We've heard stories of connections between mothers and children that are so strong, they defy logic and can only be attributed to one thing: mother's intuition.
Imagine a mother going about her daily routine, then suddenly being struck with the thought that her child is in danger or pain.
There are also incidents where the realisation is not quite as clear, but instead comes as a nagging feeling that a mother can't shake off or put her finger on.
Eventually, she pieces facts together which, more often than not, show that there was indeed a reason to be bothered.
Mother's intuition is often talked about, and even used as a simple two-word explanation for how some situations arise or are resolved.
But while many believe in it, there are critics who claim it is nothing more than a coincidence. Something that can't be fully explained tends to draw skepticism.
However, I think that every actively involved parent has mother's or father's intuition.
Intuition vs instinct
Although it may seem mysterious like an unexplainable, natural power, intuition has no secrets.
The same goes for instinct.
But though they're closely related by definition and often used interchangeably, intuition and instinct are different.
Intuition is an awareness, knowledge or understanding of something seemingly without reference to any specific reason or information.
On the other hand, instinct is a reaction, possibly from an intuition, without any forethought or premeditation.
While instinct, or intuition in action, is not "thought about," the process of how the mind and body decide what to do at a given moment is based on a lifetime-or, at least, a sufficient period engaged in experiencing and analysing certain activities, such as child rearing-that allows a woman to gain expertise on the subject.
4 types of intuition
In fact, intuition has been covered extensively as a study at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, consisting of four types: Problem Solving Intuition, Creative Intuition, Moral Intuition and Social Intuition.
These are what parents, especially mothers, use when a situation arises.
Problem Solving Intuition is the ability to assess a situation quickly and correctly, and respond with the solution to solve the problem at hand or prevent it from getting worse.
This is what doctors and nurses rely on during an emergency.
Knowing a child as intimately as a parent does, means the parent understands what can trigger a child's outburst and what works to calm down the child.
Putting past experiences and collected knowledge leads to a solution that others will not as easily arrive at, if at all.
Creative Intuition usually results from a burst of inspiration that follows a repeatedly occurring situation or problem.
What would seem like a dead-end, such as when a child no longer responds to a disciplinary move, may get a new lease in life when the parent comes up with a different method to solve a problem.
Did this creative new solution come out of nowhere? No.
Recall the long days of lecturing and disciplining your children and you'll know where that "Aha!" moment came from.
I think Social Intuition is the trickiest type.
It takes a certain skill to master the art of reading nonverbal cues, expressions, as well as the meaning and intention behind certain words.
In some cases, there is a meaning behind the meaning!
Try doing this with a child who can't understand and verbalize what he or she is feeling.
Oh, what a headache this can be!
Thankfully, Social Intuition, again based on your past experience, is what you need to give your child a hug despite no words being spoken.
Moral Intuition can take up a whole article in itself. Morals are formed from a lifetime of experience, from personal, educational, religious and everything else you can think of. In the end, we rely on the sum of these experiences to dictate what we know or feel is right or wrong.
Whether your decision is correct, is not for anyone else to say, except in situations where harm is being inflicted or there is obvious danger.
What is clear is that everyone has intuition.
It doesn't have to manifest itself with drama.
With enough time, exposure and confidence, we can become deeply in tune with our children, and, hopefully, ourselves, to the point that actions and reactions are more easily read and understood, leading to the appropriate instinctive response that every child needs at any given moment.