24 Jan Your baby is being hypnotized…..
You probably know that a blue-eyed baby got their eye color from both mom and their dad (it requires one gene from each parent to express this recessive trait). But did you know that your child can inherit your emotional responses too? And there is science to explain why this is so.
From birth through age six, our brain waves resemble the hypnotic state. These are the delta and theta brain wave states that predominate childhood (no wonder “they” say children’s brains are sponges). This means our babes brains are completely open to impressions and programming. Essentially, much of the neurology we have as adults is set before we are 6 years old.
The same reason your baby can learn to walk and run, pull a zipper, and speak an entire language (or more) at the same time is because their brain is completely absorbent. Learning occurs through immersion and under the level of consciousness. Analytical thought develops later, after the stage is set.
Our early childhood experiences mold our brain structure and function. Your desire to take your kids to the lake you visited every summer as a child comes out of the pleasure and security your brain was programmed with from those fun summer trips. You went every year so your brain has a neuronal pathway that brings forth feelings of contentment every time you even think about your amazing cannonballs into Lake Okebogee.
This is because when experiences elicit strong feelings they become a base pattern of our neurology. Emotions are chemicals and those chemicals wash through the brain and build a system of response. If there’s repetition of emotional states in certain situations, they tend to become a strong default operating system of the young brain. And then we grow up with this program.
It can work in the opposite way too. If every single time you see Aunt Patsy’s chihuahua throughout childhood your mom pulls you away in fear, your nervous system learns that dogs are unsafe.
The brain begins to respond automatically. If the emotion is repeated it becomes a stronger imprint (most of this is unconsciously recorded, by the way). You’re likely to have a similar physiological reaction to what you were emotionally programmed with. So now now as adult you have a neural pathway for fear of dogs and you were never even bitten by one! If Mama had agreed that the chihuahua was the cuddliest thing on the planet, you’d feel much safer around the little yapper — and other dogs.
Hot tip, mama:
Wash your baby’s brain in calm and confidence,
lather, rinse, and repeat.
Parents often approach a sick or injured kid with fear, reactivity, drama, anxiety and scared energy. And most kids don’t just get hurt or have a sore throat once, it happens repeatedly. Each time, your kids don’t think, “Oh, my mom is just scared because she doesn’t know what’s happening,” they think, “Being sick is scary.” They then carry that into adulthood.
So…..clearly we have a lot of influence on the developing brains of our children. This open, receptive and developing brain is ripe for building body confidence and trust in our body’s ability to heal. The good news is that you have a huge opportunity to immerse your child in a culture of wellness! I love to teach parents to create a healthy operating system around how kids view their bodies and their symptoms.
Every symptom that is met with fear can become your kid’s default as an adult. Illness will evoke feelings and thoughts of fear if you as a parent meet every cold, flu and bruise with high drama and reactive behavior.
I want to teach you how to manage your influence. Let’s build an empowered operating system, mamas!
Here are 2 simple tools:
- Choose the emotion you will hold when your child is in pain, has an illness or an injury.
Confident or chaotic. Calm or afraid. Loud or quiet. Intentional or reactionary. Drama or steadiness. Consciously model the behavior you want your child to be held in. (If you feel really scared it could be your navigation system telling you to get to the ER, but you can still do it in a focused and non-scary way.)
- Describe what is happening without making symptoms into a crisis.
This will not only remove intense emotion from the situation but will provide your child with language they can use to describe what they see and feel happening in their body in the future. Fevers can be described as housecleaning, coughing as sandblasting the lungs, and feeling sick as a reset.There’s a real difference, too, between, “Oh my gosh, I’ve never seen a deeper gash!” and “You have a cut deep into your thumb.” Or, “You’re burning up!” versus “Looks like your fever is working to burn away the virus.”
When you were a kid, your doctor used to give you a lollipop. When you are teaching your kid healing habits, your “lollipop” can be a hug, a confident attitude, and soothing, empowering, or neutral words. Then your baby’s spongy brain will soak up your loving presence and grow with a healthy imprint of trust.
What are things you say to your kids when you want to help them feel better (even if you’re a bit freaked)? Share in the comments below.