Before embarking on a change what's your normal-to additive free foods, it’s helpful for families to start discovering their level of normal behaviour.  It’s an easy way to increase awareness of possible food sensitivities in your household.  Reading PART ONE of this blog will help make the behaviours related to food additive sensitivities a little less mysterious, so let’s move right along to what questions can help determine if your family needs to create a new normal.

6 questions to ask yourself about your child’s behaviour:

  1. What sort of behaviours are you most concerned about with your child?
    Is it the tantrums? the aggression? Do their ears seem to be painted on and they don’t listen at all? Or things are just way too teary and out of control?  What are the biggest issues?
  2. How often do you find your child’s behaviour is extreme and unwelcome in a day/week
    Once a day, twice a day, every day?
  3. Are you noticing the brief calm moments are rare compared to the behavioural problems?
    If there’s no break from the chaos and peace is an illusive dream, perhaps a new normal is a good thing?!
  4. Do you notice any of the behaviours listed in question 1 are the same as those associated with food sensitivities Listed here.?
    If any ring true or particularly stand out as issues you have in your household, we’re on the right track.
  5. Are you finding you are constantly stressed and upset about your child’s behaviour? 
    If you’re finding each day;
    – involves an argument or defiance of some sort, or
    – you’re constantly repeating yourself to get the little things done
    (such as packing a school bag and getting to school on time),
    – you’re finding the nagging happens every day, and/your kids aren’t going to bed or to sleep easily//(and possibly still wide awake after 9pm)..it’s most likely that your normal is a measurement of food sensitivities, and as a parent, you’re tired and exhausted.  It’s bound to be taxing on your energy and ability to be the best person and parent you can be. //Every child is different. And there’s definitely a time and place for diagnoses such as ADHD, however this blog is about answering the average family’s common question – Is my child’s behaviour normal?  The contents of my last blog and the first 5 questions above give you the parameters to work within, but it doesn’t really take into account the unique individuality of your child and family.So my final question to you is:
  6. Are you happy with your family’s normal?

Because that’s what it comes down to…

If you’re feeling at the end of your tether, or constantly searching for reassurance that your child’s behaviour is normal, perhaps it’s time to create a new normal.  One that you’re happy with, that you’re able to cope with and that highlights your beautiful children for who they really are – not what behavioural issues they have.  With the right foods and management of behaviours, a calm and happy household is possible and can become the new normal.

What about age differences?

So far, I’ve given a general guide to possible behavioural issues associated with food sensitivities, but there’s no real detail into different age groups.  It’s the next common question parents have with regards to this topic:

At what age will we start to notice symptoms of food sensitivities and how do we know it’s not just a stage they’re going through?

Food sensitivities occur in people of all ages, but children are most susceptible to them as their little pure bodies are not used to unnatural additives and/or haven’t developed the appropriate enzymes etc to digest certain natural food ingredients.  As soon as your child starts eating foods, you can start noticing the effects and links between foods and moods.

Whilst all children develop atwhat next- different times, there are a few general guidelines at different age levels for normal and ‘outside the normal’ boundaries of behaviour.  This is a really complex area of psychology and the content could fill several books (and does!).  As we’re dealing with the topic of behaviours and how normal ones differ from food sensitivities, I will be rather general and give these guidelines for age groups.

Between the ages of 2-6 years, kids are starting to become aware of different emotions and need guidance to learn how to deal with them.  So tantrums and extreme emotions can be quite normal as they test the boundaries, work out how to deal with emotions and start learning about independence and choice.  Whilst it’s harder to see the difference between ‘just being a stage of development’ and a food sensitivity, it again comes down to severity and quantity.  If they’re learning and growing without additives to mess with their emotions and behaviours, these behavioral problems should not happen so frequently that it’s a common occurrence.

If, by the age of 8-11 years, your child hasn’t begun to grasp the basics of impulse control (ie: able to control aggressive behaviours and stop and think and make choices about extreme behaviours and reactions to situtations), is struggling to deal with emotions (ie: how to calm down when feeling angry, sad, etc and overly emotional at ‘the little things’), and is unable to follow basic discipline most of the time, it’s likely your child’s behaviours are starting to get outside the ‘normal’ realms of behaviours for that age group and are possibly being caused by other issues such as food sensitivities.

By age 11-13 years, the common behavioural issues associated with food sensitivities should be quite controllable.  The occasional behavioural issues still present should merely be arising from the ‘normal’ need to assert complete independence in choice, responsibility and actions with foods.  If not, again, it’s likely there’s a need to look further into the possible causes for these behaviours as they could be related to food additives.

What are common behavioural neverchangeyourlifeissues for each age group?  Is it just a stage they’re going through?

Again, it’s worth reminding that this is a complex area, and individual differences in development can play a part, so it is best to keep a check on your own personal experiences and measure whether your current family level of normal behaviour is right for you.

If your kids are eating foods Listed here, and showing some of the behaviours Listed here. then the way they’re behaving at the moment is quite possibly normal…for kids with food sensitivities.  But it doesn’t have to be your normal! And the sooner we start to recognize these symptoms in our kids, the easier it is to make the change to additive free foods.

So where to next?  
If you would like to talk more about recognizing food sensitivities, please send in your questions.  It does help to talk to other parents and find out how they are coping and what’s normal for them, so please share your experiences by commenting below or continuing the conversation on facebook and together we can support each other.

The next step is to start the change to create a new normal…but where to start? Hmmm…sounds like a great topic for a blog!  Stay tuned 🙂

Loren x
The Food Werewolf