Wishful reflections: Nurturing Parenthood and Practice - insights from Neuroscience ~ Anisha Gadhia

In the hustle and bustle of parenthood and professional practice, wouldn't it be amazing to have the insights of neuroscience at our fingertips? As someone deeply entrenched in supporting children, families, and practitioners, I often find myself reflecting on what I wish I had known during those early years of raising my own children and throughout my career as a frontline practitioner.

One of the first revelations is recognising the inherent vulnerability we all share. It's not just about certain children and families labelled as 'vulnerable'; neuroscience teaches us that resilience is a dynamic state influenced by numerous factors. From stress levels to support networks, resilience isn't fixed but rather a product of our environment and experiences.

Here are some key reflections from my journey:

Every interaction matters: From the very beginning, every interaction with our children shapes their brains. They're not just learning tasks; they're absorbing feelings of safety, trust, and belonging. Understanding this can radically shift how we approach parenting.

Behaviour as communication: Instead of viewing children's behaviour as misbehaviour, it's crucial to see it as communication. They're expressing their need for safety, connection, and understanding. Engaging with their emotions rather than suppressing them fosters healthy emotional intelligence.

It's okay to ask for help: 'Good enough' parenting isn't about perfection but about knowing when to seek support. Building resilience in our children starts with nurturing our own well-being.

Self-care is essential: Just like the airplane oxygen mask analogy, we must prioritise our own resilience. It's about setting boundaries, seeking support, and practising self-compassion.

As a frontline practitioner, these insights took on a deeper meaning:

Understanding trauma: Adverse childhood experiences profoundly impact brain development, often leaving individuals stuck in survival mode. Recognising this is crucial for effective support.

The process of recovery: Recovery from trauma isn't linear; it's a complex journey marked by ups and downs. Stabilisation or stability takes time, and patience is key.

The power of compassion: Compassionate, relational approaches are fundamental to fostering change and resilience. It's not just about what we do but how we engage with others.

Prioritising wellbeing: In high-stress environments, maintaining compassion and relational skills can be challenging. Creating safe spaces for open dialogue and support is essential for practitioners' mental health.

Neurological breaks: Our brains aren't built to be 'always on.' Taking micro-breaks throughout the day allows us to recharge and refocus, enhancing our ability to support others effectively.

Embracing the neuroscience of parenthood and practice can transform our approach to caregiving and support. If any of this resonates with you, please share your thoughts in the comments and get in touch to explore how neuroscience can enrich your journey. Together, we can cultivate a culture of understanding, compassion, and resilience.