166: The Nervous System and Your Child’s Behavior, with Irene Lyon

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

Listen on Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  Spreaker  |  Spotify  |  iHeart Radio

The autonomic nervous system governs the majority of our responses and reactions because behavior is biological. Fight, flight and freeze are all states of the autonomic nervous system, and all states of dysregulation. Calm and connected is also a state of the autonomic nervous system, when an individual is regulated. When you understand these connections to regulation and behavior, you have the foundational information necessary to understand behavior, notice, get curious, and create some transformation.

In this episode of the Podcast, nervous system expert Irene Lyon teaches us about trauma, the autonomic nervous system, unresolved survival stress, and how those experiences and biology come together to shape behavior. 

Resources

Some of the resources may be affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission (at no cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase.

Ergos Institute of Somatic Education (Peter Levine, Ph.D.) 

Kathy Kain’s books on trauma and developmental trauma

Subscribe to Clarity — my weekly newsletter on what’s working in business right now, delivered free, straight to your inbox.

Work with me to level up your parenting — online parent training and coaching  for neurodiverse families.

My Guest

IRENE LYON
Irene Lyon, MSC. and nervous system expert, teaches people around the world how to work with the nervous system to transform trauma, heal body and mind, and live full, creative lives. To date, her online programs and classes have reached over 9,500 people in over 90 countries. Irene has a Master’s Degree in Biomedical and Health Science and also has a knack for making complex info easy for ALL of us to understand and apply to our lives. She has extensively studied and practices the works of Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais, Peter Levine (founder of Somatic Experiencing) and Kathy Kain (founder of Somatic Practice). Irene spends her free time eating delicious food, hiking in the mountains or walking along the Pacific Ocean in her hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia.



 

Transcript

Irene Lyon 0:04

Anxiety is stored fight flight. And that stored by flight is the incomplete procedure of some kind of movement expression, fleeing response that is knocking on the system saying, hey, there's something in here and then we feel it as anxiety and label it as that. But so often, if not all the time, it is unresolved survival stress.

Penny Williams 0:31

Welcome to The Parenting ADHD podcast, where I share insights and strategies on raising kids with ADHD straight from the trenches. I'm your host, Penny Williams. I'm a parenting coach, author, ADHD a Holic and mindset mama, honored to guide you on the journey of raising your a typical kid. Let's get started. Welcome back to The Parenting ADHD podcast. I am so excited today to be talking to Irene Lyon, about trauma and the nervous system and the role that they play in our kids behavior. Welcome to the podcast. Irene I'm really excited about having this conversation with you. I know that we're all going to learn so much that's really going to benefit our parenting. Can you start letting everyone know who you are and what you do?

Irene Lyon 1:26

Sure thing, Penny, yeah. So um, Irene and I really got into the healing and health world. As soon as I got out of high school, I studied exercise physiology, and biomedical science and nutrition and all that. And then some of my injuries, actually, through my sports led me into a much bigger, deep dive into the nervous system and what we would call neuroplasticity, and rewiring the human system when it's been hurt. And I just fell in love with that work. And then one thing led to another. And I stumbled across the importance of really understanding what trauma is and the deeper parts of the nervous system. And so I now currently in you know, if I date this, it's 2022, all my work is online, but I was in private practice working with folk from chronic illness or chronic pain to severe PTSD, complex PTSD, but also kids, I did some work with some little ones and teenagers and helping them with their nervous systems through some things. So I kind of do a bit of everything. And just to end up credit, my teachers, my work is really based on the work of Peter Levine. So he's the founder of somatic experiencing, and in reference to your topic with kids and parenting and add, etc. The other person that has been instrumental in understanding early trauma, and developmental trauma and dysregulation is the work of Kathy Cain with a K two K's. And her work really influenced how I understand these behavioral things that we say are behavioral, but as we'll probably get into, they're really driven by the biology. And that's kind of the bread and butter of what I do with my work with adults. I primarily work with adults, but we were all once kids, and infants, and we all had various things that we stored inside. And it manifests in a whole host of ways in humans, because we're just so diverse.

