Though it may not seem so, young children are in perpetual learning mode. The seemingly pointless and inane activity of an infant or toddler is in reality an attempt to gain control of their bodies and understand the world.
The learning process early in life has no time-outs and no filter. Therefore, the child takes in everything; the good, the bad, and the ugly; with no differentiation. For the child, there is no difference between exploring a smelly trash can or a toy car; just as there is no difference between saying Mama or blurting out a rude word.
The conscientious parent distracts the young child from the trash can and expresses shock at the rude word, molding the child to more acceptable behaviors. But let’s consider that rude word a little closer. Where did the child learn it? Most likely from the parent; and if the parent can say it, why can’t the child? Remember, the child has no filter, and no sense of right or wrong outside what they learn from parents or other significant caregivers.
With the trash can and rude words, the parent has observable evidence of the child’s learning and can provide correction. Of greater concern may be what the child learns from their parents that is not observable, and yet is still as undesirable as a rude word. How does one correct something that cannot be observed?
Young children, because it is their only responsibility, are remarkably adept at learning. But they learn differently from adults. They pay less attention to words and more to emotions. Emotional energy is the foundation for human life, and is therefore what the infant and toddler learn first.
Again, with no filter, the young child does not differentiate positive energy from negative energy. Negative emotions demonstrated by the parent (frustration, anger, sadness) are learned just as readily as positive emotions (joy, pride, happiness).
It is not just a matter of how the parent interacts with the child. The child observes how each adult behaves towards themselves. In other words, if you are self-critical—prone to whining, complaining, arguing, etc.—the child picks up on that emotional energy and it becomes part of their learned experience. Over time such learning is adopted into their own persona.
Certainly other factors come into play that influence child development. But consider, what negativity exists in your life that a child may be observing and learning? And, if you do not want them to learn it and integrate it into their life, why do you allow it to continue in your own?
There is a choice. Transforms negative energy into positive energy using hypnotherapy and health education. Becoming a happier “you” is the best example to set for a child.