If you look at the first picture of the brain, the purple part is called “The Thinking Brain” or at least I’m calling it that. Scientists call it The Cortex and specifically where advanced cognitive skills lie is the FRONT part of the Cortex, thus called the Prefrontal Cortex or PFC. But I’m just going to call it The Thinking Brain because I don’t like big sciencey words 😏
I want you to remember one thing about The Thinking Brain, yes? It’s this- it is HIGHLY undeveloped in children. That means, they can’t think or rationalize much. And it doesn’t finish its development until age 26/27. So yes. Hunker down for the next 20 years or so y’all.
Also in the picture, the red part is called The Limbic System or as I call it, The Feeling Brain. And even though we’re calling it that for the sake of this post, it actually does a lot more than that and one CRUCIAL thing about it is that it’s where the AUTOMATIC (or autonomous) functions like breathing and blinking reside. In other words, WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER IT!
What’s the one thing I want you to remember about The Feeling Brain? That it’s 100% developed from birth because that’s where the crucial-to-life functions reside. Yes?
Now when kids lose their shiz because something happened which they didn’t like or understand or struggle with, which part of their brain do you think they “think” with?
As you can see in the second picture, whenever kids are exposed to any of the above situations, The Thinking Brain pretty much “flies off the handle” or “flips it’s lid” as Dr. Dan Siegel explains in his “Brain Hand Model” (you tube link in comments).
In reality, it’s not like The Thinking Brain actually flies away.. what really happens is that the blood rushes away from it to the Limbic System and the LIMBS (which is also why they start using their hands for hitting).
Now when The Thinking Brain takes its leave, The Feeling Brain is exposed... forcing the child to express all their thoughts and struggles with INTENSE emotions. Anger just happens to be the easiest emotion, isn’t it? It’s usually our own go to emotion any time we’re feeling out of sorts with the world.
So now depending on how we respond, we can help bring that “Thinking Brain Lid” back and close the “emotional trunk” so to speak.
We do that by [#validation](https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/validation?source=feed_text&epa=HASHTAG)- it’s the MAGICAL key that locks the lid back into place and I won’t go into that because if you’re in this group, you better have a PH.D on that word by now 😉 (that's the next topic in this Unit). MRI's of parents and children show that when a parent validates the child, the child's vital signs begin to calm down and regulate. How beautiful!
Now going back to The Thinking Brain flying off... you can imagine that in its absence , the response comes from the “automatic” part of the brain which means until kids are older, and their thinking brain is more developed, it’s not a fair expectation from us that kids should emotionally regulate themselves and using phrases like “calm yourself”, “use your words”, “go to your room until you can talk nicely” are all useless and even unkind.
Because the child’s anger is really telling us they need our assistance in bringing back their thinking brain. No one likes to have their brain gone missing. I promise you. It’s not a good feeling.
That’s why trying to punish, distract or ignore them results in BIGGER reactions.
What CAN we do? This is a two pronged solution discussed in part 3. Emotionally regulate ourselves and extend OUR regulation to them.