by Deborah McNelis
One of the primary reasons I started Brain Insights® is to create an understanding of the impact loving interaction has on the developing brain. My intent is to help develop a greater awareness of the need for and positive effects of attachment.
Secure attachment is the foundation for emotional development and the ability to form healthy relationships with others. This also then leads to a child’s ability to regulate emotions effectively, to be able to delay gratification, to problem solve, and to have empathy for others. This all then contributes to the development of a positive self perception. So, higher functioning areas of the brain begin developing in the most healthy ways through caring and responsive early relationships.
Mark Brady, Ph.D. contributes a wealth of information on this topic in his writing. I most enjoy his writing about what he states is the, “Big Brain Question”. Below are some pieces from his contributions on this topic.
The healthy brain is an anticipation-prediction machine. When we operate in environments where there is little predictability and we have little idea what to anticipate from one moment to the next, chronic stress results. There’s ONE question that all brains want answered, and they want it answered, “Yes.” Parent’s brains, children’s brains, all brains. And they don’t want a lukewarm “Yes,” or a “Maybe Yes” or a “Getting-to-Yes Yes.” They want a substantial, resounding, unequivocal, “YES!” Yes. When the answer is something other than “Yes.” if the answer is “Maybe,” or “I’m not sure,” a confusion and uncertainty begins to take shape in our brains. The Question our brains ask is …… Are you there for me…? Do I matter enough that you’ll put me first when I need you to? Can I count on you to attend to me in the ways I need you to? Do I truly and deeply matter to you? These questions are being asked – nonverbally through behavior often – and when they get answered “Yes,” we can relax and begin to feel safe in our relationships. The self-preservation structures of the brain continually monitor our environment and the people in it for safety. Our survival depends upon it. We generally love the people we feel the safest being around, and the emotional responsiveness often identified as love arises out of this safe “felt sense.”
In creating the, Love Your Baby packet and the Love Your Baby App I wanted to give parents information and ideas to easily answer this important question and also provide professionals and other caring adults with an easy way to promote it!
Mark Brady, Ph.D, is the author of the blog, The Committed Parent.