October 19, 2009

So it turns out that cuddling, loving, physical contact sets up a neuro-chemical feedback loop leading to more cuddling, loving, happy bonding behavior between people.  This is what helps keep people in love for the duration.  This is what cements families.  This is probably one of the biggest factors in raising happy confident secure children up to be happy confident secure loving adults.   The less loving you are with children the less loving they will be as adults.   The more connected you are to your children the more connected they will feel to, not only you, but to the mystic universe of love and possibility.  (Provided you mind your boundaries and give them plenty of solid food and also discipline.)

Not to over simplify because other factors will influence.  But on a neuro-chemical level, I bet it is all pretty dang straight forward.  Chemical reactions being what they are.   Straight forward in that mysterious and ultimately unknowable way which not even science can penetrate.  But I digress.  It is simple, trust me.  Love your children well and they will grow to be loving.

So what happens when we take children, little babies, toddlers, and even little elementary school kids and toss them in school?  It could be, they will cope.  Likely, they will be fine.  They might learn how to find Iowa on a map or the shape of Italy.  If they are in a private school they might even learn cursive earlier than the public school kids. But what happens to their neuro-chemistry?

In other words, brain damage.  Could that explain what is happening in our society?   And do we want to raise children who spend their formative years trying as hard as they can to cope?  Or do we want to figure out what will create the most serene loving nice secure generous and thoughtful people possible?   The answer being, more time with the most loving nice secure generous thoughtful adults.  Probably not adults that are paid to love them, either.  Probably adults who actually love them.

Facebook update:  "I just dropped* my newborn baby off at daycare.  He was asleep.  Should I wake him to tell him goodbye or just leave?"  New York Times discussion in comments:  "My five year old son cries miserably when I leave him. What should I do?"  Universally:  "My kid is a bully/is bullied.  How do I handle that?"  Diagnosis: ADHD   Diagnosis:  depression, addiction, profound alienation.  War mongering.  Degraded value systems.  A marked lack of morality. 

*Interesting word, dropped.  Intelligence seems to be draining out of our society as through a sieve.  Despite the fact that we put our children in school earlier and earlier, extend the school day longer and longer, put more and more class time into the school day, and keep them there for increasing years.

Anyone need a hug?


rae said...

Of course! Brain damage!

It may be a bit tongue in cheek, but I think it's absolute truth.

Cynthia said...

We always get great comments about our children and how happy and content they are, how secure they are in different environments. They don't experience any separation anxiety or nervousness about us leaving.

When asked about this, we always credit attachment parenting. We kept them with us constantly, never put them in daycare or school or in the nursery at church. We have always tried to be honest with them about life and give them age appropriate information.

Just yesterday, I had an allergic reaction to something and had to be transported to the hospital in an ambulance, leaving my children at home. (ok, I am saying children but let me clarify their ages: 18 yod, 16 yos, 15 yos, 13 yod, 12 yos and 9 yos) They were so calm and focused. They didn't freak out at all about what was going on. They made the phone calls to their dad, giving him the information that he needed, took care of each other.

I just credit building a level of trust in them when they were younger by not abandoning them.

Cecelia (CC) said...

Keep telling the truth Katherine. Keep saying this.

Say it until it is so crystallized you hold a diamond of intense value and the world turns to see in wonder what you hold in your hands.

Then toss it to them and say with you beautiful laugh, "I squeezed this into being with deep mother-earth hugs".

MOM #1 said...

Once again. I agree. 100%.

When will they start listening to us Mommy-types? We know what works.

Mommylion said...

Goodness... I do need a hug after reading that. Too much truth, it burns, it burns!

Ami said...

You know I work in a public school.
I have observed that children are embarrassed to be affectionate with their parents. They cringe away or try to act nonchalant and unapproachable when their parents come to pick them up.

I wrote about it once, I'll see if I can find the post.

I think we all need more hugs.

Ami said...

Found it.


Heather said...

Oh, I love it. Brain damage indeed.

When someone doesn't get enough true, loving affection at home, they go seeking it in other, unhealthy ways. And they grow up incapable of giving honest affection. If they're smart, they'll at least recognize when it's needed and do their best to provide it to their families, no matter how broken they are. Ask me how I know.

Katherine said...

Ami, that made my throat ache, reading about a six year old boy who drops everything shouting DadDadDAd!!! And the next year doesn't.

Once you stop loving joyfully with abandon and no self consciousness - it doesn't come back easily. Does it?

Professor Mom said...

I especially relate to your comment about how children become what they are exposed to. In my last few years of reading, research, talking with moms (homeschooling and otherwise) and basic observation of children, I notice one thing consistently. Kids who spend the most time away from their parents, have the hardest time with 1)self-control 2)relating to many ages and 3)empathy.

I also know that many people see it, but they feel like their hands are tied. How many times have we heard, "I can't get Johnny to stop ..." or "Jenny refuses to ... when I tell her to?" These are heart issues that can only be corrected with heart training. And, heart training is best done at home.

Thanks for the great post!