Essential Development

Burning Out Instead of Tuning In

Posted by on May 4, 2017 in Essential Development | 1 comment

Lets face it folks, we are burning out. And our kids are burning out. Why are we burning out?   Peaches constantly needs to be seen Let me give you an overly simplistic explanation that says it all. A 14 year-old girl named Everly was feeling lonely and so she opened her ipad and began posting on crackbook. She put up a really cute picture of herself with a witty caption underneath extolling her “amazing” Hawaii trip. She had no idea why she really posted that ad, but would probably answer something about ‘being real, authentic, showing the world who she is’ if asked. In truth,...

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When Development Becomes Stunted

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in Essential Development, Practical Parenting | 1 comment

One of our primary jobs as parents is supporting the natural developmental processes at work within our children. And the core of this is helping their hearts remain open and capable of facing vulnerability. “Emotion is the engine of maturation.” Gordon Neufeld Over the last few blogs, I have written about the general costs of a hardened heart the 3 primary ways a heart becomes hardened the 3 categories of brain defenses we use to continue functioning in stressful situations In this blog, I will focus more specifically on what capacities a child loses if her heart becomes...

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3 Ways the Brain Protects

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Essential Development, Practical Parenting | 2 comments

When vulnerable feelings begin to overwhelm us, our brain steps in to save the day. The brain protecting itself from distress It is wonderful that we have brain mechanisms to protect us when we feel too vulnerable. These defenses allow us to continue functioning in the face of stress. But these defenses can also be a curse. Lets start by looking at vulnerability. The word “vulnerability” has many meanings depending on how it’s used. In the physical dimension, vulnerability means “to be susceptible to attack or invasion.” On the emotional level it is often used as...

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3 Ways the Heart Becomes Hardened

Posted by on Dec 10, 2014 in Essential Development, Practical Parenting | 3 comments

A child whose heart has become hardened has more trouble learning, more behavioral and relationship problems, and their development slows down. So how does a child’s heart become “hardened?”   “…the common denominator across a myriad of problems, syndromes and disorders.” Gordon Neufeld   To review from last weeks blog, vulnerability — the ability to be touched and moved by life — is a pivotal factor in the development of ones personality, the ability to learn, and in self-regulation and behavior. More to the point, when a child loses the...

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The Cost of a Hardened Heart

Posted by on Dec 9, 2014 in Essential Development | 0 comments

We all harden our hearts from time to time. But if our hardness becomes chronic, we suffer and cause suffering to others.   Self-protection can severely limit our lives   Vulnerability has become a dirty word in our culture, largely because it has become synonymous with weakness. But nothing could be farther from the truth. To be vulnerable is to allow yourself to be touched, moved, impacted. Yes, this sometimes means we feel difficult feelings such as disappointment, pain, and rejection: we are susceptible to feeling “wounded” when we are vulnerable. But as most wisdom...

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Give the Gift of Gratitude

Posted by on Dec 2, 2014 in Essential Development, Practical Parenting | 0 comments

We live in a country where the average kid gets 70 new toys every year. Do you think that leads to gratitude?   “The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” William James   It has been observed that the more people get, the less we value what we have. This means less enjoyment, less gratitude, and a less open heart. Consider the following data on gratitude (summarized by Dr. Christine Carter in Raising Happiness): People who practice...

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