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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
In order to understand whether a parent should use good-cop or bad-cop techniques with their child, they must first understand how a child’s brain develops. Otherwise, they could cause long-lasting neurological damage that will affect the child later in life. A child goes through a developmental neurological growth spurt during the first 26 months. This continues substantially for the next several years. Two critical things happen. First, the social parts of their brains – which is in the inferior temporal lobes – tend to develop more substantially due to the quantity and quality of contact with others, which would obviously include their mother, father, siblings, and other caregivers. Secondly, depending on the adequacy of nurturing during those years, the amount of oxytocin in their cerebral fluid as an adult can be associated with their stress tolerance. In other words, how quickly will their fight/flight response be triggered?
In the “wild” this is a defense mechanism. Animals raised in high-threat environments will more quickly react to threatening situations. However, such a condition also leads to chronic stress in adult humans because we have the ability to anticipate and simulate (i.e. seeing or perceiving threats that are non-existent). This leads to prolonged sympathetic activation of the nervous system and suppresses functioning of visceral organs. Thus chronic stress affects mental and physical health. This can often be traced back to inadequate nurturing and negative parenting. This means that using a bad cop parenting approach could result behavioral and physical problems later in life. Conversely, positive attributes such as self-empowerment and compassion, which have positive and healthy implications, can be promoted by a good cop routine.
As a clinical hypnotherapist, I shy away from aversion therapy even with adults – but especially with children.. This is because a vast number of my clients were inadequately parented as a young child. They seem to be beset with negativity and have no idea that they can make positive changes in their lives. Frankly, this pattern needs to be established when they are an infant. It is much more difficult to fix when they are in the latter half of life.
Keywords: Psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, parenting, counseling
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