What To Do If Entirely Overwhelmed With Tantrums, Meltdowns, and Other Challenges – Batting Order

Topics Covered: sleep | The Perfect Storm | Vagus Nerve
By Dr. Tony Ebel, DC, CPPFC, CCWP
What To Do If Entirely Overwhelmed With Tantrums, Meltdowns, and Other Challenges - Batting Order | PX Docs

You’ve tried all the therapies, diets, oils, supplements, etc and you’re exhausted. We know, we get it, we’ve been there. We are speaking to a certain kind of parent because if you’re not living that life of special needs, and have a child with autism or other challenges neurologically, you may not understand the struggles with tantrums, meltdowns, and other struggles. 

Others may not understand that your child’s tantrums, meltdowns, challenges with transitions, and behavior are not their fault and not your fault. They don’t understand that the neurology inside your child at that moment is operating differently, that they’re locked in fight or flight, that they don’t have their vagus nerve and parasympathetic activating and working just yet. As a parent of special needs and what we call Perfect Storm children –  autism, ADHD, OCD, sensory processing – it can be extremely challenging. Other parents may look at you and think “oh man, what’s going on?” 

Another factor that makes it even more challenging, is how busy, overscheduled, and overwhelmed you are trying to do all the things for your child. The different therapies, supplements, detoxes, and diets that can possibly help your child and your first natural inclination as a parent is to do them all at once. 

Maybe this is hitting you right in the heart because that’s what’s happening to you. You are maxed out and tapped out while you’re doing all the right things but your child is not making the progress that you want. 

Now, what is my basis for doing this? Number one, I’m a parent of four kiddos. Two of my children have gone through significant challenges with their health and thank God that I had all the training and experience I had to help them. But it was still overwhelming to look at all the things we wanted to do for our kiddos while trying to put them in the right space and sequence. Second, I’m a doctor who 15-plus years ago built a functional, integrated clinic long before anybody knew that existed. We not only had chiropractic and neurology, but we also did detoxes, diet changes, and supplementation. We had an OT and PT on staff, an entire sensory gym, we did vision therapy – and we did it all at once. 

The Importance and Impact of the Central Nervous System

My goal here is to do what I can to help your family and your child get out of this storm with a good plan and strategic sequential steps.

Out of all the different things that can help your child with their neurosensory challenges, there is a pecking order and prioritization.

I’m going to rank them based on neurology and physiology. God designed our nervous system to be the most important system in the entire body. We call it the central or autonomic nervous system. Run with that word autonomic with me for a second, it means automatic. 99% of what’s happening with your child’s gut is on autopilot; 99% of what is happening with their immune system, good and bad, is on autopilot and 99% of what’s happening with their emotions, socialization, behavior, and sleep is functioning on autopilot. 

The problem is, it’s not functioning the way you want. It’s spitting out too much stress, too many tantrums, difficulty with sleep, constipation, reflux, and over-inflammatory, overactive immune systems. You want to turn all those things down. You want more sleep, stronger immune, and gut health, and a stronger motor system. To achieve all this, you need to start with the central nervous system. 

1. Neurologically Based Pediatric Chiropractic Adjustments

Pediatric chiropractic, done in the way that our Pediatric Experience docs network does it, are trained by me and my team to be experts in neurology. We know how to get a child’s fight or flight sympathetic nervous system to calm down and relax by activating what’s called their parasympathetic or vagus nerve. That is the calming, sleeping, relaxing, socially engaging, emotionally regulating, digestive stimulating, and anti-inflammatory immune system modulating side of the nervous system. The nervous system does all things and it controls motor planning. 

So we need to start with and prioritize the nervous system. 

That means prioritizing seeing a neurologically focused pediatric chiropractor from the PX doc network. When you start with this in your batting order, you will get better results with the rest of your lineup.

2. Sleep and Space in the Schedule

Number two, prioritize sleep and space in the schedule… by far the hardest one. If your child is neurologically wound up, subluxated, and stuck on sympathetic, you may be giving them room to sleep with bedtime and routines, but that won’t help if they simply can’t fall asleep. So once you get number one going, it will help you immensely with number two. 

