By Kinesiologist Melissa Baker
There’s nothing worse than watching your child struggle. You agonise over every possible cause and trial every possible intervention. Sometimes it gets too much and you put your head in the sand, praying that it will all be ok. And the truth is, it will.
But when the school starts phoning and you’re heartbroken at the latest meltdown, school report or doctor’s appointment; then you know you need to dig deeper into the heart of the matter and work out why life isn’t as harmonious as it could be for your child.
Your child is an amazing, complex, whole system. What you are witnessing is a dynamic interplay between their mind, body and energy systems as they learn how to survive and thrive in the world. To an adult who has already developed their intellect and wisdom, a child’s tantrum or a meltdown can seem completely irrational and over the top. If you’ve ever tried to coerce your child into doing their maths homework or to eat their veges, you’ll know it can make you want to pull your hair out.
But because of brain science, we know with 100% certainty that a child will never doing anything because they want to annoy or frustrate you or because they’re not a nice kid; everything they do is because they want to feel safe and loved in the world.
Understanding how a child’s brain works
Children are processing masses of information from the moment they are born and learning how to stay safe in an uncertain world. As life begins to weave its magic, our children are rapidly programming an understanding of how they need to respond and behave in order to be accepted as part of the tribe.
Our survival system is tasked with this enormous responsibility. It develops a highly complex network of signals that send emotions through your brain and throughout your body to let you know when something feels good (and you should seek more of it) or when something is painful or unpleasurable (and you should avoid it at all costs).
When a child’s survival system is overwhelmed with fear (maybe because dad wasn’t happy when he came home from work & they were afraid they weren’t loved anymore) or seeking (because they didn’t get a cookie and it’s the only thing in the whole world that they wanted) or panic (because they have to move house and that’s terrifying) or pain (because all they needed was a hug and it hurts that they didn’t get it), then it’s not hard to understand why they can’t think clearly. Couple that with the fact that children don’t begin to develop their pre-frontal cortex (the higher reasoning and intellect part of our brain) until the age of around 7, and it’s amazing that children can stay calm and think through things at all.
The types of programs we learn about ourselves stay with us for life. Quite often, these programs are wired in before we’ve had a chance to understand our deeper values and worth as a person. This becomes critical for learning our potential, because quite often we have to unlearn our earlier belief systems in order for our truth to emerge.
Learning for our highest good
We never stop learning in life, in fact life brings us many inconsistences and painful experiences and we continue to learn how to stay connected to who we are even in the most stressful experiences.
There is one crucial factor that determines how well we learn in life and that is the maintenance of integrated brain function, called brain integration in kinesiology.
Brain integration represents the timing, synchronicity and connection of the neural events that allow our brain to operate as an integrated unit to complete tasks. Because the survival system will turn off brain integration and go straight into emotional overwhelm, we can sometimes experience such intense stress that we lose our ability to think at all, making it even impossible to do something we already knew how to do.
As children learn motor skills & spatial awareness, speech & auditory processing, reading, writing, social interaction & complex processing, they are expending huge amounts of energy. To complete all of these things successfully, they need to be able to access specific brain function, integrate these brain functions and keep them integrated under periods of high stress. A simple analogy is to think of a busy company. When the information is not flowing; to the right places, in the right time, with enough collaboration from the different parts of the company; then the business becomes inefficient and unproductive.
When the functions required to do a task are inaccessible or not integrated, no degree of clear explanation can help you understand or learn the concept. This is why so often extensive tutoring, counselling or remedial work has been of little value in overcoming specific learning and behavioural difficulties. This is why, even as adults, we tend to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
These blocks in function are normally like “bugs” in a software system or a block in a network of pipes that can ultimately be “debugged” or unblocked. When the system is once again re-integrated and the person has been shifted out of survival mode, then a space is created for them to learn a new way of being in the world, accomplishing tasks that previously seemed impossible and expressing themselves in a broader, more harmonious way.
For children, the most profound support you can give is to guide them back into a connected and calm place within themselves after periods of survival stress. No experience or emotion is ever ‘wrong’ in life, so teaching our children how to relax into our pain, fear or anger and how to let it go, is something that will help them to stay integrated throughout the many ups and downs of life.
Quite often acknowledging the pain your child feels but immediately reminding them of their true value and worth (even if they fail that exam or have just been suspended or have done something disrespectful), allows them a chance to re-wire their old understanding of themselves. When a parent stays connected to a child’s essential self, they create a clear pathway for the child to reconnect as well.
Kinesiology for brain integration
Kinesiology is a body-mind and energy medicine technique that delves deep into the nature of our stress, particularly hard-wired stress in the brain, and creates a space to release that stress and re-integrate our understanding in a calmer, clearer way.
The Learning Enhancement Acupressure Program is a kinesiology program that focusses primarily on re-wiring the bugs in our neural programming and releasing the main kinds of stress that tend to wreak havoc within children. This includes emotional stress, mental processing, environmental factors such as toxicity, immune & digestive stresses, energetic disharmony and creative function.
Melissa Baker is offering the Learning Enhancement Acupressure Program at Brisbane Natural Health for both children and adults. Depending on the nature of the learning or behavioural stress, the program can take from 8-20 hours, including a detailed assessment session.