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The science behind early childhood experiences

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Tyler (KYTX) -- According to parenting experts, the early years of a child's life shape who they become and guardians play a big role.

An acclaimed psychotherapist's advice is based on 60 years worth of research.

"A lot of who we turn out to be has to do with our genes, but also the experiences we have," Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, co-author of "The Whole-Brain Child", said.

Bryson made a stop in Tyler for the Brighter Future symposium. Her best-seller argues parents who provide intentional experiences with their kids help them blossom.

"Those repeated experiences actually get wired in the brain in terms of what to expect in relationships throughout the life span," Bryson said.

Bryson says the best predictor for how a kid turns out, based on the science, is when they have at least one person who is always there for them.

"Someone was predictably and sensitively responding to their needs over and over," Bryson said.

And connecting with a child during those hard times when they misbehave is when it's needed the most. Don't worry if you don't get it right the first time.

"We need to say 'I didn't handle that very well, was that scary for you?' or 'did that hurt your feelings?' and really repair with them like we would in other relationships," Bryson said.

A child's brain undergoes the most change during those first 3 years. It's important to have those connections in the brain flourish.

"What's not being used actually gets pruned away," Bryson said.

Organizers say attendees left with valuable takeaways.

"We have to get basically on the child's level and work them through things, because sometimes developmentally they aren't ready to handle behaviors we are expecting them to accomplish," Jackie Cannon, Executive Director of Champions For Children in Tyler, said.

Champions For Children held the symposium at UT Tyler through the help of sponsors. Cannon says they plan to hold one like this every year.

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