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  • Johanna Lynn

How Children Learn to Love

Updated: Apr 16

Our most deeply ingrained lessons about how to be in relationship develop in the womb. From the moment of conception we develop in relationship.

Our experience in the womb shapes the brain and lays the groundwork for personality and emotional temperament.

As an infant our brain is patterning after our caretaker’s brain, there is a lot of neural selection that goes on at this time. This determines our attachment style, our ability to trust love and our sense of belonging.

If mom had to return to work fairly soon after birth or if mom is physically with us yet emotionally overwhelmed or struggling with post partum depression all of this has an influence on our developing brain. 

What happens in our home environment determines which neural pathways are developed and which are pruned is based on the style of care giving we receive. Are we building pathways of love and confidence or of disconnection and anxiety?

We have the least developed brain at birth, of any other animal born, we come into life the most dependent on our caregivers. 

90% of brain development happens outside the womb in direct relationship to mom.

Within a baby’s developing brain, we all have neurons that grow in direct relationship to the care, attention from mom along with her focus and her attunement with our needs.  

There are also neurons that are pruned if mom’s attention is elsewhere.

As a baby is unable to understand that mom is just nervous or stressed, instead often what builds over time is the internal message of I’m not safe or I’m not worthy when there is a sense of being disconnected from mom.

For the moms who are reading this, we all have times when we will spend time away from our baby. What matters most is the reconnection, looking baby directly in the eyes, taking the time to say: I missed you, whenever I go, I will always come back to you.

This remains important when the child heads off to school or you return to work. Sharing meaningful good-byes at drop off and reconnection at pick up times. This keeps us connected with your children even within the separation during the day.

This often carries into adulthood with many people feel disconnected from their mom and this makes it difficult for us to create friendships that we trust, with the majority of complications showing in intimate relationships. Hurts left unspoken or patterns of relating with our mom replicate with our spouse.

Did you know that the way we acted as a teenager has something to reveal about our current needs in a relationship?

Much of what we needed more of as an infant will end up being expressed as a teenager as so many of our emotions are right at the surface. This unique window of time in our life when we are reaching for independence but still dependent on Mom and Dad for what will need in life.

Identifying what is unresolved in your most important relationships is like patching that leak in a flat tire for your peace of mind.

By turning your focus to what feels unresolved in your earliest life experiences in combination with how love flows between you and your parents can give so many clues as to why you need what you do in your current relationships. 

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