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The limbic alarm is a system is deep inside the brain that is constantly on the lookout for safety or threats, and sends us into fight-or-flight when it senses the latter. If we try to reason with a child when their alarm has been triggered -- get them to see that they are distorting the problem -- they won't be able to process what we're trying to explain. In fact, whatever we're saying to reassure them, no matter how reasonable, can actually be another stress.
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None of us are at our best when we're tired or stressed out, especially kids. In fact, much of what we see as "misbehaviour" in kids is actually "stress behaviour" -- the result of being over-stressed, unaware of it and unaware of what to do about it.
Adults and children alike need to practice self-regulation.
This summer Mexico put in place a ban of food advertising to children. The target is junk. Restricting advertising to children is good policy as one part of efforts to have our kids eat nutritiously right from the start. However, in this increasingly interconnected world it is harder and harder for any one society to effectively constrain such promotions.
When a child's stress levels are too high various systems for thinking and metabolic recovery are compromised. The signs of when this is happening show up in the child's behaviour, or mood, or attention, or for that matter, physical well-being. Canadian children are dealing with far too much stress today.
Many perceive childhood as a time of simplicity and play. However, children show stress in complex ways that can represent serious signs of anxiety or a nervous system that is overloaded. Our ability to reach as many kids as possible, teaching them the skills to manage their stress, can make all the difference in their future success.
Some evidence suggests that about one-third of the tests doctors order are unnecessary -- and doctors make a pretty penny on those tests. Recently the Ontario government announced that it is reducing OHIP fees by 50 per cent in situations where self-referral has occurred. The government has good reason to be interested in this issue, but cutting fees for self-referral isn't the answer.