Gaining Power to Defend Themselves...
NOT to Attack Others !!
In my over thirty years as a RIE® Associate, those parents attending Certified RIE family support groups gain more confidence in themselves, and many experience less stress than the norm on standardized testing which I conducted in a five year longitudinal research project for my masters degree at Pacific Oaks College (1991, Pasadena, CA). These parents have confidence in their infants and toddlers and the older siblings, an attitude which hopefully often enough spares their children the feelings of being under domination by an authoritarian style of parenting, the stuff that author Alice Miller has so often written about.
“People whose integrity has not been damaged in childhood, who were protected, respected, and treated with honesty by their parents, will be--both in their youth and in adulthood--intelligent, responsive, empathic, and highly sensitive. They will take pleasure in life and will not feel any need to kill or even hurt others or themselves. They will use their power to defend themselves, not to attack others. They will not be able to do otherwise than respect and protect those weaker than themselves, including their children, because this is what they have learned form their own experience." -- The Drama of the Gifted Child
Parents and children could demonstrate to the highest level the seminal work of the Families and Work Institute, (1997) in Rethinking the Brain: New Insights into Early Brain Development: “The best way to help very young children grow into curious, confident, able learners is to give them warm, consistent care so that they can form secure attachments to those who care for them.” The infant develops a sense of trust when his attempts, through some cues (vocal or bodily), to get food, contact and care are met consistently and promptly by a responsive, stable caregiver (usually his parent or one other primary person), when he is able to gain a sense of confidence in his own actions and the regulation of his own body and when he experiences a sense of rhythmic predictability and stability in his daily life.
These consistent, nurturing, predictable and enriched experiences in a safe setting resulting in optimal brain organization and function, have been described by Dr. Bruce Perry, the famous lecturer on relational neurobiology, as “a lifetime of productivity,” learning how to listen and care, be compassionate, to know how to value, and be empathetic.
Through the process of having his/her needs met consistently and predictably by one particular continuous caregiver, the infant develops a secure emotional attachment to that person -- an increased dependence on that person's presence and a heightened pleasure in the relationship they mutually develop. You can trust me, thus the child learns to know trust. This is what I witness week after week of family involvement in RIE® Parent-Infant Guidance™ classes. The attitudes acquired are lifelong, for “RIE’s influence doesn’t end here. A good beginning sets the stage for how one handles later life situations, for both children and parents. If you begin by learning to accept your child as he is, to communicate with him, and to encourage his cooperation and independence, you will influence him in a positive way. This foundation supports your child’s sense of self…[and] your trust in him….many new stages unfold….you continue to be available to your child over the years to come – still observing, still listening, still trusting.” (Magda Gerber, “Your Self-Confident Baby”, p. 228). Personally-speaking, I can vouch for that!