Welcome to Whatmakesyoutick.
When we arrived in this world we had no idea that how our parents responded to us as infants would shape our whole life.
Perhaps, if your parents had known then what we now know about what goes on in an infant’s brain, based on the latest neurobiological data, your life would be very different than it is now.
Most Moms want to do the best for their babies. Unfortunately parenting may come naturally but it doesn’t necessarily come correctly.
For those who want to do the best for their infants and children and understand why you behave the way you do, watch the 12 minute video below to help you understand this more. (Just click on the screen below.)
However it may be an idea to click on the Infants page either before or after you watch the DVD and read the article entitled Informed Choices for more information as some mothers have taken the video as a personal attack rather than something that can help future generations.
(If you have a question after watching the DVD click on FAQ on the right of the page under Home.)
I probably speak to five or so parents a month about their child or teenager who is out of control, is depressed, over anxious or is self harming. Unfortunately in many cases the damage was done in infanthood or early childhood and the child or teenager now needs counselling. Sometimes these cases exist because they treated their infants in ways described in the video you have just watched but in many cases it was because the parents believed that parenting came naturally and figured they would do just what came naturally. Unfortunately parenting may come naturally but that doesn’t mean it comes correctly. And while they love their infants or kids, the infants or kids don’t get the love they need – they get the love the parents think they need to give them.
I would like to mention something that can make a HUGE difference to a child’s wellbeing. In my view the biggest mistake parents make is in their communication with a child or infant. Thanks to neuroscience we now know a lot more about a child’s brain and how it develops. Infant’s brains only come ‘on line’ around about three so there is no way they can make sense of what is happening around them before then. They rely on the cues of their parents to help them handle their anxieties. They get a fright, cry out in alarm and simultaneously check to see the reaction of their parent. If the parent is in bits then it is time for a major panic. If, though, they see the parent is unperturbed and calm they start to settle down. What so many parents don’t do while they comfort their child is tell the child just what happened that upset them. For example: ‘you got a big fright when the doggie went woof’ or ‘I can see you are really angry because mommy had to warm your bottle and kept you waiting’. While the infant is not understanding the words, at some level of consciousness it is being registered and being made sense of along with the comforting demeanour of the parent.
It’s so important that we understand that from the moment we are born there is a haphazard mass of energy called emotion that is all over the place and that we need to make sense of it, especially when those emotions/feelings are overwhelming. Parents need to help us understand these out of control emotions and that they are a part of us. If they don’t help us do that we become overwhelmed by them and disown them by burying them in our unconscious mind.
Only in doing this we are reducing our power and effectiveness in dealing with life!
Here are a couple more examples of how parents can help their children: Eight year old Ann comes running into the kitchen where her mom is cooking. Sobbing, she says ‘Mommy, Helen (aged 11) says that I can’t play with them because I am too young’. Mother has two choices, she can either say, ‘you must be feeling hurt and rejected by what Helen’s said – let me give you a cuddle’ OR she could say ‘oh you’re a big girl now, you don’t need to cry – here have a cookie’. What would you like to hear? The first I am sure, as your totally natural feelings, which are a part of you, are being acknowledged. To not have those big feelings acknowledged causes them to be buried and is likely to affect one’s mental health later in life. Another example would be a Dad who has just told his angry son that he cannot go out until he has done his homework, ‘I can understand you are angry but we made an agreement about homework and agreements in this family stick’ as opposed to, ‘don’t you dare raise your voice to me’. Again the emotion/feeling is being acknowledged which helps him understand this emotion. It is a part of who he is. Repressed anger may later come depression etc.
What I suggest to my clients who are having trouble with their kids is that they acknowledge the upset feelings – ‘I can see you are disappointed – upset – distressed – overwhelmed’ etc (pick the feeling/emotion that you think is causing the behaviour) and take it from there. The more we help our kids make sense of their emotions the more stable they will be in later life. I cover this in my book ‘Happiness – Who Wants It? in detail along with other empathic methods.
25th April 2012. I have put together a more informative/ expanded video/presentation about raising infants and/or children – visit the Presentations (click presentations) or go to the PRESENTATIONS toolbar above. It’s entitled ‘ Using Neuroscience Breakthroughs to Ensure a Better Life for your Child’.
As you can see the first step to help ourselves and our children is to increase our awareness as to what goes on inside our minds. Click here to find out more.