The most common “side effects” of getting kids adjusted that we see is that it vastly improves their sleep and gut health. Those seem to be the first two things that come online with chiropractic adjustments done the way we do them. 

So prioritize sleep and then leave space in their schedule. They’re children. And if your child has autism, sensory processing, or anxiety, they need even more space and free or creative time to just let their engines cool. 

We know this can be extremely challenging because you’re supposed to do ABA for hours; PT three times a week; OT and speech two times a week and then you add in a pediatric chiropractor. It sounds like I’m talking against myself, right? You’re supposed to see us three times a week or more. All this is on top of school, life, and everything else. How the heck are you supposed to get it all in? You’re not. I want to give you permission, parent to parent and provider to parent, that if you have to throttle down on some things as you prioritize this batting order, you’re doing it right, you’re doing a great job and you’re kicking butt.  

Your first inclination emotionally is going to want to jam everything in because it’s all beneficial for them. But maybe you’re already feeling in your gut that you’re doing too much all at once and need to space things out. So prioritize the adjustments and the neurology, then sleep and space in the schedule. 

3. Motor Based Movement Therapies

The third thing I want you to really, really, really make sure fits in there at just the right space and sequence is motor-based, movement-based therapies. This is PT, OT, speech, and language. 

When you prioritize neurology with chiropractic and you get your child’s nervous system more relaxed, balanced, and functioning better – you get more bang for your buck with PT, OT, and speech and language therapy. 

When a child is stuck in fight or flight and locked in, they don’t learn well even with the best therapist and programs out there. If a child is subluxated and sympathetic dominant, they’re a closed book, not an open book. So what’s cool about how all these thread together is that results start to exponentially improve as we go down the line. If you’ve got your child going to the pediatric chiropractor from our network and their nervous system is getting worked on, you’re going to see more results from ABA, OT, PT, speech, and language. You’re going to have your therapist telling you holy cow, in the last two months we made more progress than we made in the last 12 months, what are you doing differently?!

Back to number one. Since number one gets them better at sleeping and moving because nerves control muscles, the motor planning that the PT, OT, and speech and language therapist can work on will be more effective when they have chiropractic as a foundation.

4. Diet and Detoxes

Number four, diet changes, supplements, detoxes, lifestyle, and getting the chemicals out. These things are crucial. We all know what we need to be doing for ourselves and with our kiddos. We know that gluten, casein, and toxins are not good. We know that macronutrients, clean proteins, healthy fats, and avoiding sugar are good. But when your child is stuck in a sympathetic fight or flight storm, the only thing they want is Craft mac and cheese doused with a rockstar energy drink. They aren’t inclined to choose the broccoli or clean organic grass-fed protein from the cow you raised in your yard. I digress! 

Nevertheless, diet, detoxes, supplements, and essential oils here in this fourth category are crucial, but they’re going to be less effective without working on the first things in the batting order. 

I put them in a batting order just to help you be able to navigate your life. They’re all wildly important and a part of your child’s healing plan. The coolest thing about a PX doc is that we will help you make that plan. We’ve been down these roads before with so many families and we know exactly how to put together what we call a full care plan. These care plans look at all the goals you have for your child and beyond and help put all the ducks in a row. Let’s line up all these different therapies and diets and put them in the right sequence. So number one, we can maximize their effectiveness, and number two, we can keep you as parents from tapping out because you’re too overscheduled and overwhelmed. 

Getting your child better, no matter their challenge from seizures, autism, and the real bad, nasty neurological stuff, all the way down to something as commonly seen as colic and ear infections we are here to help. Check out our directory to find a PX doc near you. Share this with anyone you know looking for hope, answers, and help for their child.

Dr. Tony Ebel is the lead writer and educational guide for PX Docs. He is a Certified Pediatric + Wellness Chiropractor with 15 years of clinical experience. In addition, Dr. Tony has been teaching and training other Pediatric + Family Chiropractors for the past 10+ years, primarily teaching the clinical protocols he created for pediatric neurodevelopmental challenges such as Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Epilepsy, Anxiety, and more. This clinical program is now taught in collaboration with the Life University Postgraduate Department and has over 500 graduates. Dr. Tony’s passion is educating, empowering, and informing parents about the nervous system's role in natural, drug-free healing for all pediatric conditions and cases.

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