Understanding negative influences on children

In today’s society, our children are faced with many negative influences, such as bullying, social media, Internet, divorce, cutting, depression and many others.  So, how do we know if our children are experiencing difficulties?  Are they being bullied or are they the bully?  Do they have a dark side?

First, we need to comprehend the developmental stages of children. 

From birth to seven, they are in the imprint period.  This is the level in which sensory information is constantly imprinted onto the subconscious mind—in other words, information that is being absorbed from the environment.

The next stage is from age seven to fourteen.  It is known as the modeling period.  This is when children model and imitate behavior from parents, family, friends, celebrities, movies and videos. You see, we were at times left with confusion, requiring us to figure out why we do certain things or think a particular way. As children, we observed our peers (that is, family, teachers, parents, and the like), and this is how our way of thinking was formed. We even drew on the negative outlooks in life if they were our parents’ point of view.

The third stage is from age fourteen to twenty-one.  It is known as the socialization period.  This is when the child determines unconsciously what is important to him/her. The child breaks away from the modeling period and becomes INDIVIDUALIZED by beginning to form his/her own identity. Most children in this period still follow the crowd because they want to fit in. They are unaware that they are creating their own reality and habits in the subconscious mind, and this can be dangerous. That is why we are still living out our paradigm—our many behavior patterns that result in habits stored in our subconscious minds since childhood. The habits follow us into adulthood. We choose to follow that behavior because it is our reality and believe it to be true. It is familiarity.

Look for changes in your child, such as:

  • how much time they spend alone or in their room
  • who their friends are
  • what their interests are
  • what kind of verbiage they use
  • how they interact within the family

It is difficult for parents to comprehend if there are changes in their children due to their own life stressors of business and time management. When children have good grades and seem well behaved, parents assume they are doing well.

Changes can stem from a loss of communication, prevalent in today’s society. Communication has diminished because of social media and technological advances. This can leave the child more advanced technologically than the parents, which creates the unknown.

In combination to the above stages, parents need to understand how their child’s mind works.  It consists of the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.  The conscious mind is the reasoning mind.  It has the ability to accept or reject a thought at the conscious level.  Once we accept a thought it goes into the subconscious mind and this is what causes our actions.  Your subconscious mind cannot differentiate positive from negative, good from bad. Therefore, it will accept your suggestions without controversy. It is subjective. It is the soil in which you plant the seed.

Your mind is conditioned, so when you attempt change you will get resistance. Your subconscious mind is your protector, fight or flight, and guards what has been planted. Change is scary, unfamiliar and difficult. It can cause stress, worry, fear, discomfort, doubt, anger or anxiety.

Your brain receives every thought you have. It’s subject to filtering, reasoning and logic based on your programming. Once the conscious mind has decided if the thought is true, it reaches the subconscious mind and then is delivered to your life. It’s no longer subject to argument. It can only agree with what it knows to be true.

Understanding how the mind works and knowing what happens in each development stage will assist parents with studying behavioral patterns within their children.

Peggy Caruso is a certified executive and personal development coach.  An NLP master practitioner and advanced hypnotherapist, she is also an eight-time entrepreneur with more than 22 years of experience.  She helps parents understand their children’s subconscious and conscious minds and how each one affects their behavior. Throughout her professional career, she has helped numerous children rid themselves of depression, ADD, and ADHD medication.  She is also the author of three books, Revolutionize Your Life, Revolutionize Your Child’s Life (Morgan James Publishing, 2014), and Revolutionize Your Corporate Life.  Revolutionize Your Child’s Life is the second book in the Revolutionize series.  A proud mother who raised two children independently and a grandmother to one, Caruso currently lives in DuBois, Pennsylvania.