Present Response

Overview
   Immature Behavior
   Background
   Assumptions
   Personal Thoughts
   How to Change

Parenting Responses
   Defensive
   Offensive
   Absent
   Present
Of the four parenting responses, the Present Response seems to yield the most improved long-term behavior.

A present-minded response changes  negative energy into positive energy. Defensive, offensive, and absent responses are typically not "mindful" and, therefore, do not.

A More Detailed Explanation 
Present Response = a planned, but open-minded and focused response after the body detects information, including potential threats. The response uses primarily the higher brain (logical, imagination, movement, and pre-motor circuits) and is intended to assist the child (as opposed to primarily the parent) in achieving a balanced brain/body.

Genuine acceptance and love is the primary motivation for the present response. Typical parenting behaviors associated with the present response include noticing a child’s pure intentions, making eye contact with the child, going with love and confidence to the emotionally unbalanced child, holding the child, understanding, accepting, and leading the child, or enjoying the magic of the moment (as opposed to becoming defensive/offensive).

A successful present response resolves the initial fear associated with the body’s natural defensive response. With patient, repeated use, a present response can also ‘rewire’ the brain to fix or heal from habitual heightened defensive responses and offensive responses, thus helping children turn immature behavior into healthy, mature behavior.

Furthermore, if we want our children to develop a mature prefrontal cortex so they can eventually practice peaceful emotional regulation on their own, we have to model it ourselves. When someone has an immature prefrontal cortex (like all children and many immature adults), the present response during moments of opposition is impossible. But it can be learned, or "wired", when in the "presence" of someone who is already capable of this mature response. 

In order to practice the present response, mirror neurons in the brain must repetitively observe and copy someone who has already mastered this positive way of managing emotional energy. Therefore, the present response cannot be learned when someone is alone, or when in the presence of a defensive, offensive, or absent responder.

The natural beauty of a present response is that it not only settles a situation's fear, and gives the child a mature example to mirror for long-term emotional regulation, BUT the focused attention required to give the present response also strengthens the parent's brain much like the practice of meditation can. 

Here are a few blog posts that illustrate the Present Response:

The Bumbo Battle: How a Tantrum Enhanced by Day of Peace and Rest
Hitting (Attachment 0-3)
Tantrums (Attachment Stage 0-3 and Following Stage 1-8)
Fear of Bubble Bath (Attachment Stage 0-3)