NeuroParenting Tip of the Day:
It is a scientifically proven fact that parents can influence the chemistry of their children through how they behave and speak. NeuroParenting is a way of parenting that stimulates your child’s healthy neurochemicals. When Moms and Dads use NeuroParenting tools, this will reduce stress and increase the chemistry that helps children learn easily, behave positively and enjoy life. In this series of NeuroParenting blogs, I will share some powerful, easy-to-use tools that you can incorporate into your daily schedule and lifestyle in a natural way.
Put everything else aside. Stop multitasking. Make eye contact with your child. Touch your child. Let them feel how important they are to you. Let them know how much you love them. Listen, ask questions, empathize, and engage meaningfully and totally, with your head, heart and soul.
We live such busy lives, with so many things calling for our attention. The result is that our minds are often in many places at once, thinking about everything we need to get through that day; worrying about how we will achieve our daily goals, multitasking and planning what we need to do next. When we are in that kind of mind space, we can be with our children, but not really be there with our children. We are not truly present. And their spirit knows.
I am sure you have had this experience. You are with someone but you sense his or her mind is elsewhere and it makes you feel angry, lonely, negated or sad. The implicit message is that you are not important enough to receive their full attention. You may, or may not, have also noticed the effect this inattentiveness had on your chemistry. Perhaps you shut down emotionally or your heart was beating faster, and you wanted to say, “Hello! I am here. Look at me. Listen to me. See me!” This reaction is how children feel when their parents are not truly present.
What Parents say about Being Present.
A participant in one of my workshops told us the story that while doing homework with her five-year-old son, she was also responding to text messages on her cell phone. Her son took her face in his two little hands, turned her away from her cell phone and said, I hate it when you do that! She told us that she had pulled away from him, telling him that she just needed to finish her text message and continued typing. She cried while telling us this. She said: “I am crying because I now realize I lost a perfect opportunity to be present and add to the health of my child’s spirit, body and brain!”
I received an email from a mom who had been practicing being present for a while with her non-verbal autistic child. She wrote, “Being present has changed the energy between Josh and me, in ways that I would not have thought possible.”
Being present is a simple tool with profound neurochemical effects. As simple as it is, however, it takes a great deal of discipline on your part to lay aside whatever you are doing and give your child your full attention when they are interacting with you. The pull to answer the cell phone or respond to the text message or chop the onions can be very strong. Remember not to let your attention wander or you won’t bring about the neurochemical enhancement you want for your child!