We are amidst an unprecedented time in history with the outbreak of Covid-19. Many of our families have had the means to be able to stay home with your children during this time. Let me say that we here at the center truly miss seeing your little ones every day! I know the children we do have miss playing with all their friends each day. We cannot wait for things to go back to the norm and have a center full of fun and laughter again.
I would like to continue our discussion on No-Drama Discipline. Many of you who are at home each day with your children may have had some opportunities to stop and think about your discipline philosophy. I want to move forward with discussing our brain as it relates to discipline. Brain research is one of my favorite topics to discuss. The brain is extremely fascinating! Before we can discipline our children appropriately, we must first have an understanding of the human brain. The book – No Drama Discipline – introduces three foundational discoveries about the brain. They call them the “Brain C’s”
The first C they discuss is The Brain is Changing. The brain is changing every day with the new experiences that we encounter. Let’s break down the brain some. The authors describe the brain as a house that is under construction. First you have the ‘downstairs’ which is made up of the brainstem and the limbic system. This part of the brain is responsible for the fundamental brain operations. The ‘downstairs' of the brain is where we get our strong emotions, basic instincts, and basic functions needed such as breathing and digestion. This part of the brain is what causes a toddler to throw a tantrum when they don’t get their way. The brainstem is well-developed from birth. It is important to understand the difference between the ‘downstairs’ from the ‘upstairs’ portions of the brain, especially when trying to understand your child’s tantrums. The ‘upstairs’ brain is responsible for the more complex thinking. This part is not yet developed at birth but does start to grow during these younger years. The ‘upstairs’ part of the brain is where the cerebral cortex is located. This area of the brain is what allows us to make better decisions, regulate emotions, and have empathy - all qualities that our little ones just don’t quite have yet. Understanding these two different parts of the brain is essential in understanding our children’s points of view before we decide on how we are going to discipline. We need to make sure we are meeting the children where they are at developmentally.
Knowing this, I want to challenge you as you are at home with your children to stop and think about where your child is coming from when they misbehave. Remind yourself that their little brains, although developing rapidly during this time, is not that of an adult’s brain. Once we understand where our children’s brain development is, we will be more capable of disciplining them while still honoring the child and the relationship.
Next month we will dive into the second Brain C – The Brain is Changeable.
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