I am very aware that I am stubborn – people have been telling me this for as long as I can remember. In fact, my stepfather, PN, told me this just the other day. I think that is why I am particularly susceptible to negative feedback loops. In Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control, the authors Heather Forbes and Bryan Post describe feedback loops as: “Anytime you engage your child, in any way whatsoever, there is a physiological communication process called a feedback loop. There are two types of these loops: negative and positive …. When it comes to a feedback loop, we all have the ability to add to it, or to change it.”
Over the past few years, I’ve been very good at adding to the negative feedback loops with my kids. But, Heather and Bryan give an example in the book of a father changing a negative feedback loop with his daughter. They write, “He has just met a negative communication with a positive response, thereby creating an environment capable of containing the negative state being emitted from his daughter.”
To me, the most important part of the chapter on feedback loops is the following quote – “A negative feedback loop cannot grow in the midst of a positive one. In addition, a positive feedback loop is capable of containing and ultimately changing a negative one.”
Unfortunately, I haven’t put this into practice very much, so I really can’t attest to its success. But, I want to trust that it works – I just have to believe that people are as much a product of their environment as they are of their genes.