Building a brain is much like building a house. Our brains are built from the bottom up, and growth needs to happen in a specific order for everything to be “structurally sound”. At birth we are pretty much run by the right side of our brain. Our right brain is much like the brake pedal of the brain, and its primary goal is to keep us safe. Your right brain also controls interoception, which is simply the ability to understand you’re internal perception, and how your body feels and functions. This means that at birth, although your child is beginning to interact with the environment, they are mainly focused on themselves and how they feel at any given point. We are born with only about 20% of our total adult brain, and this means that every inch we start with needs to be useful. At birth and through year one and two we have one single goal, and that is to survive. Although in todays world for most infants this is not a super difficult task. Our ancestors had a much more difficult time with this and that is why it is genetically coded within us. Once we have reached the second year of life an amazing thing happens to us, our left brain begins its growth process and becomes more active.
Our left brain is the “excitatory” side of our brain, and could be more considered as the gas pedal. The left brain controls something called exteroception, which is just our ability to interact with and understand the world around us. This also means that your child is going to want to be a lot more independent suddenly. It is time for your child to learn, and this is why many of them have endless questions. Although age two is the average timeframe for this process to begin, it can vary, occurring earlier or later. It can be a very strenuous time for parents seeing your child’s mood go from a bright eyed toddler asking about everything to suddenly turning into a screaming monster at the blink of an eye. Each child goes through this brain development period slightly different, and may have varying degrees of outbursts, if any.
Behavior from your child can be mood changes, temper tantrums, meltdowns, or screaming the word “no.” Sometimes your toddler wants to bite you, and maybe sometimes they want to kiss you, best bet is to flip a coin. Understand although this is an incredibly frustrating time for some parents, this is a time when your child is expressing themselves and learning. This will not be the first time your child begins to “test the waters”, but can potentially be the most important time to teach your child how to properly interact with the world around them. In essence, you are shaping their exteroception. Angrily yelling back or talking down to them at this point overall will not be a productive solution, nor will sweetly asking to please quiet down. Depending on the strength of your child’s outburst, the best solution may be allowing them to calm down before confrontation (essentially ignoring them), or sternly inform them this is not how we ask for things. Overall your child does not understand what they are doing is incorrect or improper, and it is your job to show them the way.
This is also a time where issues can show more clearly neurologically. Keeping an eye on your child that may decide they hate wearing clothes with tags because of excessive sensitivity may become more apparent. Depending on diet, you may find a bumpy rash on the back of their arms if they are having food sensitivities. Excessive jumpiness, inability to sit still, sound/light sensitivity, food addictions primarily to sweets or carbs, trouble potty training, and many more can become more apparent with your kiddo. These problems can all be caused by abnormal development causing a “functional disconnection.” This just means as your brain is forming there can be certain areas that are underdeveloped, or immature. The good news is with proper dietary and neurological stimulus intervention many of these issues can be helped. Proper monitoring and quick intervention by someone trained in these areas will get your child back on the fast track to health in no time.
Dr. Jacob Boraas D.C.
Functional Healing Institute