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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL will be chaotic or abusive, because those are the pathways that have been traveled for months or years. Building new paths is possible, but it takes time, patience, and repetition for those pathways to stick. A second principle is that the brain develops in a “hierarchical” pat- tern, meaning that less complex brain structures develop first before more complex brain structures. This means that as an infant is developing a coherent understanding of the world, early experiences may be imprinted in the “earlier” parts of the brain—responsible for things like regulating heart rate or emotional response—long before the higher-level parts of the brain—areas that involve abstract thought or logical reasoning—are fully capable of processing them. Just because a child does not remember an experience is no guarantee that it did not affect him or her. Sometimes a reaction to a specific situation can be a result of the brain functioning based on early neural pathways developed by that early, unremembered experience (Cozolino 2006; Schore 2003). These “implicit” memories can be particularly frightening for infants and toddlers who have witnessed or heard the sounds of domestic violence but are unable to talk about it (Perry and Szalavitz 2006). Who hasn’t heard an adult claim he or she was thankful an infant or toddler was spared the terror of an experience or event because she or he was too young to consciously remember it? Yet that child may have never been helped to understand the event, which some part of the brain does remember. Try as we may, we really can never convince a child to simply forget troubling events, because our words have little impact on the memory as it was absorbed and recorded in the developing brain (Perry 2004). While caregivers and educators may not be able to question children about these experiences, understanding how the brain works can be useful in knowing how to help children move for- ward and forge new behavioral and thinking patterns to follow. Attachment: It’s a Way of Life Another impact on children’s behavior is the strength and quality of their earliest relationships with their first caregivers, usually their par- ents. Attachment theory is a way of explaining how people negotiate rela- tionships based on their earliest experiences with primary caregivers. In its most basic form, attachment theory says that a child’s very early Attachment COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL and the Growing Brain 11