An event, organised by MUMZ! was recently held at the Panorama Room at BeHotel Baystreet on the 26th, consisting of a talk, by Emma Hogg who is the founder ‘A life I choose‘.
It was refreshing to see that out of the 40 participants, who were mostly mummies, there were also daddies who participated very actively in the Q&A session, proof that society tends to underestimate dads since there is clearly a genuine interest from at least some, to be actively part of their children’s upbringing.
Emma’s presentation which lasted around 40 minutes, raised a number of issues which us parents face daily, focusing especially on discipline. This is quite a hot issue in that there is no one solution that is suitable for all children as they all have different traits and characteristics. Having said this, Emma touched on some interesting points which we have summarised hereunder, for those who did not manage to attend the talk:
Emma explained how a baby’s brain is like a mammal’s in developmental terms (think of a puppy). The “human” part of the brain develops after birth. It begins to develop at around 18-36 months and that’s just the beginning. It isn’t fully developed until late twenties, and even then it continues to develop throughout life. This area of the brain (middle prefrontal cortex) is responsible for emotional regulation. Kids often flip out. They’re not misbehaving when they do this. Children don’t intentionally disobey. Their brains do not have the ability to process emotions.
She went on to say that to discipline is to teach/to guide. It comes from the word “disciple”. Punishment (an unpleasant event in response to unacceptable behaviour in the hope to teach good behaviour) & discipline are two very different words.
What about punishment doesn’t work?:
1) Child doesn’t understand it.
2) We don’t meet them on their level.
3) We don’t connect.
4) They feel worse.
5) We expect kids to learn without teaching them.
Emma added that when punishment is the regular mode of “discipline” it creates a well-honed pattern of stress in the brain, priming children to be more susceptible to stress throughout life. Because the executive state of the brain is not being engaged, and children are not being taught how to cope with unpleasant emotions, the child who is punished, just ends up feeling more unpleasant emotions.
The child finds ways to cope: clingy/withdraws/disconnects from emotional experiences/acts out more.
To empathise with your child when they behave inappropriately, get in touch with how you feel when you are very emotional. It’s difficult to behave appropriately when you feel awful. We fantasise about telling our bosses to f- off. We blow up at our partners. We accuse/insult our siblings. It is the executive (human) part of the brain that realises these emotions and chooses a more appropriate behaviour.
Emma continued by explaining that, as parents we need to teach kids how to understand their emotions, and how to soothe them. We do this by doing it for them at first. If kids are able to name and soothe their emotions, they are less likely to act out because of them.
Strategy for when kids act out:
1) Acknowledge their feelings. You look sad/I saw you hit your brother, are you angry?
2) Empathise & Soothe. I know how difficult it is to cope with someone doing that to you/I wouldn’t like it if someone took my things without asking either.
3) Lovingly Correct. Once your child feels understood, they naturally calm down. They don’t have to fight you cos they know you are on their side. This is when you can correct their behaviour by guiding them towards better behaviour. “So you were so angry that you hit, huh? Now, we know it’s not okay to hit people. I wonder what you could do instead?” Listen to what your child comes up with, they might surprise you.
CONNECT TO GUIDE
When you connect instead of punish, you teach kids:
1) That you are there for them even when they make mistakes.
2) That they can notice and name their emotions. This is self-awareness.
3) That emotions are manageable. They give us information about how we feel about things, but they don’t drive us out of control if we don’t want them to. (This is emotional regulation).
4) You empower your children to problem-solve.
The talk was followed by a 20 minute coffee break after which a raffle was held in aid of childrendreams.org. Eur100 was collected in all through the raffle and MUMZ granted 2 children the following wishes:
Katrina, a 6 year old girl was given new clothes and Dominic, a 16 year old boy was given a new jacket.
Some lucky guests also won the following gifts:
- 1 Happy Parent Course Voucher,
- 3 x XAR hair and nails salon vouchers
- 3 x Flormar make up vouchers and
- 3 x I AM accessories vouchers.
We spoke to Julia Grech, also a mummy and founder of MUMZ! who said “The event was a great success and we are really excited to have some more events in the pipeline which we hope parents will find interesting, one about ‘sleep training’ and the other on fitness and exercise”. Follow the MUMZ! FB page to keep updated on future events.
Thank you for inviting BuzyMummy and well done to Julia Grech, Emma Hogg and MUMZ! for the initiative, we look forward to future events. Follow the BuzyMummy FB page for more event reviews, insightful articles and tips.