What does it mean when someone is regulated? Basically, when we are regulated, we are in control of what we say and do. So, if we are dysregulated, what does that look like? When one is dysregulated, the brain does not perform as it should, and the region of our brain that is responsible for rational or cause and effect thinking shuts down. We then compensate by working from our primitive part of our brain. This kind of dysregulation happens to all of us from time to time. For example, think about the last time you felt stressed, angry or afraid. At that very instant, it is difficult to think clearly. The catch is, in our role as caregivers, it is important we stay regulated to help our kids.
For children and teens that have experienced trauma, their brains release too much cortisol (the stress hormone) which actually causes damage to the brain. Due to their traumatic history, their brains have not developed properly. There is a lot of science that supports this, along with research that shows it takes a lot less for a traumatized brain to become dysregulated than a normally organized brain. Often these behaviors may look more like defiance when in reality their brain is literally going into survival mode. When we are able to recognize the true source of dysregulation, we all benefit, especially the child.
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