Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Emotions of Childhood

"I get it! I finally get it! You taught me in your classes how important the early years are, but today, I really get it!" Carlson, my dentist and long-time friend, was talking to me in his office. "I read in my medical journal about a woman caught in the tangles of Alzheimer's," Carlson explained. "Yet, she wrote a book while it pummeled her back to the painful emotions of her childhood. The emotions were buried, but never resolved. For 80 years! Now they bedevil her mind again." Carlson shook his head and confided, "I finally understand the hurt of my childhood."

Before It's Too Late: Alzheimer's: Return of Childhood Emotions by Jane A. McAllister is Jane's story. A woman of great intelligence despite the disease, Jane writes, "The end of my life story is a painful shadow of the beginning, stored in the haunted halls of memory." The resentment, desperate isolation, and uncontrollable anger and guilt "are the same emotions that colored the earlier years of my life. Vivid and unsettling, they return as raging emotions."

That is why I write Colored with a Positive Crayon. It's a myth that children have no memories of their early years. What you do with your child today echoes for a lifetime. I am passionate that you know developmental stages so you understand acceptable behavior. I'm passionate that you respect your child's feelings. If ignored, feelings bury themselves. But they're alive, and someday explode. Jane tells us that.

A child is the last to know what she needs. That's why your child must have boundaries, and discipline that teaches. She needs endearing bedtimes to help her separate from you, and cheery mornings when you wrap your love around her again. The experiences of your child's early years will be stored forever in her hallowed halls of memory.

A Colored Thought: You color your child early with a positive crayon when you honor and respect her feelings.

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