In the final of the 4-part series with Kidskintha, Devishobha and Divya talked about how the environments children are exposed to impact their behavior and personality.

It all boils down to the need to connect – the connection of a couple, the connection of the couple with the community, and the mother’s indescribable connection with her offspring. Divya busts the common notions that we have all heard while raising our children.

Here is the synopsis of our talk with Divya Deswal.

Understanding your body:

Depending upon our perception of safety or threat, biological changes take place within our body. If you are in danger, then your body will shut down and build a defence system. If there is a sense of safety and security, the body focuses on the internal needs of the organs. When the body feels unsafe, it produces cortisol. In the short term, this is a protective measure, whereas, in the long term, it causes harm. Short-term stress challenges your body and makes it work better, whereas chronic stress translates into lifestyle diseases.

What keeps us healthy and happy?

The connection between human beings, a sense of community, and knowing that you are not alone – acts as a buffer against stress. A sense of safety comes by knowing we are not alone. Babies need to connect with their parents to feel safe. When the baby feels safe it will thrive and grow, and when he feels unsafe, cortisol start to build within the body.

What constitutes a negative environment for the baby?

A negative environment for the baby can stem from various situations – When the parents are happy but do not spend time with the baby, if the baby doesn’t know who will take care of him, or if the person who is taking care of him isn’t interested in his well being. The parents’ constant expectations can also constitute a negative environment. Very often, we say that the child has to conform to us. Another situation could be that the mother is feeling unloved and uncared for. The baby senses the mother’s feelings and responds to them.

How can the child be comforted?

Consistent, caring care is a positive environment for the baby. Connection is the most important aspect of our well-being. That is why bonding for the child begins before birth. At birth, the baby is looking for a connection with the mother because it is a buffer against anxiety, fear, and threat.

Are babies resilient as we make them out to be?

When babies are neglected, they develop strategies to cope with situations. When you leave the baby for four nights expecting him to sleep independently, what does the baby learn? The child understands very quickly that nobody will come. ‘Nobody is coming’ becomes the truth of their lives. This causes a ripple effect causing behavioral issues, behavioral issues in relationships, no self-worth, etc. Babies are not resilient. Behaviorally they may adapt, but their biology doesn’t.

How to identify if the child has been affected?

Look at their biological patterns, such as eating and sleeping. Is he getting up to feed often? Is there resistance to sleep? Does he cry a lot? Does the baby suck a lot? Is the baby restless?How do we teach children to cope with stressful situations?Children shouldn’t learn to cope with toxic situations. We are supposed to protect them. When the situation is beyond our control, the kid will learn to cope, but that is a small percentage that sees the eye of a tragedy. What is the pathway to repair?It’s essential to understand why you are having a difficult time in your relationship or the cause of the challenge in your life. Look at your childhood and reflect on your inner child. Your beliefs, behaviors, and habits result from the parenting style that you were exposed to. It’s time to work on yourself.

The motherhood pedestal.

We have equated motherhood with martyrhood. Kids sense the situation and emotions of the mother. If she keeps quiet about the turmoil that she is facing, the child tends to dwell in uncertainty which is not healthy. Another talking to the child and tells him that his love will sustain her and he doesn’t have to do anything for the situation to get better, the child will begin to trust his emotions. Own your feelings and show them to your children.

The road to recovery

There should be at least one person in the child’s life who gives consistent care. Encourage your child to talk to you. Do some free play and express your love with hugs and kisses. We encourage all activities that can reset the internal nervous system to feel safe. You cannot wipe the experience of the trauma. Consistency, patience, and compassion are very essential for the path to recovery. Therapeutic calming activities Exercise is a very good way to reset the parasympathetic nervous system; playing with the child, babywearing, walks, looking at nature, automatic drawing, music therapy, getting together in groups, dance, and expressive narrative writing are all forms of therapy.