In the insightful book ‘The Boy Who Was Brought Up as A Dog’, Perry points out that in a lifetime of work he discovered the crucial importance of the first three years of life to the actions and reactions of the adult. It is in those years, when we barely speak, when we are putting the world together, when the brain is developing, that a hug at the right time performs what years if therapy may take in an adult.
Children left to cry become antisocial because they learn their pleas for comfort go unanswered, the wrong touch traumatises and instills a lifetime of fear, behaviour patterns are laid down with the baby in the cot.
Many people look to education and try to amend the system to get ‘better’ citizens, more thoughtful individuals but the foundation of the individual is their emotional make-up. Their willingness to engage, their social skills, the ability to navigate through the complex social cues of a highly intellectual animal are all given in our early years.
You can help a child learn facts and make friendships at school, you can develop characteristics, but those characteristics depend a great deal upon parenting and you cannot ‘teach’ feeling. As Perry says repeated actions in those early years instruct the brain and thirty repeated hugs will do in the baby what it takes thousands to achieve to help stabilise a traumatised adult.
If you want to change the world, always be there for your children.