Julie McIsaac
December 12, 2019

Does Anybody Else Have Very Emotional Kids This Time of Year?

This morning, after the off-to-school rush, I settled in with my computer and my coffee and started to work. Well, if I’m being honest, I opened up Facebook.

This morning, after the off-to-school rush, I settled in with my computer and my coffee and started to work. Well, if I’m being honest, I opened up Facebook. And I’m glad I did. I saw this post in one of my parent groups: 

“Does anybody else have very emotional kids this time of year? My 6 year old cried all morning and did not want to go to school.  I felt awful sending him. I asked if anything was wrong at school but it doesn’t seem that there is anything wrong. Please tell me he will be ok once he gets there.”

Umm. Yes. Times one million, yes. 

It’s not just my kids that are feeling big emotions. It’s me too. This time of year is go, go, go. It’s exciting and it’s stimulating. But sometimes it’s just exhausting and overwhelming. 

Have you heard of fight, flight, or freeze? 

It’s a way of describing what happens to our bodies when we are faced with a stress.  I have different reactions in different situations.  When I feel wronged or if my child is wronged, my reaction is to ‘fight’—not physically, but I want to confront the situation head on. When I feel overwhelmed with work or home or family or everything at once, I freeze. I feel paralyzed and rely on strategies that help me get one foot in front of the other to keep moving forward. And when I don’t know how to fix things that I really want fixed, I feel an urge for ‘flight’.  If it’s related to my child, I want to wrap them up in blankets and run away. 

So when I read what the mom wrote in the above post, I get it.

I know that feeling of watching your child feel stressed or sad and just wanting to keep them home and hide out from the world. But I also know that the routine of school might actually feel nice and help calm stress. And that sometimes, for both of us, leaving the house is exactly what we need.    

As parents, and especially as parents of a child with disability, we are hyper aware of how our child is feeling, or whether they are progressing or struggling. But sometimes it’s good to step back and look at the big picture. It’s important for us to realize that we’re already doing the right things and that’s not an accident. That’s due to countless hours of time and energy. 

This mom is asking the question that we all ask over and over again throughout the years of raising our babies and children and young adults: Please tell me he will be ok

During the hustle and bustle of this season, when you get the call from the school in the middle of your workday or when bedtime feels like a circus act and you feel that urge to fight, flight or freeze, take a deep breath and try to remember:

you’ve thought about this, 

you’re doing the right things, 

and he’s going to be ok. 

Join us in our Louisiana Facebook Group or our Massachusetts Facebook Group to connect with other parents and let’s celebrate those victories, funny stories or ‘winning’ moments we’ve had this year, no matter how small (or unfunny) they may have felt at the time! info@exceptionallives.org.

  • Julie McIsaac, Ph.D.

    Child Development and Disability Advisor

    Julie specializes in working with children and families with diverse developmental profiles She uses reflective practice, emotion-coaching, play and a relationship-based framework to support skill building in the areas of emotional-regulation and problem-solving. Julie consults with families, schools and community organizations. As a parent, she understands the need to have a cohesive team supporting a child and family.

    Profile Photo of Julie McIsaac
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