web analytics
February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Integration: Helping Our Children Use Their Whole Brains


Schonfeld-logo1

“But, I can’t reach the light!” Yoni yelled after his father asked him to turn on the hallway light.

“Yoni, you can reach the switch. You have done it hundreds of times before. You just need to go brush your teeth and in order to get to the bathroom, you need to go through the hallway,” his father, Noam, sighed.

He could tell by Yoni’s body language that this fit was going to be a long one. Yoni was already sprawled on the floor, his hands tightly balled into fists.

“I can’t. I don’t remember how,” Yoni whined.

Noam knew this was not true. Just a few minutes before, he had turned off the light. Today, Yoni just felt like refusing to cooperate.

“Well, Yoni, if you can’t reach the light, then you won’t be able to brush your teeth and we won’t have time for a bedtime story before bed.”

“No! You can tell me the story now! And, you can turn on the light. I just can’t reach it. Tatty, I can’t reach it. I can’t!”

Just then, Yoni’s little brother Binny waddled into the room. “Tatty, I can’t sleep with all the yelling,” Binny sniffled, holding onto his blanket.

“Okay, Binny. Go back to bed. It’s going to be quiet soon,” Noam said. But, he wasn’t so sure. Once Yoni got started, Noam always seemed to say the wrong thing and set him off for longer.

***

I have often discussed dealing the “explosive child” or a child who struggles with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). To help the explosive child, I often mention Dr. Ross Greene’s groundbreaking work on using “Plan B.” Recently, another approach has been gaining popularity. This approach promoted by Daniel J. Siegel, MD, is about “the whole-brain child.”

The strategies Seigel suggests are not just for explosive children, but everyday parenting struggles. Seigel explains that parents are often experts about their children’s bodies. They know how much temperature is considered a fever, the correct dosage of Tylenol, how to clean a cut and bandage it, and which foods they are allergic to. Interestingly, he points out that even educated and concerned parents know very little about how the mechanics of the brain work. Yet, the biology of the brain is responsible for so much of what parents care about: discipline, decision-making, self-awareness, school, relationships and self-esteem.

The more we know about how our children’s brains work, the better we will be able nurture stronger, more resilient children. Not only that, but it can make parenting easier and more meaningful. The goal of this article is to give you a taste of how Seigel’s “whole brain perspective” can be applied to everyday parenting moments. This is not a manual that will eliminate all the stress involved in parenting, however, it should help explain some often-inexplicable occurrences.

Integration

The main concept behind the whole-brain child is integration. When the different parts of the brain collaborate, they create more robust connections. The better and more powerfully connected, or integrated, the different parts of the brain are, the more harmoniously they can work together.

So, how can you recognize when your child’s brain (or your brain) is in a state of integration? Seigel explains that integration is like floating in the middle of a river – and avoiding the river’s two banks. One side, he explains, is the bank of chaos, where you feel out of control. “Instead of floating in the peaceful river, you are caught up in the pull of the tumultuous rapids, and confusion and turmoil rule the day.” On the other bank of the river lies rigidity. As opposed to being out of control, you are “imposing control on everything and everyone around you.” You are unwilling to compromise or adapt.

We all move back and forth between chaos and rigidity throughout the day. When we are farthest from the middle of the river, we are also farthest from mental and emotional health. The better we are at avoiding the extremes, the more time we spend in “the river of well-being.”

Our children float along their own “rivers” and when we are in situations in which they lose their tempers or throw tantrums, framing their behavior through this lens can help us understand how well-integrated the different parts of their brains are at that moment. With this knowledge, you can help guide your child back to the middle ground.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Integration: Helping Our Children Use Their Whole Brains”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Reducing Iran’s Number of Centrifuges Makes a Bomb More Likely
Latest Sections Stories
Niehaus-022715

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

Mendlowitz-022715-Basket

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Astaire-022715-Countryside

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

South-Florida-logo

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.

Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

I’m here to sit next to you and help you through this Purim with three almost-too-easy mishloach manot ideas, all made with cost-conscious paper bags.

Kids want to be like their friends, and they want to give and get “normal” mishloach manos stocked with store-bought treats.

Whenever he did anything loving for me, I made a big deal about it.

“OMG, it’s so cute, you’re so cute, everything is so cute.”

A program that started with a handful of volunteers has grown exponentially to include students from a wider array of backgrounds.

Tutor. Counselor. The doctor too,
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with you.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

Tutor. Counselor. The doctor too,
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with you.

Schonfeld-logo1

Pioneering authors Peg Dawson and Richard Guare, in their book Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, outline the ways that we employ executive skills regularly.

Because I get phone calls about this all the time, I have put together a quick “cheat sheet” with milestones for reading, writing, and math from first grade through high school.

The reason behind this is that when we ask our brains and bodies to make drastic changes, our fight or flight response kicks in and we become paralyzed.

Why is there such a steep learning curve for teachers? And what can we, as educators and community activists, do better in the educational system and keep first-year teachers in the job?

With so many new cases of ADHD reported each year, it is important to help children learn how to sit still.

While encouraging your child to take responsibility for bed-wetting (like asking him to change the sheets), remember that it is important not to get angry or make him feel guilty.

As we said, you cannot get rid of a bad habit, you can only change it. But, how?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/integration-helping-our-children-use-their-whole-brains/2013/03/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: