Parenting Pitfalls - The
Two Critical Turning Points of Childhood
are the most frustrating years of being a parent? An overwhelming consensus of
parents believe it is when children are two, and then around fourteen.
Neuroscience now gives solid validation that something striking is happening
during these times. It all comes down to
Virtually overnight, around age two, the first significant change appears when
a child recognizes that he or she is an individual with a separate identity.
At this point, children begin to assert their individuality with the common
"me, my, mine" statements. This indicates the early stages of the formation of
the conscious mind, and burgeoning
Taking about five years to fully form, the conscious mind is learning to
protect the highly suggestible subconscious mind. Until this critical survival
faculty is firmly in place, everything seen, heard, and witnessed has
unfettered access to the subconscious.
Harmless statements to a child such as "You're so messy" or "Why can't you be
more like your sister?" are in reality, potentially damaging suggestions that
are conveyed directly to the child's subconscious mind. Experience indicates
that most issues adults present in
therapy sessions are related to
the core belief patterns established before the age of seven.
The next significant metamorphosis takes place around age fourteen. The
teenage brain begins the second transformation in wiring, which accounts for
typical adolescent impulsiveness, defiance, lack of organizational skills, and
narcissism. At this stage, the brain lacks the neural wiring to effectively
moderate behavior and emotional responses. Frequently sparking turmoil, the
teenage brain is preparing that individual for autonomy by testing limits,
building skills, and encouraging individual initiative.
A parent's most important role during this stage is to provide children with a
secure, loving environment while allowing events to unfold. Rather than
reacting, parents need to recognize that these events and struggles are
preparing children for life in the real world.
Here are some helpful tips for parents to express
unconditional love and
acceptance to their child:
In discussion, look them in the eyes, at eye level, not down at them. Focus
more on their feelings, challenges, and needs, rather than their behaviors.
Demonstrate that you value their uniqueness and independence. Support their
drive to expand their confidence and social skills. Take a deep breath, and
think before you speak. Your words have a lasting impact.
Cherish the journey of parenthood. It's the most responsible job on the planet.
About the Author:
International speaker, Dr. Brian E. Walsh is
the author of the bestseller Unleashing Your Brilliance and has also
co-authored with John Gray and Jack Canfield the self-help book, 101 Great
Ways to Improve Your Life: Volume 2.