Penny Williams 3:38

Yeah. And behavior is really biological. We attach this sort of emotional or mental health aspect to behavior, but there's so much of our biology that drives and informs the behavior. And so I think when we understand that we can do so much better by people, because now we get why something is happening, and we understand what they might need help with or what might need change in order to improve

Irene Lyon 4:08

100% And I always like to use sort of analogies and kind of take people back on a journey. And if we think about when we were young, right, like really on like Dale month old, two year old, we're not functionally set as an adult, right? Like, we're so different than animals in the wild that they're literally born and they're walking. Right. And that's great, that's their species and that's how they're made. But then I just just talking about this in another chat earlier today. If we really think about it, Penny like when we come out, we are like that immature mammal, right like the baby bear. The kitten the puppy, but the difference is that we're human And we have this higher brain that is so complex. And I mean, I don't think it's settled as to how our brain got where it is today, we just have ideas and theories. And what's interesting is that because of culture, and society and rules, and all the things, humans are not raised the same, even though they need to be raised the same in those first few years of life, what I will say is that because of our higher brain, I believe in a soul and the deeper elements of our creative nature and spirit, we also have a unique Spark, humans, talk to any parent who has two kids or twins, and one will just have a different personality.

And it's not necessarily because of a trauma, they're just different. And one of the things that is missing at this point, and this is, like I'm going kind of macro here is that we can't have an accepted home truth understanding of this is how all humans should be cared for in those in utero, obviously, and then in those first three years of life. And I mentioned three years, because it's those first three years that we would deem pre verbal, if you're familiar with that topic or concept, where we're not talking yet, we might be making sounds, but we're not cognitively registering the world. And in that time, everything is biological, everything is somatic. We're feeling everything. And so when we then fast forward to, let's say, 13 33 63, older, and we have, let's say this behavioral thing, or this trouble with something, I mean, the list is long, and we try to help it with behavior, therapy, modification, even emotional work, and it doesn't work. It's often Penny because those imprints that we would call it dysregulation of the nervous system that's driving the I don't like to say bad behavior, but harmful behavior, not useful that behavior, it was set from a very early age at the level of the autonomic nervous system. And so by actually working with those core elements of this autonomic nervous system, which we can get into deeper, we actually start to rewrite, but also for some humans, we start to wire it for the first time ever, in the right way. I hope that makes sense.

Penny Williams 7:42

It totally makes sense. And we don't all have the same opportunities. No birth to age three, we do not we don't have an equal environment, some children are well loved and cared for. And given everything they need to be developmentally on track. And other kids don't have that luxury, right, which, which I would call luxury, because there's so much disparity. But it's really, really important. actually read Bruce Perry's book, which I'm blanking on the title right now. What happened to you with Oprah? Sure, sure. So, so, opening, he's amazing. And, yeah, and what really stuck with me in that was the developmental trauma and the impact that that has, because it's happening during development, which maybe we can talk some about, too. But I thought, maybe let's go a little deeper on the autonomic nervous system and the role that that's playing in our behavior in our actions, what signals it's giving, I'll let you explain it in your way.

Irene Lyon 8:48

Sure. And I'll actually in doing that, I'll pull in one of my favorite stories from Bruce, which he writes about not in that book, but in a older book called born for love. So I'm going to park that in my brain. So I don't forget, but our autonomic nervous system, if I do a quick science biology lesson, the brain and as people listen to this, they can even like put their hand to their head just for like the fun of like, this is my brain. So our brain and our spinal cord, which most of us know, that is the central nervous system. So it's the center of the body. The peripheral nervous system are all the nerves that come out of the brain, they would be the cranial nerves, and then all the nerves that come out of the spinal cord, and it's pretty neat. If you actually Google an image of the nervous systems, you'll see all these tentacles and nerves coming out of the spine and they go to the digestion, the reproductive organs, the glands, the muscles, everything. And the peripheral nervous system has more than one part in that one part. Is this like I have a coffee cup in front of me Penny if I pick got up, I have to use my muscles. But I also have to sense to feel that it's not going to burn me because it's not scalding hot. So there's this constant peripheral communication with the outside world through our senses, and then our motor responses, which are muscular, and I'm simplifying it, but I think it's good for our purposes today. Yes, the peripheral nervous system.

