Understanding Amygdala Hijack: How to Help Children Through Meltdowns, Tantrums and Shutdowns

July 6, 2024

Parents, the way we respond to our children's behavior is crucial, especially when raising neurodiverse children. One important concept to understand is the amygdala hijack.

The amygdala is the part of the brain responsible for our fight, flight, or freeze response. When it perceives a threat, it can take over, causing intense emotional reactions—this is known as an amygdala hijack.

When your child experiences an amygdala hijack, they are not able to think rationally or process information calmly. Instead of reacting with frustration or anger, which can escalate the situation, it’s essential to approach them with empathy and understanding.


Stay Calm: Your calmness can help soothe their heightened emotions.

Validate Feelings: Acknowledge their feelings without judgment.

Create a Safe Space: Ensure they feel safe and supported to help them return to a state of calm.

You cannot fight an amygdala hijack and expect positive results. Compassionate and understanding responses are key. Therefore, the lens through which you parent is critical. By understanding the amygdala hijack, you can better support your neurodiverse child and help them navigate their emotions more effectively.

Together, we can foster a more supportive and nurturing environment for our children. ❤️‍🩹

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