Happy Healthy Child: A Holistic Approach - Page 2
|Happy Healthy Child: A Holistic Approach|
Kamrath: Can you talk about the benefits of following nature’s design for childbirth, as well as the importance of the initial bonding that takes place between the mother and baby at birth?
Lipton: Nature created this entire birthing process, and every step of the way is instrumental and effective in creating a natural, normal development of a human. When we try to bypass the process or interfere with the use of chemicals and drugs, we are diverting a very natural process of evolution. For example, in order for a child to do very well in life, he really has to have a crawling period before he starts to walk. If you try to bypass the crawling stage and get the child to walk right away, you miss a very important developmental phase. We now find this is true for birthing as well. Going through the birth canal is a developmental process which influences the fate and future of this child. If the birth is difficult with all kinds of complications, the newborn learns from this experience. It is the first impression of what this new world is like.
Nature is very efficient. It does everything for a reason. It’s humans that think, “Oh well, that wasn’t necessary, we can change that.” And that’s where the problems start. This is especially true in regard to the critical bonding that takes place at the moment of birth. A child has been in one world and then is coming into a new world. If you were an astronaut very safely ensconced inside your capsule with everything you need, you would be very happy. What if all of a sudden you were told, “Okay, you have to get out on a space walk, jump outside of the capsule and start floating in space.” You would say, “Well okay, I’ve got my umbilical cord on and I’m still pretty connected.” But what would happen to an astronaut if the umbilical cord were severed, and now the astronaut is floating in space? Lost and abandoned like that, the fear of this disconnection would affect him profoundly. And fear kills: People can be scared to death.
Imagine a child that has been connected during its entire developmental period, and all of a sudden he’s thrust out into the world. The umbilical cord is cut, and now the child is floating. When a child is taken away from the mother during the birth process, it is the ultimate fear that a child will ever experience. It has profound physiological consequences on the hormonal system and belief system of the child, and his trust in the world. However, when a child is born and laid on his mother’s stomach and the child comes naturally up to the breast, then the heartbeat that was there for the entire developmental period is restored to the child. The safety, the touch, the comfort and the bonding that occurs during this time is more than just physical bonding— it’s an energy bonding. It’s fulfilling the natural developmental process, assuring a happiness and a health to this child, letting him know that he is being welcomed and loved. When we make birth a medical procedure, we throw a monkey wrench into the entire system. We have to know that this child is a lot more than just a bundle of cells being born. It is an intelligent human being, quite aware of the environment.
Kamrath: Can you talk about the importance of striving to be as conscious as we can about our parenting choices and how our beliefs, attitudes and behaviors impact the happiness and health of children?
Lipton: In my book, The Biology of Belief, I talk about the fact that the mind controls our biology. There are two minds—the conscious mind, which is the creative mind with our personal identity or our spirit, and the subconscious mind, which is almost like a tape recording device that records behaviors, and at the push of a button, plays the behavior back. This is the non-thinking, habitual mind. We operate our lives 95 percent of the time from the subconscious programs and only 5 percent of the time from the creative, personal, conscious mind. Where did these habits come from? For the first six years of a child’s life, the conscious part of the brain is not primarily functioning. The brain is functioning at a very low EEG level, called theta. A child is observing the environment just like a television camera, recording everything, bypassing consciousness—which isn’t working yet—and going straight into the subconscious. The child uses its parents as the teachers to fill in the data in the subconscious mind.
The moment a child is born, its function is to recognize the faces of the mother and father—first thing he does. Within a couple of days, the child can clearly distinguish the mother’s and father’s face from all other faces. The child also learns to distinguish the characteristics of the face. Is the face happy or scared or afraid? The child learns this within the first couple of weeks. Ever after, in the early developmental stages of this child, any time he has an issue or concern or comes across something new in his environment, there’s an instinctual pattern where the child looks at his mother or father and observes what their face says. So, if the child is in front of something dangerous and then looks at his parent and the parent has a look of being worried or frightened, the child immediately knows that whatever he is looking at, according to the mother or father, is dangerous. The child will instantly avoid that thing. On the other hand, if the look on his parent's face is happy, smiling, conveying that everything’s wonderful, then the child will experiment and play with whatever the new thing is in his environment. The child observes and gauges the world through the parents’ responses, and uses them as a reference point. If the parents are living in fear or concern or anxiety, the child is learning exactly what the parents’ fears and anxieties are, and this becomes the behavioral program in that child’s subconscious mind. The child is learning his fundamental habits, not from his own personal experience, but from observing and downloading the habits and experiences that the parents are presenting to him. Again, this is nature’s way of downloading a tremendous quantity of data about our civilization at any time. You can’t put this in the genes; if these behaviors were programmed in the genes and evolution and the development of civilization changes, then the genes would not install the optimal programs.
Nature puts instincts into the genes, because we need those no matter what the world is doing. But all the other fundamental behaviors you get from your teacher. And the parents are that teacher. And, of course, the biggest problem with conscious parenting is, conscious parenting is a conscious idea. Yes, I want to raise a happy, healthy child. That’s great, but that comes from the conscious mind, which operates 5 percent of the time. Even conscious parents are operating only from the habits that they’ve learned from their parents 95 percent of the time. And the issue is, the child isn’t just observing the parent during the conscious parenting; the child observes the parent 100 percent of the time.
Kamrath: This is fascinating, and so important for parents to understand. What’s a parent to do who doesn’t want to instill the same programs in their child that they observed?
Lipton: To really become a parent, you must observe your own negative behaviors and change some of the original behaviors that you learned from your parents. If you don’t, you will propagate those behaviors on. This, for example, is how most of cancer is transmitted, not from the genes but from the behaviors that are propagated.
Again, the programming of a child’s subconscious primarily occurs during the first six years of his life. In fact, we now recognize that half of a child’s personality is probably developed even before he’s born, through the information that comes across the placenta, including emotional chemicals and growth factors from the mother. So you might ask, what are the programs in my subconscious? Can I think about programming in my subconscious? Unfortunately, no, because thinking is conscious. The conscious mind wasn’t even there when the programs were being downloaded.
So now you’re running into a problem. You have these subconscious programs and you can’t really access them. However, here’s the fun part: You don’t have to go backward. Ninety-five percent of your life is a printout of your subconscious. So, all you have to do is just look at your current life, see what works and understand that the things that work do so because of beliefs in your subconscious that encourage them. On the other hand, the things you struggle with are there not because the universe doesn’t want you to have them, but because you have programs of limitation. Therefore, if you want to correct the programming in your life, you don’t have to do a wholesale rebuilding of the subconscious. You just have to look and see the things you are struggling with.
If you are struggling, it almost inevitably implies you have a program that says you can’t go there. You have to change that specific program; you don’t have to wipe the slate clean.
The subconscious isn’t all bad. It gives us a lot of great things. If you were a child in a family where your parents were fully conscious and aware, and programmed their lives to live in happiness, harmony, winwin, love-everything, and that was the environment you grew up in, then your subconscious would have all those programs. So when you grew up, you could daydream your entire life away and yet find yourself at the top of the pile. Why? Because the automatic processing from your subconscious mind, 95 percent of the time, would be such good programs that it would always take you to the top of the pile, even if you weren’t paying attention. That’s the destination we’re looking for.