And then we have the autonomic nervous system, which is part of the peripheral. And this one is fun, because it's complex, and that it has various branches. Most people know fight flight, I'm gonna assume you've heard those terms. Yep. fight flight is what our sympathetic nervous system is governing, which is part of our autonomic nervous system, which is part of this peripheral. And so the sympathetic fight flight nervous system, it also kind of energizes us gets us going. It's one part of the autonomic. The other part, we could call it the other branches, is the parasympathetic nervous system. Now this one is, I would say, misunderstood and misrepresented. In many instances that I see. It is our slowing down nervous system. A lot of people say Rest Digest, that's half true. So this is where that we bring in the vagus nerve, which everybody's talking about. So the vagus nerve is, I'm being very good. In general, it's it is like the, the parasympathetic nervous system, and within that parasympathetic, we have multiple branches. So one would be called the dorsal branch of the parasympathetic, the dorsal branch of the vagus nerve. This is slowing down.

But to make things even more confusing Penny, the dorsal has to the dorsal has two more, not so much branches, but tones. If anybody's ever driven a standard car, like a stick shift, it's the same engine, but there's these different gears, right? Fifth gear, first gear, they're very different. This branch, this dorsal branch of the vagus nerve, which is this portion of the parasympathetic, it has a low tone, and a high tone. The low tone is the Rest Digest. So this is what we want when we're chillin at night, or watching a show, we're reading a book, we're sleeping, it repairs and literally rests and digests stuff. Okay? The high tone dorsal, also the vagus nerve, also the parasympathetic, it slows us down, but in a very abrupt way. And that is the freeze. So there's fight flight, which is the sympathetic. And then this comes in this is where the freeze response comes in. It is governed by the high tongue dorsal of the vagus nerve, which is within the parasympathetic nervous system is complex. And that freeze response is essential for survival.

It's essential when we might be sick. When we have my classic example, if I were to break a bone, and I've got an artery that's doing the thing that it shouldn't do, I want my system to go into a very quick freeze, high tone dorsal to slow my blood pressure down, slow my heart rate down so I don't bleed out. We need it. And then to bring it even more complex Penny, there's another branch of the parasympathetic that is part of the vagus, and that is the ventral vagus, part of the vagal nerve system. And that is our social engagement system. And I can't see you because we're doing audio, but like if I had you on the camera, I'd like start making funny faces or I'd smile at you or I'll tilt my head the way a dog might say, Hello, but this ventral vagal is our it's our mammal nerve. It's like it gives us connection. It's what a baby needs to see from their primary caregiver from the moment they're out. Because that facial instruction, the smile, the blink of the eyes, that is the juiciness that starts to bring a little one's nervous system online. So when we're born, we don't have a fully functioning ventral vagal portion. It's kind of there but it needs to be used. Well, we have a very good freeze response on when we come out again, granted, we're full term and healthy and our low tone again, if for full term unhealthy is there.

But what occurs Penny is that when we come out if we don't get that optimal environment that Perry talks about But all of us talk about, the system starts to live more in a fight flight. So that's sympathetic, or the shutdown, because it's not getting that ventral connection. And because our system is so smart from a biological autonomic survival point of view, if little baby or little toddler is like, no one's engaging with me what's happening, or I'm being abused, or I have to go into another surgery, or mom and dad hate each other, and I feel the tension in the house, the little one will default to either staying a sympathetically aroused state, or they'll most often what occurs is they go into the freeze, which is part of this parasympathetic. And then eventually, and I'm kind of fast forwarding, they go into what we would call collapse. And that's where the system is kind of in. It's not what we would call it depress, but it's this very subdued, dulled down, the system can't function like that. And so I'm going to go one step further.

