Focus on ME Explanation #2

Heart-Brain Connection

Oxytocin: The Love Hormone

And while much more needs to be studied in regards to the ins and outs of how oxycotin works, a few basic conclusions might help you in your parenting today.

  1. When developing relationships of trust, oxytocin is a key ingredient. Children are wired to trust their caregivers. Their minds are open and their hearts are pure. But remember that trust is different than love. While true love is typically considered to be unconditional, without boundaries, trust, however, is conditional and must be earned and safe-guarded. Parents can and need to earn the trust of their child--and thus encourage the production of oxytocin in their child's heart--by acknowledging their child's changing developmental needs on The Accountability Pyramid. This process starts before birth with wise prenatal care and continues on for several years as you accept your child's vulnerability during the Attachment Stage. Your child will continue to trust you as you show respect for her need to build upon attachment and progress up the pyramid throughout her life.

  2. Without oxytocin around, the brain leans towards survival or defensive mode.

  3. The production of oxytocin triggers the PFC to engage in learning, growth, emotional regulation, and eventually wise decision making.

  4. If your heart is producing oxytocin, know that this can often trigger the same reaction in your child's heart.

  5. The opposite is also true: if your heart is cold or absent or anxious or stern, your child's heart will likely copy yours.

  6. You can tell oxytocin is flowing through your body when your heart feels rosy, warm, or full.

  7. Meditation and mindfulness practice can assist you in raising your oxytocin levels.

Additional (3rd Party) Resources