Our four-stage model of optimal parenting and development gives children a solid social and emotional foundation. It also identifies critical processes that must be completed during developmental windows of opportunity in first three years of life. When these processes are completed in a timely and appropriate manner in a family structured around the Divine Triangle, children are able to move forward in their development without carrying baggage from unmet needs. These emotionally supportive experiences put children on the LOVEvolution track of development.
When these critical processes are not completed in a timely and appropriate manner because of developmental trauma and relational breaks with their parents and other adult caregivers, children accumulate developmental baggage that they carry with them for the remainder of their lives. Unfortunately, these unmet needs are the most common cause of intractable conflicts and unstable adult relationships. We found that intractable adult conflicts often correlate with traumatic events that caused disruptions in the parent-child relationship during the first six months of life. These relational disruptions may be too early, too frequent or too long for children to tolerate and they get stored in their nervous systems as developmental shock, trauma and stress.
Development Is Continuous
One of the most significant concepts in developmental psychology is that human development is continuous. If something gets missed, development does not pause. It continues, with each process or need building on the next. Any trauma, unmet need, incomplete developmental process, or unresolved conflict becomes a developmental hole or gap in your evolution. The fewer holes we have, the more that we will evolve. If we complete these developmental processes on schedule we are more resilient and able to tolerate stress and trauma later in life.The chart below give a brief overview of our 4-stage model of optimal development for an individual.
The Development of an Individual
|Stage of Development||Essential Developmental Processes|
|Codependent (0-8 months)|
|Counter-dependent (8-36 months)|
|Independent (3-6 years)|
|Interdependent (6-29 years)|
Your Right Brain
You, like most people, probably left childhood with some incomplete developmental processes that now make your life more difficult. The good news is that you have many built-in defense mechanisms to help them cope with this baggage and to survive difficult family situations. The not so good news is that using these defense systems can divert your life energy from self-actualization. Your early developmental experiences helped you create an internal working model of reality (Bowlby, 1969), which is learned through your relationship with your mother and father, and colors all subsequent relationships. When you seek to resolve intractable conflicts at their source, you are likely to discover early traumatic experiences that include birth trauma, betrayal trauma, attachment trauma, and other kinds of developmental trauma containing your unmet developmental needs. You’re also likely encounter the defense mechanisms that you have created in order to protect yourself against remembering and re-encountering these traumatic experiences.
As you learn about optimal parenting, keep in mind that this information about the significance of emotional attunement in parent-child relationships has emerged only in the last five years. Very little of it has entered the training programs for educators, physicians and mental health professionals. Also remember to hold a kind and compassionate attitude toward your parents and health care professionals regarding the quality of your own early developmental experiences. They did their best, as you did if you have children, with the resources you had available at the time.
It is also important to remember that developmental traumas can be healed at any time in your life. Once you know what you really needed as an infant and didnt get, for example, you can make a plan to get these needs met in your adult relationships.
References:Bowlby, J. (1969) “Attachment and loss,” Vol. 1. In J. Bowlby, Separation: Anxiety and anger. New York: Basic Books.