And then I'm going to pause, what we have to understand is that this autonomic nervous system that I just did a crash course and it governs these survival responses, we need the survival responses, because that's what we need to survive, some things come at us, we want to go into fight flight, or if we have an accident, we want to go into shutdown. But they're meant to be very short periods of time, like, seconds, seconds, not an entire lifetime, and certainly not a year, and certainly not a whole day. And so what occurs is that the other thing I didn't mention is this autonomic nervous system is also responsible for our cardiovascular system, our immune system, our digestive system, our hormonal system, all these systems that run without us having to think because they're automatic. But when the system as a whole is concerned with survival, these other organ systems kind of get left on the side of the road. And then this is where we see chronic illness, bowel problems, immune system dysfunction, hormonal dysfunction, behavioral dysfunction, because that's social, and we cannot be socially engaged, and bring that online in a good way, if our system is concerned about threat,

Penny Williams 17:27

It makes total sense to me, we put together this course on behavior in this program last year, and we actually made what we call a behavior wheel for parents, where we've mapped out those three different states, those three different parts of the nervous system, we have calm and connected, we have activated fighter flight, and then we have freezer shutdown, right? Yeah, and just simplified it out for parents, because it is really complicated. I mean, you could have gone into a lot more detail than you did. And it sort of gets to a point where maybe we don't need to know all of that as parents, so I'm sure would like to, there are some people who would love that detail.

And some who, like me, it might just be too much and over complicating. So, we talk to parents about the fact that, whatever state their nervous system is, it's communicating something to you, so yeah, the calm connected is communicating that they're feeling good, right? They're regulated, the other states are dysregulation often, but not always. And yeah, just understanding that basic premise. I've been in this community of ADHD and autism a long time. And when I learned about this stuff, two or three years ago, it was a huge game changer. Because I understood my kid, and myself as a person with anxiety, so much better. Like I really saw the role that my biology plays on my body is playing in my thoughts and my feelings, my reactions to things are the same for my kid.

And it's just so so empowering for parents, especially parents of kids who are often extra sensitive, right? They have, I think, more easily triggered or more sensitive nervous systems sometimes and understanding, the role that that plays, then I think helps to make it more about your kid having a hard time. Like there's some struggle with them, versus it's a choice and intention, or that it's something that they have some say in I'm kind of vague there because there's so many different examples we could go with. But it's really important to see that it's not personal, I guess, when your kid maybe has an outburst or a meltdown. Now, we understand the biology behind that we understand the brain's role in that and it makes it so much easier to say okay, that wasn't about me, the parent and My kid really needs my help. Right? And in parenting kids with ADHD and autism, that is super valuable. Yeah. perspective to have.

Irene Lyon 20:09

Yeah. And I will add, I'm gonna add one piece there. Yeah, the kids feel what's going on in the field of the parent or the teacher or whoever. And so it's very, like really, really stressed that very important for the adults who are with the kids again, has doesn't have to be parents to be school teachers. Right. Granny's grandpa's. When we just yeah, when we're in our physiology and not regulated, those little sponges are going to just feel it.

Right. And one of my mentors, Taff, he, again, I mentioned would say, the kids will go, I'm kind of paraphrasing, they'll go bananas, when mom and dad are having a fight, and they're keeping it under wraps, so maybe they're not showing the kids they're fighting. Because, again, sometimes we have arguments with our spouses, and of course, graduates not abuse, sure, but they'll feel what's going on in the field, have those adults, and then the kiddo will act out behaviorally what they're feeling that makes sense. Mm hmm. And so this is where it gets really interesting, where part of this is really saying to the adult caretakers, hey, yeah, I know that little Johnny or Susie is really behaving badly. But is there something going on in your world that isn't being addressed? Is there some old trauma that you have never felt or dealt with that this infant is feeling? Right? And so, again, it's when I was in private practice. And I say, this was absolute love and respect, because the parents didn't know I would have kids be dropped off at my office, not young young ones, but teenagers, and mum and dad are like, just please fix them. And, and then I started to learn the history, divorce drama, the restrictions weren't there, were there too much, or there weren't any boundaries? And so there's so much more than just the kiddo is what I want to say.

Penny Williams 22:21

Yeah, yeah, I was just having this conversation earlier. So much of it is our stuff as parents, it's our background. It's our beliefs, it's our fears, that end up sort of clouding our parenting sometimes. And we have to be aware enough to be able to tease that apart. Because what we need are what we would have needed if we were them at that age. And that situation, right is going to be drastically different maybe, than our child. They're not many versions of us. They're individuals.

