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Taking Advantage Of The Myelin Years When Parenting A Teen

Written by: Iva Perez, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Iva Perez

The teenage years are the ‘myelin’ years. Parents have a golden opportunity in their hands: a nifty little substance called myelin. Knowing how to harness it can truly change their child’s life.

A photo of a happy family in the garden.

The moment the plus symbol appeared on the pregnancy test, most parents-to-be began playing Mozart’s music in the hopes of having a positive effect on their unborn child.

Once the baby arrived, more educational material made its way into the home so the child’s brain would be primed with edifying content and stimulation to develop and grow. This is called programming.

There’s a reason why TV is also called programming.

Our subconscious mind gathers information from what we watch, read, and listen to 24/7 without ever taking a break. The media understands this and uses it to rewire our brains and actively direct our mindset and attention to what they want us to consume.

In one such study, participants based their perceptions of others to be more generous and warm after they had briefly held a warm cup of coffee in their hands rather than an iced drink.

Ezequiel Morsella, associate professor of psychology and co-author of the study, stated: "Our conscious thoughts seem protected from our surroundings, but we found that they are much more tightly linked to the external environment than we might realize, and that we have less control of what we will think of next."

Most parents intuitively know the importance of providing a stimulating environment that helps develop cognitive skills in their children. This is because children are born with a lot of neurons but very few connections between them. Brain connections form as children interact with their environment.

The amount of stimulation an infant receives is correlated to the number of synapses that are formed. Repetitive and consistent stimulation strengthens these connections and makes them permanent.

Good parenting has good programming at its core because it is about taking every opportunity available to help children develop to their fullest potential and be well-equipped for life.

However, parents need to understand at what stage of programming their children are in so they can better maximize their parenting efforts and engage in more effective interactions at each stage.

The programming years

Up until adulthood, children go through three stages:

0-7 years old: Children at this stage are like sponges. In his book “The Biology of Belief” Dr. Bruce Lipton explains how during this period the mind is programmed through the subconscious. The subconscious part of our mind is like our operating system: it runs all the time from before we were born and never sleeps. Even while we sleep, our subconscious mind is actively directing the processes of digestion, circulation, and breathing. During this stage, the brain operates mostly in the theta and alpha wavelengths, the same frequencies as under hypnosis or during a deep meditation state. At this stage, the brain’s neuronal connections are made and hardwired. This is the program we will be running for life.

It's important to know that the subconscious mind doesn’t differentiate between true and untrue information. It just takes it all in without questioning. That is why it’s so easy for children to believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy at this age.

7-13 years old: During this second stage, children can differentiate between true and untrue information. Andrew Bustamante, former CIA agent, explains that even though they still absorb it all, they begin to choose which information they give more value to. Once the subconscious mind accepts an idea or belief, it begins to execute it. No matter whether it’s good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, right or wrong, the subconscious mind accepts it all. Another important developmental aspect is that when kids turn 13, they are wired to ignore what their parents say. This helps teenagers develop social connections with people outside of their families as mammals are wired to find mates also outside of their immediate circle. Children will listen to other children and other parents with attention, so having a good support system of friends and relatives is highly beneficial.

13-25 years old: Puberty lasts until 25 years of age. At this stage, young adults tend to resist some forms of information because they now have the cognitive capacity to hear something and reject it. The subconscious mind has now been running beliefs that began in early childhood and is busy gathering evidence all around to prove that those early beliefs are true and showing up in their reality. The brain activity increases to above 13 cycles per second which are known as Beta brainwaves. This is the world of conscious, analytical thinking. The mind is awake, focused, and alert and is capable of logical thinking. Adults spend most of their time in this cycle.

Many parents find it discouraging that by the time they gain awareness of how beliefs are installed in their children, it might be too late to do something about it.

After all, most literature on the subject tends to signal the ages of 0 to 6 as the prime time to install positive messages in a child’s mind, as they will be accepted as true.

As an RTT Hypnotherapist, most of my adult clients have deep-rooted beliefs such as “I’m not worthy”, “I’m not good enough”, “I can’t connect”, “I am unlovable” that were installed, usually between the ages of 0 to 6, and in most cases, unintentionally, by well-meaning parents.

So, when parents of teenagers read about how the most important thing a parent can do for a child is to give them empowering, healthy, and positive inner beliefs, they might feel they have missed the boat.

However, the teenage years are a great opportunity to unravel unhealthy beliefs that might have been installed in previous programming stages and install powerful new ones instead.

Cue in myelin. Knowing how to harness it can truly change a child’s life.

Looking towards the future, parents of teenagers want their children to have the tools that will help them thrive as adults in a fast-paced, ever-changing world.

