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Can Nurturing Environments “Turn On” Protective Genes?

Yes, indeed, through a process called epigenetics. Chances are you’ve never heard of changes in gene expression, since most people were taught your genes are for life. Well, we do have our genes for life—but many of our genes change their expression based on our social interactions at home, at school or in the community. Many of the genes that change the most involve our brains.

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Predicted Human Brain Systems Involved in Children Learning Self-Regulation via PAX GBG

Authentic self-regulation cannot be sustained or learned by coercion, threats, aversive consequences, or punishments. In environments perceived as aversive or coercive by children, problematic behavior dramatically increases the moment the controlling adults are absent or whens peers reinforce a peer for such problematic behaviors, which is often a strategy to weaken and subvert the presumptive adult “authority.”

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Children’s mental illnesses are socially contagious

What? Our kids are catching mental illnesses? Yes, but not typically by germs. This will take a bit of flexible thinking to understand what people intuit and good science confirms.

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Why PAX GBG in other countries and cultures matters?

The biggest danger to humans is other humans, and the biggest source of safety for humans is other humans. This is not an abstraction.

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PAX Scaling Up Logic Model

Nurturing Environments can achieve population-level protection of human developmental outcomes by richly reinforcing prosocial behavior, limiting problematic behaviors, reducing toxic influences, and increasing psychological flexibility widely in homes, schools and community settings. This is a case example of how to do so, based on multiple experimental tests and experiences.

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Prevent Tragic Police and Citizen Encounters

The current debate over the tragic deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner provides us a lens through which to view the broader problems of our juvenile and criminal systems. In both respects, we find ourselves focusing on what might be the proper “responses” to failings in these systems. As the debate moves from the streets to policy forums, the best focus for all concerned would be on preventing the need for a response as opposed to which response. While requiring police to wear body cameras and to receive better training, including training for proven community policing strategies, should reduce the incidences of tragedies arising from antagonistic encounters between police and citizens suspected of criminal activity, we can all conclude that it would be better for all concerned to prevent the need for a response in the first place.

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