Irene Lyon 22:52

That's so important. This is a five hour conversations Penny, but I'll say, right. I saw a quote from someone the other day, and it was something like if you don't deal with your childhood traumas, it will be dealt with in your romantic relationships. So we will act out and replay the things that weren't healed by our parents or our relationship with our primary caregivers. But it's the same with our kids, right? It's the same with the little people. And so, I'm thinking about I'm just going to share one example that is really interesting to me is ages ago, I was in what we would call a drugstore here in Canada buying something and it was the winter and it was super cold out it might have been snowing. And so I walked into this drugstore, and you know, my hat and my boots and my gloves and my jacket. And I went to the back and there is this little infant screaming so loud. And you know, those are the moments where I wish it was okay to just pick up someone else's baby, but it's not. And I looked at the little thing, Penny and the kid was overheating, red in the face. They still had their two on their coats their booties, a blanket. And of course, it's a drugstore.

So all the chemical sense, the fluorescent lights, the poor thing was just in overwhelm sympathetic overwhelm, and again, not the fault of the mother so to speak, but she was not, you could tell she wasn't well mentally. And she was screaming at this little kid to stop crying. And we see this so much. And the thing is, is that's a miss attunement. But the Miss attunement begins in the mom, she's probably not even aware that she's overheating that she's stressed so she can't hear it and see it. Whereas this pastor by me who's like, Oh, my God, kiddo is hot. You know, they just they're not able to because they can't rip their clothes off at that age. So they can't self regulate, we have to help them regulate through our CO regulation, and attunement. So that's a story that I'll never forget. Because it just showed how sometimes the things are very simple. But we have to know what to listen for and look for.

Penny Williams 25:09

And we have to build that awareness muscle to I think, we have to really consciously make the effort to be very aware to think more deeply, instead of Oh, the baby's crying again. Yeah. Why is the baby crying? Yeah, what is going on right now that might be leading to that, right. But it's not just this common thing that happens at that age, but that there's a reason and being more aware. And sometimes we just aren't in the state of mind, right? Like, our kids aren't the only ones that struggle we struggle with. Some days are hard, right? And so it's not just our kids who sometimes just sort of gloss over and don't see right and aren't engaged. Sometimes we our needs are, and we have to work at it. I mean, honestly, we really have to practice being more aware and asking more questions, noticing. And then being curious, I think is really, really valuable. As parents, especially with kids who have some behavioral challenges, on the surface, they look really personal. They feel really bad on the receiving end, right? But we have to be able to really notice what's going on in its entirety. Yeah, understanding the nervous system in the body goes so far with that. And then be curious.

Irene Lyon 26:31

Yeah, and it when we understand a little bit more of the complexity, we can start to see patterns that emerge in our kiddos, that from someone who doesn't know about fight, flight and freeze, it might just be passed off of they're just flailing their arms. But I'll give an example. Because it's, I think, important to put a bit of context, like let's say, Little Susie or Johnny, they had to be strapped down for a surgical procedure, or even the dentist, this is the amount of times I hear of dental trauma, and people don't think about it, so you're not being harmed, you're being helped. But when you're five, or three, or even, you're like, get me out of here. Yeah, it's I don't like this, I'm scared, I'm not with my mom, and these strangers are holding me down. If we really look at that, from a survival point of view, that little one needs to have an absolute blow up meltdown, after that dental appointment. They need to flail their arms, they have to pretend not pretend, but act out the behavior of pushing those people off of them, this would be called a stored procedural memory. I haven't had this happen. But I have colleagues who have worked with kiddos with early trauma, developmental trauma, and they'll be working with the kid. And they will come out of their freeze response, because that's the goal of the work to bring regulation pack. And the kiddo will bite the therapist. Like, and then the parents are there. Oh, like, you stop that. And he and it's like, no, this is good. Don't worry about me, this fight response needs to come out. Because if it doesn't come out, it's going to drive back in. And then that's where the behavioral comes in. That's where the attention deficit, that's where the, I'm not going to eat that food. You know, that's where the kids start to control what they can because they can't let go of control, so to speak.

Right. It's really interesting.

