Its both awesome and sobering to discover that some common parenting techniques can have a direct effect on the wiring and long-term chemical balance in children's brains. So many grown-ups can't manage stress well. Because no one helped them enough with stress and distress in childhood, they never set up effective stress-regulating systems in their brains. It is very scary to know that some accepted ways of dealing with children in our society can leave them vulnerable, suffering from anxiety, or rage later in life.
The statistics are alarming, about 40,000 children in the UK are taking antidepressants, and the World Health Organization reports that depression in adults will soon reach epidemic proportions. More than half of all children have experienced bullying at school, and 17,000 children in the UK are excluded from school each year for bad behavior.
In search for the causes, it was found that child neglect, child abuse, and the effects of financial hardship were the main causes. Well, that's the sobering part. The good news is that we can use this knowledge to prevent unnecessary suffering. In my blog posts, I will go deeper into harnessing research that shows how everyday parenting can contribute to this widespread misery, and what we can do to change that and raise healthy children. I'll be showing you how certain styles of parenting can have a positive effect on the stress systems in your child's brain and body so that whatever life throws up, your child will be able to manage stress well.
Particular ways of responding to your child will establish pathways in their brain to enable them to manage emotions well, think rationally under pressure and calm themselves down without recourse to angry outbursts, attacks of anxiety or, in later life, alcohol, smoking and drugs. It is not a matter of genes as to whether a child develops the higher human capacities of problem-solving, self-awareness, the ability to react well under stress, empathy, kindness, and concern. But there are styles of parenting that can dramatically influence these crucial developments.
Parenting power can affect children's ability to live life to the fullest, helping them to develop the will to follow things through from idea to reality. So many people go through life only pursuing short-term pleasures such as food, sex and material goods, because they haven't developed the capacity for long-term satisfaction in this way.
We'll be exploring ways of parenting that enable your child to be moved and touched by people and events, able to stand and drink in the experience when faced with something remarkable, rather than always thinking of the next thing or the last thing. So many people go through life without feeling it fully. We'll be exploring how to help activate key systems in the brain to do with curiosity, and drive, and build your child's enduring capacity to explore and embrace life. We will look at ways to foster creativity as people tend to put away their creativity and imagination in adulthood, and then fail to imagine more expansive ways of being or dream the dreams necessary to bear the richest fruit in their lives.
Let me take you on a journey of parenting power that can help nurture networks in a child's social brain, with all the skills needed for deep and enduring friendships. I'll be looking at the science of love within families- how to empower a child to grow up to love in peace and enjoy the richest relationships.