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The Beginning, The Hardest Part

Hello there and Happy New Year!

This is the beginning and the beginning is always the hardest part of any enterprise, especially in raising children.

Where do I start? There are so many parenting issues that are crucial in order to raise children in an environment where they thrive and flourish, where they grow in stature and self-esteem, and where they leap forward into a life of accomplishment, compassion, and civility.

Maybe I should begin with the Brain, since that is the engine of the body. Yes, let us begin here together with the brain. We will start a foot path and this journey, I promise you, will open to a boulevard, as the forest does when the leaves drop from their trees in winter.

The most rapid brain growth for children occurs between the ages of birth and three. It is essential to understand how the brain works in order to parent your child. The Trium Brain Model was developed by Paul MacLean in the 1960’s to explain how the brain evolved. This simplified understanding of the brain became an influential theory amongst psychologists and some neuroscientists. As it turns out we don’t have one brain but three, as the name for the model suggests. These  3 brains are all layered on top of each other and were developed during the different stages of evolution. This stuff is fascinating!

They are defined as follows:

  1. The Old Brain or Instinctive Mind: Known as the ‘R-complex’, or reptilian brain, is primarily concerned with your survival. It scans environments for threats and benefits. It controls instinctual behavior and is in charge of automatic functions such as heart beats, digestion, movement, and breathing.
  2. The Mid Brain or Emotional Mind: Known as the Limbic System, or mammalian brain, is the primary seat of emotions, memories, and attention. This is where your emotions are produced and where positive or negative feelings arise. The mid brain includes the amygdala, which is involved in connecting events with emotion and the hippocampus. The hippocampus is responsible for memory recall and converting information into memories.
  3. The New Brain or Analytical Mind : Known as the neocortex this is the logical part of the brain that involves rational thoughts, thinking skills, language, and speech processing.

The Trium Brain Model theory contends we are only fully conscious of our new brain, the neocortex. Our mid brain, limbic system, and old brain, reptilian, are largely unconscious. Amazing!

Our unconscious is incredibility efficient, smart, and useful. Neuroscientists have estimated that our five senses receive 11  million pieces of information every second with our conscious brain only processing around 40 pieces. The rest is being assessed by the unconscious automatically. THE UNCONSCIOUS BRAIN HELPS YOU TO DETERMINE WHAT YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO WITH YOUR CONSCIOUS BRAIN. Your child’s decision making behavior is greatly influenced by the unconscious brain.

Parenting  our children requires us to be talking to all three brains for best developmental results; physical, emotional, and mental.

Last,

Children in the first year of life are attached to their primary caregivers, their parents. Children listen, observe, and learn from parental expressions and gestures. It is the brain-to-brain interaction that is necessary for infants so they may later control and understand their emotions. At this crucial time it is essential that children avoid watching videos or TV. This prevents interaction with their parents and leads to delayed language and intellectual development.

“Neuroscience proves that playing, touching, paying attention to, or talking at a level that comforts an infant are the building blocks for healthy infant brain development,” says Dr. Stuart Shanker, York University, Canada.

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