Penny Williams 28:40

Yeah. I want to talk about trauma a little bit. Because I think so many people have the idea that trauma is just from victimization, abuse, war, that sort of thing. And the experience of walking through this world with ADHD or autism or other differences can be very traumatic. You know, I can think of many times or many situations that traumatized my son over the years, and it was partly because he didn't fit and people were trying to make him fit or, school was extra hard, but nobody else around him had that problem and internalizing, yeah, all of these things are kind of like little traumas. Yeah. And I think it's so important as parents of kids who have differences to recognize that like to recognize that they are experiencing trauma, because that also informs us about a lot of behavior as well.

Irene Lyon 29:38

Yeah. And yes, 100% And what's interesting is the mic, there's no real proper term. It's like we call them micro traumas. Mm hmm. And some people call them little T, but when you understand it, they're not really little in the end. Exactly. They're actually sometimes tougher to work with because It isn't like saying, oh, yeah, this kiddo was born prematurely or yes, there was an accident or yes, there was a specific abuse or whatever. And actually, I'm going to share it. This is one of my, like I said, Bruce Perry, I had to remember. So in his book born for love, there's a story that he calls the kid Ryan. And Paul Ryan, he grew up in the most affluent home in I think, LA or San Francisco that you can imagine, servants, nannies, and the parents were very busy. And the mother was very young, and from what he said, unexperienced just no connection with other babies. And so they hired a nanny for little Ryan as soon as he came out. And what happened was, every single time the parents would come home, and Ryan would prefer to be with the nanny and not the Mom, guess what they would do? Penny, they fired the nanny. Oh, no. And it's a great story. It's hard. But it shows this micro trauma thing. They had, I can't remember. But it was something like 18 or 16, nannies and a period of a couple of years. And so

Penny Williams 31:12

That's a lot of change?

Irene Lyon 31:14

Well, it's a lot of change. But it's basically creating a situation where this little human was making connection. Remember, you mentioned connection, that ventral vagal. And as soon as he felt connected to and loved and attuned to, they took it away. That is the biggest kind of abuse you could possibly input to a child. The reason why Perry ended up meeting him and the parents was he had sexually abused teenager with special needs at the prom. And it came out of nowhere. They're like, why did he do this? It doesn't make any sense. But when they started to see his history, he was kind of the bully. He was very smart, very handsome, again, affluent, so nobody considered him to be someone that would get into trouble, right. But what it was very clear was the poor kid had zero empathy. It was verging on sociopath, because he just got taken out of what humans need, which is attunement. And at the hands of two parents who actually probably didn't think they were doing anything wrong. Yeah. Right. But also, and this is a bit deeper, the fact that that biological mother felt hurt, and didn't understand why he didn't want to attach with her. The fact that she didn't know that shows why the education is actually really important. It's like, well, it's a good thing he is attaching to that nanny, because that's what he needs. But all humans need to grow their nervous systems. Right. So yeah, I look at that and go Well, there was no trauma that occurred in that house. But there was,

Penny Williams 32:55

Yeah, there's lots of it repeated, really. And that ties into developmental trauma. I mean, this was happening during development. And that's what we would call developmental trauma. Right. And I think that there's another aspect to it for our families in particular. And I learned this sort of recently, from my own kids experience, she grew up with a brother who had a lot of challenges and had some public meltdowns, right and had some things happen that might have been embarrassing, or really hard to cope with. And what we're now learning in her early 20s, is that she experienced developmental trauma from that, like, there are times where she is really sort of stunted in a certain age bracket years ago, or something had happened. You know, and it was really an eye opener for me, I have to say, because I never thought, of course, we tried to make sure that she got equal time and all these things that were so hard, but we're still really making the effort.

But she was experiencing the world in a way that was different than her same age peers. And with anxiety layered on top of it, a lot of it came out as being very traumatic. And I think that when I listen to you, Dr. Perry, and Oprah's book, what happened to you, it really sort of hit home for me that developmental trauma is different than trauma in adulthood might be that it's almost this double whammy. And we have to really understand that as parents and be able to watch for it and to be able to, everyone listening now they understand how valuable connection is because you've talked about the autonomic nervous system. We've talked about the importance and the value of that connection and development. There's so many people out there that don't know this, like, I didn't learn about it until my youngest was 16 at the youngest me Be 3017, something like that. So it needs to become more of our mainstream parenting information, I think too.

