The AMYGDALA – if we understood how much this tiny part of our brain ruled our lives we might pay more attention to it! About the size of an almond, it keeps us in survival fight or flight mode – the extreme emotions we experience are emanating from this part of our brain. In our early days of life, this is what let’s us express (through our only language of crying) that we are uncomfortable, hungry, lonely, fearful. As we are raised in a family with nurturing adults who meet our every need, the neo cortex (frontal lobe) where emotional intelligence resides, develops over time and can “temper” the extreme actions of the amygdala! As we parent our children through infancy, toddler hood and into the pre-school years, we can add to their emotional intelligence through giving them support to make sense of their fears and frustrations and give reassurance they are not alone and a solution can be found together. By showing them a different way of processing their emotions, they learn to stem the amygdala hijack which otherwise rules their lives.
Ever wondered why your boss goes off “pop” when something does not work out the way they had hoped, or a colleague “collapses” when she has an argument with her boyfriend? The amygdala is the culprit!
By teaching our children to:
- Identify their feelings,
- Identify the cause of what has happened and
- Support them to find a solution, a plan B or get a different perspective on what has upset them,
We then empower them to take control of their emotions and as far as possible take control of the situation they are in!
If you want to read more on this topic, I suggest “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman.
And then there is AUNTIE – the un-sung hero of many families!! She may not be a “real” auntie by blood line – but she plays the role of a special female nurturing role model to every one in the family. The one who the children can have fun with on the floor, tell stories to, have the odd treat with, but most importantly everyone knows they can trust her. Every family needs one!