As a parent, who wants his children to be the best, including emotionally intelligent, and as a student of Allen Schore's work on attachment, I have looked at how violence impacts a child's sense of security, and how violence impacts children's brains.
I teach some of Schore's work to the men and women in my domestic violence groups, because I want them to understand that it takes thousands of repetitions of appropriate attachment behaviors, even when the parent is upset, for the child's brain to appropriately complete its developmental stages, and only one perception by the child that their lives are in danger for their to be permanent changes in the kids brain.
That one perception of danger can get stored in the amygdala of the brain and get cued inappropriately down the road, to the child's detriment.
So what are the appropriate behaviors that we parents need to demonstrate to the kids and as Gottman emphasizes, to our mates?
Schore says we communicate attachment behaviors through the eyes, touch, and voice and when things are going OK, the child will look back at us with a glint in their moist eyes, which is called the foveal glint, and pupils will be dilated.
The child looks at us as we look at them, and when the child needs to fill up on parental love, they may need as many as 20 episodes of loving glances per minute. So we see there are a lot of brief episodes of attachment, it is not something that is poured in and the child is then we are finished with it.
It the infant is overstimulated, they will look away to calm down. According to John Gottman's research on Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, there are five elements of behavior that parents demonstrate;
"What are the five elements of emotion coaching?
* Be aware of a child's emotions
* Recognize emotional expression as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching
* Listen empathetically and validate a child's feelings
* Label emotions in words a child can understand
* Help a child come up with an appropriate way to solve a problem or deal with an upsetting issue or situation."
At the Logan household today, it is the day before school starts, and Julie Logan is at home today, and going through number one son's bedroom where she found a cache of dirty laundry and dishes, and he is only 11.
This has been an ongoing issue for us, and we have tried a number of parental tools including shouting, threats, punishments, wonder, contempt, shame, disgust, and none of them has worked.
We are resigned to finding him as a host to a roach colony soon, but today we were able to talk to him in a normal tone of voice and remind him that he has some responsibilities to the rest of us.
He nodded, took the dishes to the sink, where he was careful not to wash them, and returned to his play station.
So as I think about that dish part, I feel some irritation, and I am planning my revenge for 6:00am tomorrow when I will dump his butt on the floor to get ready to catch the bus.
Then we need to come up with a chore list that he is responsible for, with consequences.
A written parenting plan?
Sounds like a winner to me, but you know how kids are, just passive aggressive enough to test the limits that mom and dad set, so I better be prepared to do my own emotional intelligence as we create and implement a written parenting plan.
And what tool do you use good father?
I like the HeartMath heart rate variability biofeedback tool.
I have been teaching HeartMath to my domestic violence and anger management clients since I learned it in 2000. It is a wonderful tool to use, easy to learn, a feel good tool that opens higher perceptual centers in the brain, and works on any given heart beat.
You can even train the kids to get on the same heart beat with you, so you can work cooperatively and affiliatively on family rules.
Don't think that is possible? Well, I did it with couples, hooked them up to two computers, since HeartMath is a program you run on your computer, side by side, had them establish an internal coherence, then hold hands while they established a heart beat for their relationship, and got a sense how quickly one person's thoughts impacted the individual and the couple in less than a heart beat.
By the way, the Gottman's advocate that couples actually stop and take their pulse when they are flooded, so the heart must be important in all of this emotional intelligence children stuff.
Parenting for emotionally intelligent children happens heart beat by heart beat is what I hope you realize.
HeartMath is useful for test taking? The research on this tool is great, and then the family will be ready to try the brain fitness tools to increase IQ. (Please find a link to Heartmath in the right column).
Use this tool for a higher IQ, to go with the EQ. There is a child's version.
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