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Showing posts with label separation anxiety. Show all posts
Showing posts with label separation anxiety. Show all posts

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Playing the Lion Game

Around the time of my son E.’s first birthday he took charge of managing his separation anxiety, conquering fear, and developing a capacity for courage.  How exactly did he do that, you ask?  Well, we’d been reading lots of books together about animals, and making the requisite oink-oink here, baa-baa there, and moo-moo everywhere to help him learn to communicate in sounds and words.  I noticed that he jumped every time I made the rather dramatic ROAR! for the lion.  He loved my lion, and he feared my lion at the same time. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Peek-a-Boo!

Little did I know that all the hours of playing Peek-a-Boo with my children actually produced necessary neuronal growth in their brains so they can feel secure in this world!  Peek-a-Boo teaches our child that we are a secure object.  I thought we were just having fun!?  That’s the cool thing about putting psychology research into practice, it can be fun.  Research now shows that many time-honored traditions in parenting help create the trust and courage in kids necessary to conquer many of life’s challenges. 

Around eight months of age, children develop the cognitive capability called object permanence.  Developmental psychologist Jean Piaget coined the term object permanence, that refers to the cognitive understanding that even when a secure object is out of sight, it doesn’t cease to exist. Even if we can’t see, hear, or touch someone or something, we can access the memory of its existence in our mind.  Imagine how much psychological comfort this cognitive capacity we all develop brings, given healthy and normal development.  Have you ever felt lonely and imagined calling someone you love and what they might say to comfort you?  Have you ever run a race and imagined the people who support you waiting with smiling faces at the finish line—especially when you feel like stopping?  Has it ever brought comfort and solace to remember the funny and loving memories of a relative who has died?  Object permanence can be protective and inspire courage in moments when we feel alone, distressed, or stressed. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Never can say "Good-Bye"?

I remember feeling instantly protective of my son E. when he was born.  We were a symbiotic unit during those early days.  I was reticent to hand him over and he was reticent to be put down.  I will, however, be forever grateful for every time his father offered me a much-needed reprieve and walked those endless blocks in the middle of the night to help E. fall asleep. 

During the first three months of his life, like most other mother-infant (or primary caregiver-infant) pairs, we were tuning ourselves into each other’s verbal and non-verbal cues and especially our feelings.  Best known in attachment theory literature as attunement.  E.’s signals of distress, crying, grimacing, stiffening of his muscles, clenching his fists, or arching of his back, were often associated with tiredness, hunger, and especially with E., proximity-seeking.  By six or nine months an infant’s primary attachment(s) are well-established and secure—as was ours. 

During the course of our first three years together, we began the first of our most important courage challenges:  to learn how to say goodbye whilst ensuring psychoneurobiological homeostasis (which is fancy talk for "not melting down during every little separation!")