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What Does a Freeze Response Look Like?

The freeze response can often be frustrating for parents and educators. It can appear as if the child is “ignoring” you and not listening at all. ⁣

However, what may be happening is a biological response to a trigger in the environment. Perhaps they are anxious when you call on them for an answer. So the student says nothing and refuses to answer the question. This could be due to the response of their body to the fear. This is very common in children with a history of trauma. ⁣

Also, you may tell the child it is time to leave to go somewhere else (school, event). The child may simply sit there and not get ready or move towards the door. The child may also not speak during this time. The freeze response can make that difficult. ⁣

Instead, allow for time to wait for the child to move through this. You may remind them of familiar coping skills such as breathing, tapping, grounding, or other activities that can help them focus on the present moment. They may need extra support from you to move through this stage. You may also see them enter fight/flight as well. Again, coping skills focusing on the present moment will help them move through this as well.

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