is stress?

Does your kid sometimes seem to react one way to something and then, another time, react totally differently?

Does a particular thing sometimes delight her or, at least, not bother her and other times cause a meltdown?

Does this puzzle you?

Well, a lot of you NT people (maybe all …) are exactly the same way. Only different.  Read on:

One Monday you’re having a great day.  You hit all the green lights on the way to and from work, and your boss gave you a compliment and the co-worker you really don’t like was out and it was just a great day and you come home and have a nice dinner and then your kid says “Mom!  I have a big assignment due tomorrow and I completely forgot!”  And you work together to do the assignment and sort of laugh with each other about how those EF skills are such a pain and …. it’s all OK and you go to bed a little later than usual but … it’s OK.

But then the next Monday you have a really bad day.  You had one glass of wine too many on Sunday and your alarm didn’t go off and the kid didn’t wake up and your boss was mad and you had a headache and everyone at work was asking you to do things and then you hit a huge traffic jam on the way home and you had to rush to make dinner and then  ….. your kid says “Hey mom! I have a big assignment and I forgot all about it!”  and you are …. “WHY DON’T YOU EVER REMEMBER?”

Well, we have bad days too.  A LOT.  But what makes our days bad may not be visible to you. Or it may not seem stressful to you. And you are reaching around trying to figure out what is stressing your kid out and why he reacts in totally different ways on different days (just like you do!).

What to do? Well, try, when everyone is calm, to figure out what the stressors are.  You have to pitch it to the age of your child but you could go over the day and mutually rate everything that happens on a “this stresses me out scale” from 0 to 10.  I mean, every event:

  • Alarm goes off
  • Brush teeth
  • Get dressed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Wait for school bus
  • Ride to school

that sort of level of detail.  And talk about the stressors.  And then try to limit them.

Because stress makes everything worse.  But you have to know what the stress is.

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