01 Jun How To Raise Thriving Children (Part 1 – The Science Behind)
During the first 6 or 7 years of a child’s life their brainwave patterns are so slow they are functioning in a subconscious mind. During their first years, our children will spend most of their time in Delta brainwaves cycle (from birth to 2 years old), Alpha (from 2 to 5 or 6 years old) and Theta (from between 5 to 8 to 8 to 12years old), which is the same state that an adult is in when meditating or in hypnosis.
This then means that our children live in a permanent state of hypnosis, open to suggestion, being programmed by the environment and in a super learning state.
During these ages children learn through their subconscious mind, this means that everything you tell them for the first 6 or 7 years of life they accept as true as they have no analytical facilities to process what you’re telling them.
All of their awareness is on their internal environment. They notice changes, either positive or negative, based on how they feel inside of them, when they feel differently inside of them they then pay attention to whatever caused it and create a memory. These experiences over time become habits and behaviours.
Here’s an example of a positive identification: when an infant is hungry or uncomfortable, she cries out, in an effort to communicate and get the parent/carer’s attention. As she gets a response by being feed or having her nappy changed, the infant makes an important connection between her inner and outer worlds. It only takes a few repetitions before she learns to associate crying out with being fed or becoming comfortable. It becomes a behaviour.
A good example of a negative association is when a two-year-old puts his finger on a hot stove. He learns very quickly to identify the object he sees externally—the stove—with the pain he is feeling internally, and after a few tries, he learns a valuable lesson.
According to Dr Joe Dispenza, the brainwave development in children progresses as follows.
Brainwave Development in Children: From Subconscious to Conscious Mind
Delta. Between birth and two years old, the human brain functions primarily in the lowest brainwave levels, from 0.5 to 4 cycles per second. This range of electromagnetic activity is known as Delta waves. Adults in deep sleep are in Delta; this explains why a newborn usually can’t remain awake for more than a few minutes at a time (and why even with their eyes open, young babies can be asleep). When one-year-olds are awake, they’re still primarily in Delta, because they function principally from their subconscious. Information from the outside world enters their brains with little editing, critical thinking, or judgment taking place. The thinking brain – the neocortex, or conscious mind – is operating at very low levels at this point.
Theta. From about ages two to five or six, a child begins to demonstrate slightly higher EEG patterns. These Theta-wave frequencies measure 4 to 8 cycles per second. Children functioning in Theta tend to be trancelike and primarily connected to their internal world. They live in the abstract and in the realm of imagination, and exhibit few of the nuances of critical, rational thinking. Thus, young children are likely to accept what you tell them. (P.S. Santa is real.) At this stage, phrases such as the following have a huge impact: Big boys don’t cry. Girls should be seen and not heard. Your sister is smarter than you. If you get cold, you’ll catch a cold. These types of statements go straight to the subconscious mind, because these slow brainwave states are the realm of the subconscious (hint, hint).
Alpha. Between ages five and eight, brainwaves change again, to an Alpha frequency: 8 to 13 cycles per second. The analytical mind begins to form at this point in childhood development; children start to interpret and draw conclusions about the laws of external life. At the same time, the inner world of imagination tends to be as real as the outer world of reality. Children in this age-group typically have a foot in both worlds. That’s why they pretend so well. For instance, you may ask a child to pretend that he is a dolphin in the sea, a snowflake in the wind, or a superhero coming to the rescue, and hours later, he is still in character. Ask an adult to do the same, and well … you already know the answer.
Figure 1. The progression of brainwave development from Delta in infancy to Beta in adulthood. Look at the difference in the three ranges of Beta: high-range Beta can be twice as high as mid-range Beta.
As you are now aware, the first 6 or 7 years are the years when we take on beliefs, about ourselves and life, and many of these will remain unconscious throughout the rest of our lives, though they will show up in our behaviours, our achievements, our goals, how we choose our friends, our life partners and so on.
If you think about it, every belief that you have, has been put there or suggested by somebody else.
Now, as a parent, do you understand how crucial your role is during these programming years?
Another crucial point you should be aware of is that children have mirror neurons (empathy neurons), they model what you do. Mirror neurons install the neurological hardware by observing what you’re doing, turning on the same circuits in their brain as if they were actually doing it. That begins to prime the brain to create Neural Darwinism – pruning away the circuits to begin to shaping and moulding behaviours. That’s the beginning stages of plasticity.
Because of mirror neurons, your children pay more attention to what you do rather than what you say.
Now you have the scientific knowledge to understand how your child’s brain works and develops. In part two of How To Raise Thriving Children, which we will post in two weeks time, we will share practical advice on how to use the knowledge you acquired in part one and build the foundation for raising Thriving Children.