Gary Sibcy, Ph.D.,co-author with Tim Clinton, of Attachments: Why You Love, Feel, and Act the Way You Do, states unequivocally that relationships--how we speak, relate, and respond to our children--are crucial to brain development. Furthermore, he emphasizes, the earlier we engage children properly in life, the more likely they are to be healthy, adaptable, and happy.
In the field of Interpersonal Neurobiology, it is becoming axiomatic that the brain is a social organ and that the relationships we experience at an early age change not only the way the brain functions but its very structure and its future function. The brain changes and forms with experience and our interpretation of those experiences based on what we see, hear, and feel around us. This particular and important feature of childhood is what experts call plasticity.
A child is not born with a fixed set of resources, not even genetically. The only thing that comes in ready to go is the brain stem, which allows us to breathe and sleep and blink without thinking. The rest of the synaptic and neural nets are wired, rewired, and wired again throughout our early lives. Eventually, those networks can become hard-wired, which is why knowing how to speak to our children is so vitally important.
Verbal First Aid™: "Kid Whispering" for Self-Healing and Safety
In the book Verbal First Aid™ we take this one step further--from the principle to the everyday practice. With the careful and thoughtful use of words and the strength of our presence, we not only can we help children feel better by relating and speaking to them in certain ways, but we can literally help them heal. With our words we can address autonomic function in ways that can help them be calm, stop or slow bleeding, reduce an inflammatory response, lower their blood pressure or soothe a broken heart.
In essence, by engaging the child's mind in the process of healing, we are teaching him how to heal himself, what his own body is capable of, how his thoughts, the pictures in his mind, and his expectations have a profound impact on how he feels and how he heals.
The protocol is simple and is based on three essential elements: