Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Brain Rules for Baby: The soil for a happy baby

A strong bond or attachment between baby and parent is important for them to grow up happy and leads to less emotional conflict, more empathy, and better grades.  How parents deal with their child's emotional life has the greatest effect on their future happiness.

6 Parental Behaviors for Dealing with Emotions
1.  A demanding but warm parenting style (authoritative) that involves good communication with your children
     a.  Responsive: give kids support, warmth, and acceptance; communicate affection (rather than rejection)
     b.  Demanding: control behavior by making and enforcing rules consistently; clearly explain rules and encourage independence while still complying with family values

2.  Comfort with your own emotions: setting an example for kids so they can learn to be comfortable with theirs

3.  Tracking your child's emotions (watch, listen and respond) without smothering or helicoptering

4.  Verbalizing emotions: Be able to label your feelings and teach your child to label theirs - this teaches self-soothing which helps them focus and have successful relationships
     a.  Surprisingly, studying music for at least 10 years starting before the age of 7 can help children more easily recognize emotional cues

5.  Running towards emotions - parents who do this:
     a.  Don't judge emotions
     b.  Acknowledge the reflexive nature of emotions (rather than denying/ignoring their existence)
     c.  Know that behavior is a choice, but an emotion is not - help kids to understand that they have a choice in how they express their emotions
     d.  See a crisis as a teachable moment

6.  Two tons of empathy: verbalize a child's feelings, validate them, and show you understand  - this works because empathy calms people down

Next up: a moral baby...

1 comment:

  1. Julie Park2:21 PM

    yes! Nat is so much more responsive and calms down so much faster when we label her feelings and let her know that the way she is feeling is totally ok. we do discuss appropriate actions when she is feeling angry (she may not hit us, but she may hit the pillow or the bed) so that she has an acceptable outlet. i'm also a big believer in apologizing to her when i mess up and have my own little tantrum. we're only human and we all make mistakes and as long as we can own up and try better next time, it's all good!