I love the science behind our behaviours. If we understand the science why we behave the way we do and espeically why our children behave the way they do then then it's much easier to take the right actions and create the best outcomes. A brilliant talk by Joe.
First 6 or 7 years of a childs life
For the first 6 or 7 years of a childs life their brain wave patterns are so slow they are functioning in a subconscious mind. Children learn through their subconscious mind, because everything you tell them for the first 6 or 7 years of life they accept as true because they have no analytical facilities to process what you’re telling them.
All of their awareness is on their internal environment. They notice changes in how they feel inside of them. When they feel differently inside of them it perks their attention to whomever caused it. And that event creates a memory. These experiences over time become habits and behaviours.
Children have mirror neurons (empathy neurons), they model what you do. Mirror neurons install the neurological hardware by observing what you're doing, turning on the same circuits in their brain as if they were actually doing it. That begins to prime the brain to create Neural Darwinism - prune away the circuits to being to shape and mould behaviours. That’s the beginning stages of plasticity.
6 - 12 years of age
From the age of 6 - 12 they move into Alpha brain wave patterns. Alpha patterns tend to believe more in the inner world, rather than the outer world. The inner world of imagination, because of brain wave patterns is where the brain begins to interact in the cognitive way to begin to interface with the external world.
Joe wanted their kids to stay in Alpha for as long as possible so he took them to the Waldorf school by Rudolf Steiner. His sons moved out of Alpha around 8 or 9 years old but his daughter stayed there a lot longer.
Right around this time as your child’s brain wave patterns begin to pickup and they start to interpret the environment (around 7 - 10), the analytical mind begins to form. This is when they start to question Santa Clause.
The analytical mind begins to separate the subconscious mind and the conscious mind.
- The sub conscious mind: our habits and behaviours which is 95% of who we are as adults.
- The conscious mind: is made up of logic and reasoning and that is 5% of the mind. It gives rise to our will and creative abilities.
Then kids move into Beta brain wave patterns, where the outer world is more real than the inner world. It’s more about being able to pay attention to our external environment.
The job of the brain is to create coherence between the outer world and the inner world.
The personality is really the result of how you think, act and feel.
Joe always tells his children that 'Your personality creates your personal reality.'
If you want to change something in your life, you have to look at the thoughts your thinking to see if they are serving you. Notice the behaviours that you’re demonstrating and see if those are loving to yourself and begin to memorise the emotions that you’ve memorised to become part of your identity.
Children become to understand this very naturally because the law with children is if you give them the facts, they will interpret the laws.
Because of mirror neurons, you’re children pay more attention to what you do rather than what you say.
The terrible twos is about all the no’s we have said to them when they started to move around at 1.
Parenting is the result of 2 things
1 - Love: You have to set boundaries that are comfortable and that they honor. You have to nurture and culture and help them develop the destination between when they are doing something that’s going to cause growth for them or ultimately cause displeasure or harm.
2 - Logistics: where’s your bag, did you tie your shoes…
His job was to shorten the emotional reaction. When you have a reaction to something in your life, there are chemicals that are created. If you let that period continue for hours or days then that turns into a mood. If that develops for weeks or months it develops into a temperament. If that goes for years on end, that’s called a personality trait. So they develop their personality trait based on their emotional conditions in their life.
Aside from trauma and abuse, our job as parents is to teach them that ability. To become so neuroplastic, that they can lay down the emotion and change gears.
You do kids a great service if you give them the ability to let go of emotions.
As a result of that never try to reason with a kid when they are emotional. Do you want to be reasoned with when you are emotional? Or do you want to be left alone? You’d rather be left alone until the chemicals wear off. Those different chemicals last 90 seconds to 2 minutes. That’s it. Anything after that he tells his kids ‘you’re faking it!’
How do you get kids to let go?
Joe has things for them to do to break their patterns. Like jumping on the trampolines, walking in the garden, etc. You break the pattern by causing them to shift their attention to something else.
The power of parental observation of a tantrum
One of the things he found really valuable for his kids is that he wanted them to understand that there was always someone observing them. When you begin to see a child move out of balance (as long as they are not hurt in anyway), just stop what you are doing and look at them and just observe them.
They will notice that you are observing them and they will become conscious of what they are doing.
Rewiring with strategy
Joe would allow them to run the corse of the emotion without interacting with them. In the evening he would then climb in bed with them and talk about himself. He would say ‘I’m working on this emotion anger…’ and would talk to them like he was talking to an analyst. He'd be really honest with them. His kids would then say ‘God I got so mad at ... today.’ He’d say ’Yeah God you did. I saw that!’ ‘He would then say ‘If it happened gain how would you do it differently? If the same thing happened tomorrow I just want to know how you would do it differently?’
Then they’d say ‘well I’d do this’ and Joe would say 'Well are you aware that would lead to this…?’ and then they would say ‘Oh I didn’t think about that.'
Note on the subsconscious mind: (There are 2 times the door to the subconscious mind opens up. First in the morning. As soon as you wake up your brain chemistry changes when you go from Delta to Theta, to Alpha the Beta. Melatonin turns to Seratonine and the neurotransmitters get you up and going. When you go to bed at night you go from Beta to Alpha to Theta to Delta.)
He would help them create a new strategy plan to cope with the same experience.
The research in neuroscience shows that you can actually install the neurological hardware ahead of the actual experience by mentally rehearsing what you’re going to do. Your brain begins to change to look like if the event has actually happened.
There is enough research to show that you can prime the brain and wake the circuits up and the brain doesn’t know the difference between the actual experience in the external reality and what you rehearsed in your internal reality.
He would ask them after they got the model complete to repeat the model to him over and over again until they got it exactly the way they could demonstrate it. They were priming their brain and conditioning their body emotionally to begin to become prepared for that experience when it happened.
Then before they went to sleep he would tell them the story in allegory (a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one). There was this magical land with castles and dragons and unicorns... and he'd take them through the whole experience by allegory. Because of childrens brain wave patterns in Alpha, they have no problems imagining the allegory.
Joe was doing it by association, putting them into the story. He’d describe the children to look just like them and tell them all these conditions they had to overcome and all the magic that was in their life and then there would be the poignant moment where they had to make a decision. He would almost repeat exactly what he told them when they were talking about creating the model. At the end of the story they would often say ‘was that me?’ He’d say ‘I don’t know. Was it?’ And they would nod their head with a grin and fall asleep.
He’d continue to ask ‘what would you do if this happened?’ They’d say ‘Dad, I almost want this to happen so you’ll leave me alone!’
You being to install the neurological hardware ahead of the actual experience so they have circuits in place to use when that situation comes up. That’s called evolution because new thoughts lead to new choices, new choices lead to behaviours, new behaviours lead to new experiences and new experiences lead to new emotions and new emotions are information from the environment that being to alter their genes, epigenetically. Then those emotions drive their thoughts and self esteem and self confidence and efficaciously and everything that goes along with it.