Understanding the brain and its amazing mirror neurons will help you develop your child to be well behaved, well mannered and intelligent adults.
Though my best memories as a youth are faint and come from days my Mother didn’t yell, I remember the days she did, vividly. To this day I still wonder if her high volume drove me to become a better person, or did it truly destroy my self -esteem?
As a result of my mother’s actions, around the age of 8, I gained an interest in Psychology. Of course I was young and didn’t understand fully why, I myself was seeing a Child Psychologist. I was sure my mom needed one; Please don’t get me wrong here, I love my mother very much and hold no grudges against her. She was raised in the same setting she brought me up in. I completely understand she was doing as she was taught, never meaning to hurt me or bring me down as far as she did.
As many of my friends from high school were entering their last year of college, I was welcoming my first Child. I can even go as far to say, the instant my daughter was born is the exact moment I remembered my dreams of Child Psychology. Looking at her beautiful smile, big blue eyes and curly blond hair, I know I could never make her feel pain and emptiness as I did. So with this, I say thank you mom for giving me the desire to continue my education in Child Psychology. Fifteen years later, I look back and know my mother’s criticism, outburst and putdowns really did benefit me for the better. I learned from her mistakes.
Now I ask myself do I want my Children to explore the same emotions as I did for there benefit.
It is true we learn from our mistakes in the long run as we become adults, but as children what we learn sticks with us for life and determines who we are. Now the question is how do we develop our Children and guide them on the right path?
There is a god given tool to help us develop, teach and improve our children’s lives by looking at ourselves and our own actions.
Let me explain!
Have you ever been so close to someone in your life a sibling, friend, even your child, that there emotional status transfers to you? When this person is feeling down, having a bad day do you feel their pain? The word for this definition is Empathy. Like the word love, Empathy has a much deeper meaning then a simple explanation. Where does empathy come from, and why does it affect us?
In the 80’s Dr. Giacomo Rizzolatti an Italian Neurophysiologist, discovered in monkeys what he called “mirror neurons”. The same neurons firing in humans have been detected through MRI’s. As our eyes observe an action a signal is sent to our motor neurons, our motor neurons then transfer the a signal to the corresponding nerves and muscles to repeat the action. A good example of this would be a NASCAR driver, they are taught from the very beginning, if their car is moving in the wrong direction to look toward the anticipated course; the motor neurons take a send a signal to the proper muscles ending in the desired result. As we observe our loved ones our mirror neurons go to work using the same technique as “motor neurons, firing signals to our go to work, mirroring, hence the name, their actions, feelings and emotions.
When your loved one is down, take a lesson from our out of control NASCAR driver, we can learn to look in the direction we want to obtain and achieve the desired results. Of course we need to let them release the cause by giving them a loving supportive ear to vent. Then guide them on a different path by being an example of the result. We must change our mood the match the feelings we desire for them.
Now let’s apply this to raising our children in the manner we wish for them.
If you sit on the couch yelling at your child to quiet down, you know this is only going to raise frustration in your child, resulting in a screaming match. Now try this, gently look your child in the eyes and whisper, hush, its quiet time, the results will amaze you. Raising your children to be well behaved, well mannered and intelligent adults comes down to this: Lead by example, your child is going to mirror everything you do!