Parental bias is a confirmation bias. Parenting from a confirmation bias helps the brain conserve energy. Conserving energy for the brain is essential and can lead to false realities. We will explore coming to terms with your own parental bias and how we are wired to hold on to it.
Today I want to talk about what's holding most of us back from moving forward. It's a function of survival- something our brain does to keep us connected to safe peers and designed to reinforce our beliefs. So many people have no idea that it is happening, and it's something that keeps us protected and perceived as "safe." But it also holds so many people stuck and living in fear.
And that is confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias: A way to repel away from negative information that comes in contrast to our current beliefs.
Confirmation bias repels you from accepting and digesting anything I have to share. But we don't realize that it is aiding our limiting beliefs and keeping us from the very thing we wish to have- a connected, grounded, fulfilled life.
In parenting spaces, I see this come out to play in fierce regard- and that's natural. I even named my Podcast "MegAnne is NOT a parent, but…" as a way to break through the limiting belief that only parents help support parents in being better parents. I want to repel anyone in contrast to that belief and welcome parents who are open and excited to deepen their relationship with themselves. This was me challenging confirmation bias.
When it comes to our values and beliefs, we establish them with the primal sense of survival. To survive, we must be protected within a pack. No one wants to sit alone in a cafeteria, be picked last for dodgeball, or be humiliated for being late to class. We don't want to be the odd man out. In our life, work or family. So our brains work to streamline our lives and help us stay connected to like-minded people who can offer safety.
Our brains can use and find bias automatically and without our conscious awareness. This is because our brains constantly filter millions of data bytes of information. According to Encyclopedia Britannica- our brains process about 11 million data every second.
“The table Information transmission rates of the senses shows how much information is processed by each of the five senses. This table immediately directs attention to the problem of determining what is happening to all this data. In other words, the human body sends 11 million bits per second to the brain for processing, yet the conscious mind seems to be able to process only 50 bits per second.”
Can we take a moment to celebrate how cool and wild our brains are?
All of our brain's processing is for our survival. If we took in details of everything happening around us every second, we would never be able to get everything done. So it's an adaptive function of our brains- that can sway us into some maladaptive practices.
Let's talk through 5 questions to ask yourself to get clear on the focus:
By answering these questions on a specific topic, you are looking for ways to challenge your own bias. You will be seeking out information from a range of sources, and this will help you to consider situations from multiple perspectives.
We can all trust that our world is changing, and it's our role to stay attuned to how we can process this change.
A Mom texted me during covid who was frustrated about the impending stress of the Fall and school- she texted me to ask if I had any interest in leading an education pod- when I shared no, this is what she said:
Mom: Covid sucks ass
MegAnne: Like the illness or the circumstance?
Mom: Both. I just received your email! Love all that you are doing! Such an inspiration!
MegAnne: Ha! I understand. I think Covid is waking us up. There was a lot of smoke and mirrors to reconcile! And that sucks.
Mom: Good point. Maybe there are good things that are coming out of it!! You need to be a motivational speaker. And a therapist. Thank you for the positive realignment! You are like a chiropractor for the soul!
This was a real-life moment where I challenged the story she was telling herself about what was going on- and I invited her to explore the positives. So we rewrote the story and now opened her brain to find new confirmation that this is a good thing, albeit challenging and stressful.
We have the power to challenge our parental bias and start seeing problems from new perspectives- don't be surprised if you start enjoying the process more and more!
If you're tired of struggling with temper tantrums, power struggles, and feeling disrespected, this 3-phase series will help you understand WHY it's so challenging to parent your strong-willed child. I invite you to join the "Understanding Us" series.
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