Did you ever consider that the way in which you engage with your child, the words you use and the kind of conversations you have, can cause inflammation in the child’s body and brain? We know that what children eat can cause inflammation and increase or decrease symptoms labeled as ADHD. But do you know that the way parents and teachers speak to the child can either worsen their symptoms or play an important role in healing them?
I call these inflammatory conversations.
The other day I was at a children’s birthday party. I became aware of a mom roughly pulling her son by his arm to a corner of the room. She bent down over him and although I could not hear what she was saying, I guessed that she was having a really negative conversation with him. Her whole body was taut, her face was tight, her eyes glared and she was wagging her finger close to his face. The boy was looking down, his body was hunched and he was clearly feeling embarrassed.
I know that, as parents, we all have times when we have negative interactions with our kids. The occasional negative conversation is not a problem. However, parents can be so stressed and pressurized that they may not realize how often they are engaging with the child in a way that is stressful for both the parent and the child. The more often a parent interacts with a child using words and body language and tone of voice that is discouraging, angry, unconstructive, off-putting or negating, the higher the chances are that the child will experience consistently high levels of stress. Chronic stress stimulates high levels of an hormone called Cortisol which can then create inflammation in the body and brain.
Are you having inflammatory conversations with your child?
Inflamed brains cannot pay attention and learn. Here are just some examples of inflammatory language.
“I don’t believe this. Did you not hear a single thing I said?”
“What about ‘don’t do that!’ did you NOT understand?”
“No! No! No!” You never ever do that to your sister!”
“Are you listening? Do you hear me?!”
“How many times have I told you not to …”
“You’re impossible! You drive me crazy.”
“Hurry up! You’re late for a change!”
“Why can’t you ever …”
“Why do you always…”
Think about how often you use this kind of inflammatory language. If it is too often, then it is important that you change the way you communicate because it might not have occurred to you that this could be literally causing inflammation and aggravating ADHD-like symptoms, as well as many others.
Replace inflammatory conversations with healing conversations. How you say something can have a dramatic effect on the symptoms your child is struggling with. Start by becoming aware of what and how you communicate with your child and replace the inflammatory conversations with healing conversations. In the next article I will discuss healing conversations.