Brain-body parenting can help you raise joyful, resilient boys, says Dr. Mona Delahooke.
Boys’ behavior offers clues as to what’s going on inside the child — and deciphering what’s happening internally can help us tailor our response to the unique human individual before us.
It’s time to “move from focusing on behaviors to focusing on how each child perceives, understands, and interprets their world,” says Dr. Delahooke, a child psychologist and author of Brain-Body Parenting: How to Stop Managing Behavior and Start Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids and Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children’s Behavioral Challenges.
The autonomic nervous system is our “automatic nervous system,” she explains. It controls our bodies’ unconscious, non-voluntary reactions. Importantly, the triggers for each of us can be different. So, while some people aren’t bothered by noisy environments or tags on their clothing, other people who experience those same triggers may feel “threatened,” even though they are objectively safe. Their bodies may move into the “red zone,” which is characterized by increased alertness and reactivity, an increased heart rate, and a desire or need to move. Chronic stress can lead to the “blue zone,” a state in which humans often withdraw to conserve energy.
The green, red, and blue zones are adaptive.
“You are witnessing the power of human resilience,” Dr. Delahooke says. “Those states are there to protect us.”
Learning to recognize these states of being can help parents determine an appropriate challenge zone for their kids — and may reveal expectation gaps. You can use that information to more effectively and compassionately support your boys.
In this episode, Jen, Janet & Mona discuss:
- What is brain-body parenting?
- The link between the nervous system and behavior
- Green, red, and blue zones — an easy way to recognize a person’s current level of functioning
- Checks-ins vs. time-outs
- Getting curious about kids’ behaviors
- Body budgets
- Parental self-care
- The challenge zone
- Expectation gaps
- Parallels between toddlerhood & adolescence
- How unrealistic expectations for young boys cause problems for boys in school
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
Brain-Body Parenting: How to Stop Managing Behavior and Start Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids, by Dr. Mona Delahooke
monadelahooke.com — Dr. Delahooke’s website
Sensory Processing Disorder with Nancy Peske — ON BOYS episode
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