Scientists Say That Parental Affection Moms Show Toward Their Young Children Can Make A Huge Difference In Their Long-Term Emotional Stability
Does parental affection during childhood really make a difference?
There was a time when showering your kids with over-the-top affection may have been considered spoiling them. However, according to one study conducted by Duke University, the stereotype of the doting mother producing emotionally unbalanced adults couldn't be further from the truth.
In fact, according to the study, having a mother who shows an exceptional amount of love and affection to her young children may be one of the best predictors of emotional stability lasting into adulthood. This news can serve as both a reassurance for affectionate moms and a warning for distracted mamas to put away their cell phones and spend more time pouring out their attention on their little bundles of joy.
The study began back in the early 1960's when a group of 482 babies was observed by psychologists when they were just eight months old. Using a scale that ranged from one to five, the psychologists watched how much care and attention the mothers gave to their children during the study. The lowest level was referred to as "negative" while the highest level was called "extravagant."
Fast forward thirty years. Once the babies in the study had reached adulthood researchers began a new phase of the study. Each of the 482 original participants gave interviews with psychologists from Duke University. The interviews gave amazing results. The ones whose mothers' interactions with them as babies had been labeled "extravagant" showed the most signs of being happy, well-adjusted individuals.
Those whose mothers had shown the most "negative" attention turned out to be struggling with much higher rates of psychological and interpersonal problems such as anxiety and hostility. Psychologists believe that one of the causes for this huge difference is the release of the chemical oxytocin. This chemical causes feelings of happiness and security and is often secreted during those bonding moments between moms and their young babies, such as when they're nursing or being held and cuddled.
When you think about it, the indications of this study should be common sense. What makes us all feel happy and secure? Being confident that those who are supposed to be there for us, such as our family and close friends, truly love and care about us! Without being open about your affection for your children, chances are good that they'll grow up with lingering feelings of insecurity that can haunt them well into adulthood.
So if you want to make a big difference in your child's life, go out of your way to let them know from day one how precious they are to you! Look them in the eye. Smile at them. Give them pats on the back, hugs, and kisses. You may even want to look into learning some baby massage techniques to soothe them when they get fussy.
This study also highlights the importance of employers recognizing the need for parents to spend quality time with their young children. The more maternity leave time a mom can have off of work to spend with her baby the better. Employers and government officials who value the greater good of society will work hard to make it possible for moms and dads to be able to give their kids the attention and affection they need to thrive. Looking for this kind of understanding and flexible employer should be a top priority for you if you're an expectant parent searching for a job.
What if you're already a parent and you wonder if you've been giving your children the attention and affection they need? You can talk to your pediatrician at your child's next checkup to find out more about ways you can show greater affection to your children. Or perhaps do some self-study online or by reading parenting books to learn more about how to communicate love and concern to children even before they're able to talk.
If you found this study inspiring to you as a parent, pass this story along to other moms and dads so they can learn more about the importance of openly showing affection for their young children. Let us know what you think about this vital information and how it may make a difference in your day to day interactions with your own kids.
Pass this along to all the moms you know!