Practical Parenting

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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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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A Place to Rest

Posted by on Nov 15, 2014 in Practical Parenting | 1 comment

Boy, do we keep running! The DNA of western culture is laced with anxiety and keeps us in constant motion. Everywhere we look there are subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) messages that “we must never be satisfied with simply keeping up with the Jones’; we must surpass them!” The result is that our nervous systems rarely come to a state of rest and our bodies and minds suffer through a life of chronic stress.   Mommy’s stress is baby’s stress Ask yourself, “Is this the life you want for your children?” Here are a few of the physical ailments...

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The 2 Kinds of Limit-Setting

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 in Practical Parenting | 0 comments

Limit setting comes in two major flavors: everyday limit setting and limits that reset the emotional system.   Let me help you find your way, my love.   Everyday limit setting has many faces such as Distraction — “No, no…(as you take away the coin your baby is about to swallow). Look at this (handing her a teething ring instead).” Giving choice within the limit — “Do you want to wear the red pants or the blue pants?” (Hidden boundary: you are going to wear pants to the park) Providing reasons for the limit — “You can’t go to the park...

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