How understanding three threats to the brain can help your Keiki.

With so many opinions, social norms and parenting styles, it is not uncommon for parents to feel lost, at some point, during their parenting journey. In understanding how the brain works parents can have a better understanding of their child’s behavior. This article will explore three major threats to the brain and offer some everyday strategies to equalize these threats.

The first threat to the brain is the Unknown. Increases in negative behaviors are often seen during transitions. The brain interprets transition as many unknowns. Often children will use past negative experiences to fill in the blank of the unknown, creating anxiety. Do yourself a big favor and make the unknown known for your child. Having calendars and countdowns are all helpful in allowing the child to have a sense about what is happening next.

Second Threat is Incongruency in the Environment. The brain is always scanning the environment to make sure everything adds up/ makes sense. The brain loves patterns and routines. When something is incongruent, it can trigger the brain’s alert system. For example, if someone is feeling angry but smiling, this lands as a threat in the brain because it does not make sense. When a parent is authentic and congruent, it creates a deep feeling of safety for the child. Naming your experience or feelings out loud is also extremely helpful because your child is not making an effort to figure you out.

Third Threat is Should/Shouldn’t yourself. Every parent has had the thought, “ I should have…”. This thought triggers your threat response because there is an expectation that you need to be someone different at that moment. When you model being your authentic self, you are giving your child permission to be their authentic self. Give yourself consent to trust and listen to your intuition regarding your child in each moment-to-moment experience.

Kim Dolan is a licensed therapist and the co-founder of Bodhi Wellness & Psychotherapy specializing in Synergetic Play Therapy, child, adolescent, and family therapy. If you are interested in learning more, call 808-379-3766, email Kim at or visit