Irene Lyon 35:08

100%. And the connection is essential. And just because I've been in practice with this, the one thing that is often less talked about is the need for again, it could be an adult, it could be a teenager, a young 20 year old, of getting into those survival responses that were never allowed to fully express. And again, primarily the fight and the flight. And for some parents, it can be like, when I mentioned that example of that kid biting my teacher, it can be shocking, because it will trigger in us as the adults are unresolved anger, or the repressed anger from our childhood or the violent anger. And working with healthy aggression is actually one of the you know, I we could have a whole course on just working with healthy aggression, and getting it out because it isn't as easy as screaming or hitting a pillow with a baseball bat, it requires a very delicate priming and foundation building and safety and connection. And then having it such that if it's in the context of sick kids, that the parent can be okay, letting their kid rage and support it. And that's where it gets a little trickier when we might have triggers on our own system around seeing that. And that's where this is gonna sound odd. But it's like, we have to respect the little animal in the human that never got to express its hurt its injustice when they were young, no matter what kind of situation was going on. It really is sort of the gold's the Holy Grail, that sword I'm looking for, of getting that Because anxiety is stored fight flight. And that sword fight flight is the incomplete procedure of some kind of movement expression, fleeing response, that is knocking on the system saying, hey, there's something in here, and then we feel it as anxiety. And we label it as that. But so often, if not all the time, it is unresolved survival stress.

Penny Williams 37:21

Yeah, I just had another lightbulb moment. My own family, as you're saying that, no matter how long we are on a parenting journey, or specific work or anything, there's always more to learn. Oh, god, yeah. And as you said, in the very beginning, humans are so complex. And when we add things like ADHD, and autism and neurological differences, it makes it even more complex. And really understanding some of that nuance was so helpful. We, of course, are out of time already. Yeah, maybe we can do this again in the future. And have you come on and talk some strategies? Sure, as well, some healing strategies too.

But for now, I want to let everyone know that Irene has lots of resources online for you to dig in and learn more about what we have just barely touched on in this episode. And you can find links to all of that, in the show notes for this episode, which are at parentingADHDandautism.com/166 for Episode 166. I really do hope that you'll take advantage of those resources. This is really important work for our kids and for our families, and ourselves. You know, the more that I understand what's going on with my son, the more in ease, I feel about just being his parent, right, and the more at ease I feel, then the better I feel and the better I feel, the better I'm able to do and you know, it just puts better energy out there for our kids who are taking all of that and definitely thank you so much again for your time and your wisdom. And being here. I do hope that all of our listeners take advantage of learning more from you. And with that, we'll end the session. I will see everybody next time. Bye. Thanks for joining me on the parenting ADHD podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share. And don't forget to check out my online courses, parent coaching and Mama retreats at parentingADHDandautism.com.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it. Have something to say, or a question to ask? Leave a comment below. I promise to answer every single one. **Also, please leave an honest review for the Beautifully Complex Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and appreciated! That's what helps me reach and help more families like yours.

Hello!
I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

Pinpoint the
Help You Need
right now

Take my free quiz to cut through the overwhelm and get focused on the information and resources that will help you and your child RIGHT NOW.

free video series
Quick Start: 3 High-Impact Actions to Transform Behavior

Transforming negative or unwanted behavior is a long and complex process. HOWEVER, there are a few actions you can take right now that will provide a big impact. These 3 high-impact strategies address foundational aspects of behavior, empowering you to help your child feel better so they can do better.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE TOOLS

1

Makes time visual for those with time blindness.

2

Blends gaming with off-screen activities to teach coping skills through play.

3

Manage chores and routines while building self-confidence and independence.

4

A chair that gives kids a sensory hug.

About the show...

I'm your host, Penny.

Join me as I help parents, caregivers, and educators like you harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week I deliver insights and actionable strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities…

My approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. I am honored to have helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

Listen on Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  iHeart Radio

Share your thoughts.

2 Comments
  • There was a great deal that I could relate to here in this podcast. Thank you both for taking the time to spell it out. Trauma, of any kind, is a taboo subject in my country of Trinidad and Tobago, so it is essential for me to find comprehensive and coherent disuctions to share with my countrymen.

  • This is great. Thank you both!!

Leave a Reply

Start Typing