Awareness of Amygdala hijack can be a great parenting tool. I have shared my own story here.
Monday morning @8:35AM: My daughter Farheen is supposed to be at her breakfast table 5 minutes ago. She comes downstairs with a long face, “Mommy, my bracelet is missing”. My tension rises, if she doesn’t head out in 10 minutes she will be late for school. My voice is about to go up…, just in time another thought stops me - if I do this now she may be in school on time but I will feel miserable the entire day. I take a deep breath and assure her that I will see about it if she eats first. As she starts the reluctant bites I tell her a little story that goes like this:
There is a part of our brain called “Amygdala”. Amygdala is pretty quick in making decisions; it’s all about emergency situations. With very little information it can call an emergency and shuts down everything else so that the person can handle the situation immediately. Its very vital for us when there is a real emergency. Only down side is, many times it’s a false alarm; since the other brain parts like “Hippocampus” is not allowed to think, the person won’t be able to realize that it is not such a big deal. A perfect example is this bracelet situation; just not seeing it in its usual place has made the amygdala jump into the conclusion that the bracelet is lost forever! And hence anything else including getting ready for school has to be postponed before this is resolved.
I take a pause to check on her. Having some food in the stomach, a sweet, shy smile appears on that little face! Phew, the morning emergency is handled gracefully.
Later in the night Farheen finds a brain sketch in the book by my nightstand and spots the word amygdala. “Hah ha Mommy, it’s that silly brain”, becomes her takeaway of the day (and mine too)!
PS: In the evening when in a much relaxed mood, Farheen actually found the bracelet in another drawer.
Sounds like a good idea? Lets talk further, email me firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule.