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Showing posts with label emotional intelligence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label emotional intelligence. Show all posts

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Circle of Life

I quietly feared the moment when my son would ask why my dad wasn’t in his life.  Like many parents, who wish to avoid discussing the proverbial "elephant" in the living room (those family secrets, unspoken expectations, and difficult topics), I wasn’t really prepared for how early or how I would answer some of my son’s questions.  So, I was shocked when, as I tucked his 2 year-old body into bed one night, he whispered in the dark, “Mommy, where is your daddy?”
The truth is my dad died when I was young.  My dad will only be a part of my son’s life through some shared memories and DNA.  It is also true that he died from alcoholism and that my son was too young to know about that particular fact.  Though I’d already begun our conversation about the circle of life, and about how important it is to take good care of our bodies.  I wasn’t prepared for my son’s tender-hearted, painful realization that since my dad died when I was young, that I, too, could die while he’s still young; and that he, too, would someday die.  Like the connecting links on a chain, my son’s toddler logic strung the reality of life and death together in seamless motion.    I suddenly remembered what a good friend and also a mom of two young children, faced with a terminal breast cancer diagnosis, once said to me, “Tell the truth, even though it may hurt.  Just don’t make false promises.”  So, I stayed away from promises about living to 100.  Losing a parent early in life will teach you that kind of realism.  However, when we take away some belief from our kids, such as our immortality, we need to replace such illusions with hope-infused beliefs. 

READ ON....

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Way We Hold Our Babies

It turns out that as important as the skin-to-skin contact we have with our babies in their early years, is the way we hold them.  Unrelated to handedness and widespread across cultures, mothers cradle their babies on the left side.  Even chimps and gorillas favor the left arm hold.  Why, you ask?  Apparently, a few researchers have found that the left-cradling tendency promotes right hemisphere-to-right hemisphere communication between mother and child (Manning et al., 1997; Harris, Almergi, & Kirsch 2000).

The right hemisphere is not only deeply connected with the autonomic nervous system, but is also specialized in perception, the recall of spatial patterns of touch in nonverbal memory, and facilitates affective information necessary for normal brain maturation.  What’s important to know about the right hemisphere is that as the dominant emotional processing center, it controls vital functions that enable human beings to maintain a homeostatic state to support both survival and help cope with stressors. Right hemispheric dominance in terms of facial recognition, emotional information processing, and limbic system homeostasis suggests that both emotional and social intelligence—intrinsic to the development of courage—are dependent on right hemisphere stimulation and maturation through secure attachment