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How Do You Get Your Child to Attend School More Consistently When Their Pain is Unpredictable?

So how in the world do you get your child to attend school more consistently when their pain is all over the place?

I know this is a problem that A LOT of our group members struggle with. It is hard enough to motivate kids who DON’T have pain, but when you throw in chronic pain, anxiety, and depression it can be VERY hard to know when to push your child and when to let them rest.

Having a plan takes the guesswork out of it.

But not just any plan.

In order to build your child’s capacity to attend school regularly, you need to start small with what you know they are capable of regardless of pain intensity. And then you build. Slowly but surely. But you can’t really build it for them and expect them to do it. You need to build it WITH them, so that you are on the same page managing pain together.

That is the magic of The Greta Method. It is a 12 week program designed to help get you and your child get on the same page as you grow your child’s capacity to participate in life more, attend school more, and spend more time with family and friends. It helps you to choose “just right” weekly goals that are not too easy and not too hard ~ goals that help to grow your child’s capacity to attend school without overwhelming them.

Some of our kids are in bed 24/7 with pain and others can attend school for a few days and then are back at home in bed because they overdid it and wore themselves out. Whether your child is non-functional or semi-functional, whether they are at a brick and mortar school or are homeschooled, the goal is to build a routine that becomes consistent, regardless of pain flares, so that we can start to “follow the plan and not the pain.”

This is not easy. And you may feel like you have already tried to take small steps with your child and it didn’t work. My guess is you probably didn’t have support and accountability. And likely you tried to push them a little too hard and they refused and now you are back at square one again. That is where I come in. You have been working so hard at this. You have poured your blood, sweat, and tears into trying to help your child. You are overwhelmed and exhausted and need support. Let me help you.

Supporting your child to increase their participation in life isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Our kids have very sensitive nervous systems. Because they have been in pain for so long, they are often stuck in “fight or flight” mode and their brain is scanning their environments for danger at all times. Bright lights, loud sounds, a mom asking them to unload the dishwasher… these are all perceived by their brain as dangers. Their brains have learned to send pain to protect them from these dangers! It can seem like anything that is even slightly stressful will send them back to bed.

Does that mean that pain is “all in their head”? NOT AT ALL! They are experiencing physical pain just like anyone does! But the truth is that all pain is the brain’s response to danger. The brain sends pain to get us to lay down, ice the affected area, and stay off of a broken foot. But in the case of most of our kids, the brain has become extra sensitive to any possible danger and the brain has learned to send pain too often to protect, even when there is no tissue damage.

So how do you help your child to attend school more consistently? There is a formula to helping them slowly ease back into daily life without increasing pain flares. It requires setting manageable weekly micro goals, easing the nervous system, experiencing success and then adding a little more. How do I know this? Because I have lived this with Greta. And we made many mistakes along the way and realized what works. And my background as a teacher, therapist, and pain coach helped us to create a program that works. It has worked with Greta and so many other kids as well. And I'm talking kids who haven't responded to any other treatment (like Greta).

The skills that we work on in The Greta Method are skills being taught at pediatric inpatient pain clinics worldwide. These are the proven tools that help kids to effectively manage their pain and get their lives back. Small steps over time can help kids who have had little to no success with other treatments they have tried because it is targeting something different. It is retraining the brain to be at ease in the world and not send pain to protect our kids at every turn.

Do you want to start taking small steps with support so that your child can start living more consistently without pain hijacking their plans?

I would love to help you. Just imagine where you could be at this time next year if you start taking small steps now!

Get in touch to learn more.

~ Carla Friesen

Licensed Psychotherapist, Pain Coach

© 2022

The general contents of this website are provided solely for educational and informational purposes and are not meant to provide professional medical or psychiatric advice, counselling or therapeutic services.

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