In the past ten years, there have been more discoveries of the brain, mental
functioning, and human psychology than in the last 100 years.
These discoveries, put at the service of human progress and development, allow us to incorporate and apply new PEDAGOGICAL TECHNIQUES to our lives. They also provide tools by which we can help our children develop a stronger, healthier, and more powerful mental state and higher self-esteem.
Now we are going to present one of the simplest and powerful resource
that exist today to help your child build a powerful mental state which will
allow him to more freely manage his emotions and develop his full
potential as human being.
The resource that we are going to share is used today by some of the most
outstanding professionals in the international fields of psycho-pedagogy and human behavioral development. Let´s see what this is about.
THE POWER OF CONSCIOUS OBSERVATION
As educators and as parents, one of the most serious MISTAKES we make is to identify a child, through accusations, comments, or criticisms, when they misbehave. Remarks such as "you are bad", "you are lazy", "you are shy", "you are irresponsible", "you are a fighter", "you are scared", as well as statements such as "you are not good at sports", "you are bad at math", "you have a bad memory", or "you don´t like to study"; all erode the child’s self-esteem. Use of such phrases also generates personal
identification with specific negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, creating
what is known as an IDENTITY.
When the child creates an identity with a specific set of mental and emotional states, his psychology “anchors” to that model and the child believes that he is a certain way, that this is his way of being, his PERSONALITY.
Once identification is created, it is a CHALLENGE TO DISASSOCIATE from it or change it. The mind has anchored to that way of thinking, feeling, and acting, and it presents a REAL LIMITATION to personal growth and development.
Some of the most advanced experiments in quantum physics and neuropsychology today show that the beliefs we have of ourselves are what create our perception of reality. In other words, our external reality depends on the concept we have of ourselves, the way we see ourselves.
To avoid identifying the child with negative thoughts, emotions, or behaviors, parents and educators need to be aware of how we “tag” little ones using personal definitions such as, “you are this” or “you are that.”
Once we are aware of our behavior, we must then develop new ways of thinking and expressing ourselves, and we must use new vocabulary whenever we want to voice an observation or correct a child.
A NEW VOCABULARY
The new vocabulary will help the child separate himself from the behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that we want him to overcome.
To do that, we must first start referring to inappropriate behaviors, thoughts, and
emotions in the third person: “that” thought, “that” emotion, “that” behavior. In this way, we effectively differentiate the child from the thought, emotion, or behavior at stake. Thus, we establish a fundamental principle of understanding:
The child can change and transform at will and without limits, precisely because his thoughts and emotions are separate entities from himself.
Just because Johnny has thoughts of shyness doesn´t mean he is shy. Clara’s has fears, but they don´t qualify her to be a fearful person. If Roger hits another child, his action was violent, but he is not a vicious or cruel child. And, with care and guidance, Roger can choose to change his behavior.
Conscious observation´s utility should now be apparent to parents and educators. We can also be aware that it is one of the keys to human develoment. Helping children understand and experience conscious observation in their daily lives gives them personal power, and the capacity for surprising change and evolution.
Using the CONSCIOUS OBSERVATION, by dissociating the individual from a thought or emotion, by unlinking the two, we no longer talk about the fact that the child is bad or shy, but that he has thoughts or emotions of misbehavior or shyness. And that fact that he recognizes it, that alone gives him the possibility of change and improve without limit. Because he no longer feels identied with that emotion and with that behavior. He will no longer think that it is “he” who is doing it, but that it is a small part of his psychology and that he can modify with work and at will.
Imagine if you were to tell a child, “Look, you are brave. Only a single thought of fear has prevented you from achieving that today. But tomorrow, you will have an opportunity to change that thought and, with courage, you will achieve what you set out to do”. Here, we link the child with courage and dissociate her from fear, offering her the possibility of change. With practice, children will realize the power they have to choose thoughts and actions which will add positively to their view of themselves
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF CONSCIOUS OBSERVATION
John has left his toys lying around his room. As a parent or educator, the responses you want to avoid are the following:
1. John, why are you so messy?
2. You are very messy, John.
3. You always leave everything messy.
4. You never clean up.
Why do we want to avoid these responses? Let’s consider each one in turn.
WHY ARE YOU SO MESSY?
This question enhances a child’s identification with the very behavior we want to
discourage. Posing it triggers an immediate response by the unconscious mind to search for reasons why they are messy. And thanks to the actions of the brain - that is programmed to End out what it has as information within -only validations of messiness will be sought and found. In a future article, we can further explore the topic of inquiries and why they are particularly powerful instruments of brain development. For now, it is enough to know that we must avoid asking such impulsive questions which are implicitly negative.
YOU ARE VERY MESSY, JOHN.
“You are”; statements have a powerful impact on the structure of our psychology. When the brain hears “you are,” it automatically identifies with the phrase, and any adjectives put behind those words function as a command, as orders to follow. During childhood, the brain operates at slower frequencies. These slower frequencies enable a super-learning state while also creating permanent records. That is why it is necessary to avoid the expression “you are” when referring to negative behaviors.
YOU ALWAYS LEAVE EVERYTHING MESSY.
YOU NEVER CLEAN UP.
“Always” and “never” are absolutisms that generate a powerful suggestion in the
psyche, since they unconsciously determine a specific pattern of behavior, altogether excluding the possibility for change.
So what is an example of an appropriate way to intervene? The following would
demonstrate great skill in using dissociation for the benefitt of the child:
JOHN, YOU ARE ALWAYS TIDY, HOW CAN YOU STRAIGHTEN UP YOUR ROOM TODAY?
In the previous sentence, we positively apply all our new knowledge.
1. We identify the child with positive behavior (being tidy).
2. We activate the induction mechanism by asking the child´s brain to provide solutions.
3. We use the absolutism “always”; to anchor positive behavior.
With observation and CONSTANT PRACTICE of these techniques, this new way of thinking and acting will become more natural. And from this work, countless resources will emerge to promote the HEALTH AND OPTIMAL DEVELOPMENT of children’s minds.
And if we speak of resources without doubt, the most important resource of all is to learn to use the extraordinary natural power that our brain has in favor of our children´s progress and development and not against them self.
In addition to the constant practice, this new mode of communication will force us, as parents and educators, to face OURSELVES. It will also help us identify the way we speak to ourselves and condition ourselves, and that will allow us to HELP EACH OTHER as we help our children.