When a house is built, plumbing and wiring are installed early in the process. Once installed, the pipes and wires are likely to remain unchanged for the life of the house. The same is true of the brain’s wiring. Early relationships literally wire up a child’s emotional-control circuitry. Here is how “neurons that fire together wire together.” This phrase encapsulates the neurological theory presented by Donald Hebb in his 1949 book The Organization of Behavior. When adjacent neurons in the brain fire at the same time, they connect to each other and form a new circuit. Think of welding. If a red-hot piece of metal touches another piece of metal, the two pieces become attached. If an electrical current is then applied to one piece, it flows through the other as well. … [Read more...] about Do We All Hate the Idea That Something Is Wrong With Us?
Patenting an idea free
Children love to play in emotionally exciting ways. Little ones delight in being tossed into the air or swung around by adults or teenagers (but only if the children themselves determine the height of the tosses and the vigor of the swinging). They also love to be chased by a “monster.” Somewhat older children enjoy somersaulting, pirouetting, cartwheeling, and other forms of spinning around; sliding, swinging high, and teeter-tottering on playground equipment; climbing trees or up the sides of buildings; leaping from heights onto water or snowbanks; and zipping around on scooters, bikes, skateboards, skis, and other devices that permit speed. Children of all ages seem to have a sense of their limits in such play. They typically start at low heights or slow speeds and move gradually up. They take risks in moderation. The joy of play combined with a modicum of fear is the exquisite sensation we all identify as thrill. But being thrown too high, or falling too … [Read more...] about Free Play Is Essential for Normal Emotional Development
Much has been written about the situation at Yale, with outside observers such as Friedersdorf taking sides in a very polarized situation. While Erika and Nicholas Christakis sound very reasonable at first blush in email and video-capture, and make a case for both free speech and college students being grown ups not needing to be “policed” re Halloween garb, etc, from what I’ve seen so far, they miss the point: the administration stepped up (in their email about inappropriate Halloween costumes) in support of students because of longstanding issues of exclusion and ignorant or malicious actions creating a climate of not only misunderstanding but also fear. Why should it fall to minority students to continually educate their peers? It’s tiresome. Halloween costumes become not simply a means of play, but a means of exerting power and control. (See “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume’ Campaign”, initiated … [Read more...] about The Assault on the American Mind
Grieving allows us to feel. It lets us parse our thoughts and emotions, seeing that feelings of loss lie just below the surface, crippling shame right beneath that, paralyzing fear that no one will ever truly love us, and — beneath that — the deep howl of great anguish. Mourning the mothering you deserved — and yes, permitting yourself to weep, scream, and keen — puts you in touch with all of your feelings, including those you learned to wall off, dissociate from, or deny as part of your coping mechanisms in childhood. The best place to do this is in the office of a gifted therapist, but if you can’t afford it, working on mourning and pushing through to letting go and getting to acceptance on your own beats staying stuck. Again, here, my book Daughter Detox may be of help, along with this post which sketches out the process. … [Read more...] about Unloved Daughters: Anger, Recognition, and Recovery
It's also interesting to note that although New Zealand has officially recognized nonhuman animals (animals) as sentient beings, the methods that are used surely will cause deep and enduring pain and suffering leading to the death of millions upon millions of sentient beings. There's no way that the vast majority of animals who are killed are going to be killed in any way that resembles "humane." Some people have gone as far as to call it a cop-out, because it's difficult to imagine that anyone who claims that the victims will be killed humanely can truly believe this given what we know about the horrific ways in which these individuals are harmed and killed. There's no way that even a fraction of the animals who are killed using 1080 and other brutal methods will die humanely with compassion and empathy. And, of course, do they really care about the humans' kind thoughts? (See "Is Killing Introduced Predators 'Absolutely Necessary?'" and links … [Read more...] about Accusations of “Invasive Species Denialism” Are Flawed