Why are your kids having meltdowns after school when teachers report perfect behavior in class?

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 7:03 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - After a perfect behavior day at school, your kids return home and let their walls down. That’s when the meltdown comes. What some parents may not know is that this is completely normal and common.

“Parents are not alone, a lot of kids go home and they are acting out more there,” said Luke Severt, licensed counselor at Behavioral Health Clinic of Wausau.

‘After School Restraint Collapse’ is when a child channels all their energy and stress into good behaviors throughout the day and then when they get home, to their safe place, they let their walls down.

“In larger groups, we kind of conform and do what everybody else is doing. If they’re sitting still, I should be sitting still. So we put more energy and focus into trying to do that. And then parents may be shocked, when they come home why are they breaking down?” said Severt.

Unfortunately, that negative behavior comes out on the parents or caregivers. But, why does it come out on them when it had nothing to do with them?

“You’re the safe place, you’re the area that it’s okay to let this out towards,” said Severt.

Back-to-school is the most challenging time.

“The most difficult time is probably getting into that new groove in the beginning. Because once we know what to expect our brain is much happier with what’s happening because we know what we are getting,” said Severt.

Severt recommended some strategies. He said to develop a routine and not bombard them with questions when they get home. Instead, allow them to relax and regroup and check back in with them later.

He noted that often in an effort to be good parents and show children that they care, parents often overwhelm their kids with the ‘how was your day?’ question right after school. Severt said that children need more time to process their day.

Adults experience the same thing with work. However, it is different for them because adults’ brains are done developing by the age of 26, so they can often better manage that stress. Kids on the other hand need some more time to calm down because their brains are still growing.

For more information about After School Restraint Collapse click here.

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