Helping children grow up in homes where joyful and peaceful are a way of life is a major goal of the Life Model. Joy is how we carry forward a strong, multigenerational community identity, prevent tramatization and avoid addictions. Joyful children build strong minds that love to learn, can persevere and are resilient when the inevitable goes wrong.
One of the simplest guides for starting life is found in the Joyful Beginnings calendar developed by Life Model author Maribeth Poole. This week-by-week guide to the first 18 months of life takes parents though the major growth and development of the brain’s control center. Parents are guided through each step needed for training every new stage of brain development. Every stage requires a timely training period. Whatever is not trained and used by the brain during this critical period is forever removed from the brain at the end of that period. Children who are not properly trained at the moment of need will lose essential mental abilities for life.
For the brain to form correctly so it can take care of relationships and identity, a child needs to live in joy and peace instead of fear. Many religious and cultural practices for child rearing that receive much approval produce children who, as adults, do very poorly. The parts of the brain needed for moral and socially appropriate lives only develop well when children live in high levels of joy followed by times of quiet in the context of a secure, loving bond with both parents.
Here, in an introductory way, are the basic needs and tasks that must be completed by right ages for normal growth for infants and children (from the Life Model Study Guide).
THE INFANT STAGE Ideal Age: Birth > Age 4
THE CHILD STAGE Ideal Age: Ages 4 > 13
At this point most of the Life Model material on parenting is found in the unlikely sounding books called: The Complete Guide to Living With Men and The Red Dragon Cast Down. While the Life Model covers the basics of parenting in books like Living With Men, most of the parenting materials have yet to be written. The current goal is to have the first major presentation on family applications of the Life Model at the 2008 THRIVE conference. In the meanwhile, Barbara Moon has presented The Joy-filled Parenting Seminar in Georgia and Life Model author Anne Bierling speaks on parenting in California.