by Kate Lim
Have you ever wondered how do babies or toddlers understand what we are saying even though their language skills have not been fully developed? Ever wonder why when you are angry and you raise you voice to another adult, the baby would be the one react and cry? How do they know that you are angry?
Before the brain is fully developed, the baby does not think like us; so how could this little one tell whether you are upset or not? Well, it’s through their heart; their heart is the sensor, the organ that allows them to detect and process what’s going on outside of them.
According to HeartMath Institute Director of Research Rollin McCraty, the heart is a sensory organ and acts as a sophisticated information encoding and processing center that enables it to learn, remember, and make independent functional decisions.
So imagine you have had a hectic day at work, and your husband it not helping you with any of the chores at home; you became angry and frustrated. Yet anyhow, you need to take care of your baby and so you hold your baby in your arms, preparing to feed him milk. Somehow, the baby started crying, even though milk is his favourite food on earth!
That’s because your baby can sense your frustration, your anger; your baby could even hear your heart rhythm because you are holding him/her closely to your chest. According to the research of HeartMath Institute, when we are angry, our heart rhythm become incoherent; so imagine listening to an incoherent drum performance while you are eating, isn’t that annoying? The baby didn’t feel comfortable with your frustration towards your husband, but he couldn’t tell you, so the only thing that he could do is to cry.
How about toddler and older children?
As they grow, how they make sense of our world is in fact through watching and observing us adult and then mimic or mirror us. If you have never played baseball before, how would you learn? You would mimic how your instructor is standing, how he is holding the bat. Same goes to young children; the only way they learn and understand our world is through following what we adults are doing. So if you have been screaming and shouting at home; be it nagging your husband or your older kid; they are watching and learning. If you are patient and your tone is gentle and encouraging, they are watching and learning too.
Besides observing to learn, they also LISTEN to what you are saying. If “No”, “Cannot!”, “You are wrong” are the favourite phrases that you use every day, your child will hear it and learn these phrases. Over time, as he continues to grow, it wouldn’t just be something that he would mimic and say; it would also be something that he would think in his mind;
Your voice, has become his inner voice.
A lot of time, parents are not aware that their behaviour, attitudes, talking tone and daily habits etc.; are programming the child’s mind. Every child from baby up until the age of 7, are functioning at the subconscious level. When the mind is functioning at the subconscious level, the child does not have any critical or logical thinking; he doesn’t doubt what you are saying. If you say that apple is bad for health, he will believe that apple is bad without doubting you.
So what does this mean?
That means whatever you are saying to your child, you are programming their subconscious mind. What is the subconscious mind? The subconscious mind is a data base of stored program and it controls everything that is automatic, such as our bodily function, our habits and our deep rooted emotions and long term memories. And the subconscious mind has no logical thinking, reasoning or whatsoever. It functions just like a tape recording, whatever you have recorded (programmed) in the subconscious mind, you just need to push the play button to let the program run. And guess what? The subconscious mind controls 90% of our life! Then, how about the remaining 10%? Well, the remaining 10% is the conscious mind, the mind that thinks logically and analytically; the minds that exert will power and store short term memory.
So how does this affect the child?
If you are always telling your kids “No”, “Cannot”, “You are lazy”, “You are wrong”, “You are giving me headache”; you are recording these words into their subconscious mind. So as they grow older and go to school; while studying for exam for example, their conscious mind may help them to logically think that they SHOULD study. But as they begin to study, the automatic part of the mind kicks in and says: “No, you cannot do this”, “You are wrong, you will fail”. So there are constant battle between the conscious and the subconscious. When this happen, emotions such as guilt, fear and worries will arise and affect the child temperament and also learning capabilities. It will be worse if at this moment, the parent began to nag and reinforce their negative inner voice which inevitable increase more fear, guilt and insecurities.
Pause for a moment and think, don’t we adults have these automatic tape recorder at the back of our mind too? Those that always tell us how lousy we are, or that we could never be successful in life? Ever wonder where it stems from? If you are feeling dissatisfied with your current life, could it be from the voice that is constantly playing at the back of your head? In my field of work, I have seen too many people who had achieved a lot in life, yet they do not fill content or happy. A man who owns so many luxurious cars, travelled the world, came to see me because he was feeling empty; what went wrong? Could it be that his subconscious mind has been negatively programmed and that his negative tape recorder is playing; despite the achievements and success?
It turned out to be so!
During our therapy, under a relaxing state where his subconscious mind was at the forefront, he could remember so clearly what the mother had always said to him when he was little: “You always give me headache, why can’t you be like your brother, see how good he is”
Despite all the success, he still feel empty because even up till today, at age 56, he has not received any compliment from the mother and he still believed that he is no better than the brother…. Every adults whom I have seen, has a broken child within them. When that child is healed, when the old program (subconscious mind) has been updated; all emotional and physical discomfort subside.
So if you are a parent and you are reading this, be mindful of what you say or do in front of your kids, they are learning from you and your teaching goes A LONG WAY.