An Overlooked Cause of Poor Behavior in Children

Aug 13, 2023

There’s no denying that motherhood and raising children bring so much joy into our lives. Seeing them grow, develop and turn into tiny little humans is truly a miracle to witness. As Mamas, it often feels like our love for our children is infinite- growing deeper and deeper every day. But on the other side of that are the many challenges that this part of life also brings.

We know that it is normal for children to become emotional and cranky at times. Children have emotional needs just like us, and when they are tired, hungry, dehydrated, or out of their normal routines, behavior can sometimes go sideways. They are also very sensitive and tend to react to our emotions. Reactions in parents and then subsequent emotional outbursts from children are just part of life, and any mama can tell you that the day-to-day juggle is REAL!

But one cause of tantrums and meltdowns that is often overlooked by parents is hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar! In fact, low blood sugar can indeed have a dramatic impact on mood and behavior. The reason for this is that when glucose levels drop too low in the blood, the brain becomes deprived of sufficient glucose, and cortisol and adrenaline levels spike. This can happen if your child hasn’t eaten enough or isn’t eating often enough to maintain adequate blood sugar levels. As hypoglycemia starts to develop, you’ll likely start to observe a deterioration in your child’s behavior. They may become sad, irritable, cranky, sleepy, and/or struggle to concentrate.

If this does happen, it’s an opportunity to take note. Although this kind of poor behavior in your child can be stressful to deal with, it’s a sign that something deeper is going on that needs to be addressed immediately. Offering your child a snack or providing a meal in these more acute situations can be a fantastic action step to try and improve the situation. You may be surprised to see how eating something may improve their emotional state more quickly than you think! 

One rule of thumb to keep in mind is that ideally, you want to be offering your child something to eat every 1-2 hours. After the 2-hour mark, generally speaking, blood sugar levels start to drop. Full meals do not need to be eaten at each interval. A bite of an apple or a sip of a smoothie can sometimes be enough to keep things level. To make things easier, consider packing to-go snacks when you are out and about to prevent crashes. An additional thing to note is that this grazing technique of eating is also a fantastic way to support and protect your child’s nervous system as well as their adrenal glands- keeping them both strong and healthy.

Eat these Foods to Stabilize Blood Glucose Levels:

Now that we’ve established that eating frequently throughout the day is essential to helping prevent poor behavioral episodes in children, the question now is whether or not there are ideal foods to eat to stabilize blood sugar levels.

And the answer is yes! Ideally, each feeding period should contain a balance of potassium, sodium, and natural glucose (ie. Fruit, potatoes, squash, honey, dates, etc.). The following are some excellent examples of blood sugar supportive snacks for children that can help to prevent temper tantrums and poor behavior.

1. Dates, celery sticks, and apples

2. Banana, spinach, and coconut water (blend into a smoothie for ease)

3. Berries, honey, and celery juice

4. Orange juice, avocado, and spinach

If it’s too much to worry about what foods are notably high in potassium, sodium, and glucose respectively, things can be made easier by eating a snack or meal that contains a balance of both healthy glucose and mineral salts (ie. Fruit/potatoes/squash and leafy greens/ veggies/herbs). Glucose combined with mineral salts will be sufficient to balance blood sugar levels and protect the adrenals and nervous system in your child.

So if temper tantrums or poor behavior is something you are dealing with on a regular basis with your child, consider incorporating the grazing technique of eating into your daily routine. This may turn out to be just the thing your child needs to be overall happier and healthier!

However, I’d like to briefly mention that if you are finding that tantrums are happening frequently and aren’t improving significantly by working to stabilize your child’s blood sugar levels, the next step would be to consider the role that the presence of heavy metals in the body (specifically in the brain) plays in poor mood and behavior. Heavy metals within the body can wreak havoc on our emotional and mental state, and working to remove them can greatly improve these areas of health.

In this case, consider offering your child the Medical Medium Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie on a daily basis in smoothie or in popsicle form, or having your child eat the ingredients separately throughout the day.Also, focus on providing your child other foods that promote heavy metal removal, such as melons, dates, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, artichokes, wild blueberry juice, and aloe, to name a few.

Sometimes, when we work to change up our daily routines and improve the health of ourselves and our loved ones, things can get a bit overwhelming. It’s a learning process! Take one step at a time. You’ve got this, mama. Every little bit counts and will add up over time. And if you need additional help with implementing what we discussed in this article or with improving your and your family’s health, check out the Empowered Moms course (Live this September!) and our Monthly Empowered Moms Subscription with Live teaching and community. 

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