Biological sciences advanced tremendously over the last three centuries. As it progressed and went deeper, amongst the major discoveries over the last few decades were into the internal parts and functions.
Omnio Parenting and Epigenetics
Epigenetics has given rise to an ocean of opportunities that parents could take to.
Parents often seem to be helpless without the knowledge of the construct of a child and what are the causes and influences. Huge data or information from various sources – physical and online, confuse more than offering clarity.
Omnio Parenting uses the knowledge from the most modern science of Epigenetics to empower parents. On the foundation of holistic knowledge – from modern sciences and ancient wisdom; tools, techniques and methodologies of Omnio Parenting help parents to develop themselves and work with their children.
It is well known that parents are the donors of genes which are the basic architectural codes of human construct. All information that makes the human body, its growth, functioning and interacting is within the genes. Its impact on the emotional and intellectual components is also well known. Thus, a child is creation of a complex combination of a certain set of genes. These are found in complex structures called DNA which are housed in Chromosomes. Each parent – father and mother, give 23 chromosomes which combine as 23 pairs, and are found in each and every cell of a human being.
Focusing within the Cell
A cell was recognised as the smallest unit of life. Cells combine to make tissues and organs which make the human body. However, each cell has all capabilities that the whole human body has. It has intelligence , operates processes like respiration, digestion, self-preservation and immunity and pro-creation !
Going further, about 100 years ago, probing the nucleus of a cell was the game. The nucleus seemed to be the controller of the cell. Chromosomes were discovered. These seemed to be the codes or the basic building plan for the body and life.
Probing deeper, by the 1950s/1960s we had the most acclaimed discovery of ‘Genes and the Double Helix’ structure of the DNA strands. It was then felt that human scientific knowledge is on the edge of mastering the code of human life and its operation! Efforts in the subsequent decades was on mastering that code and went on in the name of ‘Human Genome’ project.
EPIGENETICS – the surprise thrown up by modern science
Even to this day, the complete construct of human code has not been made possible! The number of genes, the way they combine and operate has confounded cellular-molecular biologists and allied scientists. How and when a gene gets triggered to operate and cease operations remains a big mystery in physical sciences.
But it threw up a new body of knowledge called ‘Epigenetics’. What was known till then was that the mechanism of switching on and switching off of genes is an inherent process. It orchestrates within the nucleus as prewritten program ( also called genetic determinism at birth) which covers the course of life. The new emerging knowledge through Epigenetics was that the control of the genes – the switch on & off, was not happening from only within the nuclueus , but was being influenced and controlled by factors outside as well ! Epi means from above and hence the operation of the genes was also capable of being influenced by causes above or outside the cell.
Factors outside the cell includes chemicals or hormones from surrounding cells, blood vessels etc and also extend to the realm beyond like – air, sunshine, pollution and other influences. More recent advances in sciences factored in the influences from human thoughts and emotions!
Understanding Parental connects in a new way via Epigenetics
- Parents have multi-layered connections with a child. The mother and father are the donors or chromosomes/genes which build the child and its faculties
- The mother connects through the umbilical cord/placenta mechanism with the child in the womb. Upon delivery, this connect is severed.
- Epigenetics confirms that even without the physical connect, parents continue to influence the genetic patterns and the operation of genes through the switch on/off mechanisms.
- Others who stand in close parent-like relationship with the child as care givers – insiders like grandparents related by blood or outsiders like nannies who groom and care for a child, have a deep epigenetic influence.
Implications of Epigenetics in the Parenting Paradigm
Epigenetics has thrown up immense possibilities in the process of parenting. It has given hope to mankind, especially to parents, who were marooned in the abyss of genetic determinism. One can work to influence as a parent at any stage in life.
- Epigenetic Access: Parents have the closest genetic connect. By implication, it is easy to imagine they would have the closest epigenetic access to the child at all times – i.e. with or without physical mechanisms or connections!
- Prenatal and Perinatal Life: A Baby in the womb is a learner. Parents as epigenetic causeways can cause great learning templates to occur in this phase of life for a child
- Infancy and Early Childhood: Parents can continue to mould and influence the development of the child in the early stages of life. This can happen in refining templates of life or causing the development of the mind and cognitive faculties in the child.
- Teenage and Beyond: Parents can continue to be profound influencers even at these stages of life. There are no full-stops to epigenetic pathways.
What this reveals to us is that there is a great opportunity to use the knowledge from Epigenetics in the course of Parenting. There is a big opportunity for parents to help their children enhance learning potential, capabilities like intelligence and immunity , while at the same time they can prevent or mitigate the deleterious effects of learning disorders , difficulties and limitations.
- Every parent can provide early learning inputs which form templates of life. These templates operate over the course of life to cause or influence very important aspects including health, immunity, tendencies, behaviours, learning abilities, memory, intelligence, societal attitudes and the like.
- Through the course of childhood, they can influence epigenetically the development of the active and passive minds of a child. These are the foundations on which the Individuality and Personality of a child are made.
- Epigenetics gives a profound power at all stages, especially through the ‘troublesome teens. Even if the child is physically and mentally independent, parents can continue to epigenetically influence and interact with their child. In simple words, if a parent evolves and become a better human being, he/she will be causing an automatic evolution or influence in the child. Changing yourself and impacting your child is a powerful tool for parents at all stages!
- With the knowledge of epigenetic influences, better choices are facilitated for parents while making choices of early influencers like nannies, preschools and caregivers. The persons and the environment in which the child grows shows that nurturing in early life has as much influence as natural factors like genes and hormones!