But knowledge and particular skill sets will only get them so far if deep down at their core, a teen doesn’t believe they are lovable, enough, or even worthy of receiving good things in life.

This is because, in life, you don’t get what you want, you get what you believe in.

Parents need to ask themselves what would they like their children to believe about themselves and life in general because the subconscious mind will execute based on this programming and will look for evidence that sustains it.

The better parents understand how beliefs are formed, the more hopeful they will feel about helping their teenager with a powerful turnaround of their belief system if need be.

After all, a belief is just a thought that you keep thinking and keep thinking and keep thinking. Since kids have a meaning-making machine in their subconscious mind, between the second and third stages of programming, their subconscious is actively looking for more and more evidence that the belief is so.

But something else is also happening at this stage for teens.

In the book Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, & Endorphin Levels, author Loretta Graziano Breuning goes on to explain the fascinating story of a nifty little substance called myelin and its link to the teenage brain.

While a child is busy thinking the same thought over and over again, his brain activates specific sets of neurons in the brain. A neuron used repeatedly develops a fatty coating called myelin. This coating makes a neuron extremely efficient at conducting electricity making a task, behavior, and thought feel effortless.

Proof of this is reading the following sentence:

Mary had a little ____ “

Myelinated circuits immediately answer: the word ‘lamb’. Even though, the Mary in question could have been someone else and not the Mary from the famous children’s song.

In her book, Loretta Graziano Breuning states that most of the myelin production happens by age 2 and it increases again at puberty which coincides with mammals’ biological needs to wire new learning to improve their mating opportunities usually looking outside to new tribes.

The myelin surge of adolescence makes this possible.

In short, anything that is done repeatedly in the ‘myelin years’ develops huge, efficient branches in the brain’s neural network.

As the Mary example above, our thoughts are generated by big, myelinated circuits and myelin explains why it’s hard to unlearn a circuit you’d rather do without past the puberty stage.

Since teen brains are still developing, it myelinates whatever it experiences. If a teen gets bullied or rejected by his peers, he begins myelinating beliefs around the world not being safe, being unlovable, or not enough which might later trigger the onset of anxiety, depression, addictions, and other unwanted behaviors.

That’s exactly why it’s so important to shape the experiences teenagers are soaking up.

Because the subconscious mind controls 95% of our thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and behaviors in our daily lives, whatever program it is running will overpower the conscious behavior- the part that we have “control” over. But our conscious mind is only 5% of the equation.

This is the reason why repeating affirmations a hundred times a day has little effect if the beliefs that have been installed during the programming years run counter to them.

The world teenagers are growing up in is vastly different from their parent's generation. The Internet and social media are a constant presence that teens are exposed to daily, at almost every minute of every hour. This creates so many more issues in teenage years than what previous generations had to deal with, PLUS all the following: online bullying, anxiety, depression, academic performance, and achievements.

When teens are left to their own devices to deal with these issues, the beliefs that are myelinated from these experiences happen without filter, and may lead to the onset of chronic anxiety, depression, and struggles throughout adulthood.

When looking to reprogram or override unhelpful or limiting beliefs in children and teens, Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT®)- Hypnotherapy is an effective and evidence-based modality that can help children and adolescents:

decrease stress and anxiety, achieve goals, build confidence, decrease chronic pain, improve focus and attention, reduce excessive fears, and maximize resilience.

It reprograms the brain naturally, utilizing the advantage of myelin production, which helps encode stronger and more robust synapses that help internalize new empowering beliefs teens will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

RTT Hypnotherapy changes a child's life for the better without relying on substances or invasive procedures at such a critical stage in a child’s development.

Parents have a golden opportunity with their teens to help them adopt a more empowering, confident, healthy and positive view of themselves and the world, so why not prime them to live up to their fullest potential?

Have a taster of what an RTT Hypnotherapy session is like and Uncover the Biggest Belief Holding You Back in Life Bypass the guesswork and the online quizzes. Your subconscious mind already knows what is holding you back. This audio helps you uncover core limiting beliefs in minutes using soothing 396 Hz frequency background music. It includes a Re-Patterning Session to lose blockages and negativity. Instructions booklet included.

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Iva Perez Brainz Magazine

Iva Perez, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Iva Perez is on a mission to help 1,000 women and entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success, confidence and freedom. She has successfully merged 20 years of corporate experience with her studies on the Science of the Mind into her role as a Licensed Transformational Hypnotherapist and is endorsed by UK’s No. 1 Therapist, Marisa Peer. She helps women and entrepreneurs drop the overwhelm and anxiety and, instead, create new subconscious beliefs to facilitate powerful transformations. This way, mothers can successfully navigate the overlap between work and family life. Iva is the co-host of the Top Ranked podcast, Mom Bosses Abroad as well as an avid speed reader and matcha evangelist.



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