What happens if our fight/flight/freeze system gets stuck? Introduction to Fred part 2

Once children are able to recognize the physical signs in their body that Fred is out, they can begin the process of managing their system.

Teaching children that Fred is always trying to help them is the key to preventing negative thoughts towards their bodies. For example, many children and adults feel victimized by the physical sensations they experience in their body when under stress. They may begin to tell themselves a story about how their body is betraying them. Understanding that their body is working for them and trying to communicate with them is a crucial shift in thinking and will influence how they respond to the uncomfortable physical symptoms that occur when Fred is released unnecessarily.

The physical symptoms are numerous and may include butterflies in the stomach, sweating, pounding heart, nausea, headache, and stomach ache. Children can learn to go through the process of putting Fred away once they realize he’s been released. They begin by asking themselves what the secret service agent perceived as a threat. This could be something as simple as a homework assignment. They would then realize that when the secret service agent asked them if the assignment was a threat, they inadvertently told her that it was. She then did her job and released Fred to protect them from the immediate physical threat to their body represented by the assignment.

Children then work backward and begin by thanking Fred. They tell him how much they appreciate him but that there’s been a mistake and there is actually no physical danger at the moment. They then explain to the secret service agent that they were unaware of her question and inadvertently acknowledged the threat as real. Now, working all together, Fred can be put away until he’s really needed. Children learn these steps easily after having them modelled several times.

Once Fred has been put away, the discussion between parent and child is where the personal growth and new behaviour patterns can be solidified. Reflecting on why Fred would be released unnecessarily is an important component in learning how to prevent it from happening in the future. For example, children may realize that anytime they don’t get what they want, they perceive it as a threat to their physical safety. This can also occur in many other circumstances, such as when they are faced with a challenging assignment, or upon losing their phone, or any time they enter an unfamiliar environment. The steps of putting Fred away, reflecting, and then engaging in an activity that connects one to Source is a lifelong practice. Learning how to do this as a child and creating strong neural pathways can prevent this system from becoming stuck in a cycle causing needless suffering in the future.