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Encouraging Positive Behaviours In Your Child
The purpose of this article is to show you a number of simple and effective techniques for creating positive and healthy behaviours in your child.
In order to understand why the techniques in this article work you need a quick overview of a small part of the brain known as the thalamus. The thalamus is located in the brains limbic system more commonly known as the emotional brain and is critical to memory and emotions. When you take in information from the external environment using your senses of sight, sound, touch and taste all the information is firstly relayed through the thalamus.
If information is routed through the thalamus first before your eyes, ears, taste and touch process the information then this means that your emotions are automatically engaged when you process information. This is why you usually remember what emotionally impacts you.
Understanding how the thalamus works allows you as a parent the opportunity to realize the importance of communicating with your child in a way that produces positive emotions. This has a twofold effect. Firstly those positive emotional experiences will be stored in the long term memory. Secondly, when your child builds enough positive emotional experiences in their long-term memory, their brain can then use these to automatically generate more positive experiences and feelings. The same principal applies to negative emotional experiences. Research has shown that when negatively charged emotional experiences in the long term memory outweigh positive ones, depression and negative thinking can set in.
Techniques for creating positive emotions in your child include:
1. Constantly be on the lookout for ways to praise your child. This can be difficult when you are stressed due to all the demands of parenting. However I would like to encourage you to put on your praising awareness hat each morning and be the Sherlock Holmes of spotting things your child does well. Position your hat so it acts as an antenna that tunes in your awareness to notice the small as well as the larger things your child is doing well.
You may be aware that positive reinforcement is a wonderful way to get your child to repeat a behaviour. Studies over the years have shown that when you praise a behaviour it is likely to be repeated. The same studies have shown that when good behaviours go unnoticed they are usually not repeated. Also if a child believes that they have done a good job and instead of being rewarded they receive criticism they will generally avoid doing that task again. This occurs because as human beings we tend to seek out pleasure and avoid pain.
To get the most out of your praising efforts it is important to relate the praise to a specific event. For example rather than saying ‘you did a great job’. Try ‘you know when you cleaned your room today I really liked the way you packed all your toys so neatly away in the cupboard’. By making it specific the neural connections associated with that particular behaviour will be reinforced. Linking the reinforced behaviour to a positive emotion such as your child feeling good about themselves, will accelerate the rate of reinforcement and therefore permanency of the behaviour.
2. Be mindful of where you may be at.
We discussed earlier the concept ‘you cannot take anyone beyond where you currently are yourself’. Unfortunately we all have stuff which is locked in our unconscious playing itself out in weird and wonderful ways. The purpose here is to assist you and your child to move past the invisible boundaries that can restrict success and happiness.
Our boundaries comprise of our limiting beliefs and usually exist at the subconscious level. Everything in our subconscious plays itself out unconsciously in our actions and behaviours. This silent communicator has the potential to shape the way your child thinks, acts and behaves. Did you know that a child takes on the beliefs of its mother during the second half of the pregnancy?
I would like to encourage you to apply the principles discussed here to yourself as well as your child. Take for example the act of praising your child. How often do you congratulate yourself on doing things well? Compare this to how often you berate yourself when you perceive you haven’t done so well? Then maybe ask yourself ‘what does the balance sheet look like in my long term memory between positive and negative thoughts’?
You may be familiar with the concept of a business balance sheet. On the left hand side is assets and on the right side liabilities. The difference between assets on one side and liabilities on the other equals the businesses net worth. Using this analogy we can say that your assets equal positive thoughts, your liabilities equal negative thoughts and the difference between the two is your self-worth. All businesses in order to succeed need to have a balance sheet where assets are greater than liabilities so that the business has high net worth. The same is true for each of us. Our positive thoughts need to outweigh our negative thoughts to enable us to have high self-worth which translates into success and happiness.
Most people will agree that parenting is one of the most difficult jobs that anyone can take on. Stop now and start focusing on all the wonderful things you are doing to raise your child. Congratulate yourself on everything you are doing well. Take the time out every day to remind yourself of what you are doing well. This will ensure that you create a personal balance sheet with high self-worth.
It is unfortunate as human beings we have a tendency to focus on what we perceive we have not done well and forget about all the wonderful things we have done well. The cost of this way of thinking accumulates every day in lost opportunities for you and your child to live rich and rewarding lives.
We are all works in progress and there may be some things you might want to do differently. This doesn’t take away from what you are doing well, but provides additional growth opportunities for you and your child. We are after all unlimited beings, so the possibilities for growth are endless.
For more information on how to parent in a way that allows your child to live up to their true potential check outParenting Book – What Every Parent Needs To Know
What if it was possible for you to parent in a way that allowed your child to not only excel but be empowered to live a rich and rewarding life? This is not your typical book on how to parent. It is more a little treasure trove of information, tips and techniques on how to unleash the power of your child’s brain to be extraordinary.Keep Reading