The other day my son and I spent the day together, just the two of us. We began the day going to McDonald’s for breakfast, then to the grocery store to get a few items for the weekend. Then we headed back home to do some work outside which included me cutting down a dead tree.
We enjoyed hanging out together, father and son.
Then it happened. Right before my eyes. One moment he is acting like a normal five-year-old boy enjoying running around doing what little boys like to do. The next moment he is whining and yelling at me making no logical sense at all. I stood there watching my son seriously wondering who had just taken over his body. I was thinking, “Really? Is this the way you’re going to act? You’re about to mess up a really good day!”
Most days when this happens I get pulled into the fray, and I end up asking myself why I am arguing with this little minion. But for some reason this morning God graced me with some insight. I immediately thought about those Snicker commercials like this one:
What was the connection?
Thankfully over the past few years I have learned a few things about brain chemistry from books like The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family and The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind.
What does a full-out tantrum from a five-year-old, a Snicker bar, and brain chemistry have in common?
What I have learned about brain chemistry is that sometimes the outlandish behavior of my child isn’t an alien takeover but simply a nutritional and/or a hydration issue. His brain slips into survival mode when it needs protein or hydration.
Most of us, when we feel a little run down or even grouchy, we have the thought, “I should eat a snack!” And if we have learned anything about nutrition, we will grab something that will help our blood sugar regulate which in turn will help us act better.
But sometimes we need someone else like in the commercial to help us out.
On this sunny, February day my son needed me to help him out. I needed to help him out!
Mind you I didn’t hand him a Snicker bar even though he would have loved that! But I did get him something a tad bit more healthy to eat and some water. Even though it took some time, he did finally regulate back into an enjoyable little dude without too much anguish on my part.
If you find yourself wondering who took over your child’s body, consider the possibility he just needs a protein snack and some water. It’s a possible easy solution that could save some preventable grief.
Now where did I hide that Snickers bar?