Parental Affection: The Secret to Raising Happy and Successful Children

mother reading to her little girl
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As per Child Trends, a non-profit research group devoted to improving outcomes for children, adolescents, and their families, evidence backs up the notion that warmth and love shown by parents to their children reflect good long-term results for those youngsters.

Familial love is a kind of affection that has been related to higher self-esteem, more outstanding academic achievement, more vital parent-child interaction, and reduced mental and physiological issues. Since children close to their families have high self-esteem and excel in school, they can qualify for the college major they prefer and land their dream job in the future. Kids who do not have loving parents, on the other hand, generally have fewer favorable results on all of these same metrics. Recent research has shown a link between parental love and children’s happiness and achievement.

Research on Parental Affection and Child Development

Scientists at Duke University Medical School discovered in 2010 that infants raised by loving and caring moms grow and mature to be happier, more adaptable, and less nervous adults. Five hundred individuals were tracked from birth until their early thirties. When the infants were eight months old, researchers watched their mothers’ relationships with them as the newborns went through a series of developmental exams. The same people were questioned 30 years later regarding their mental health.

Adults whose moms showed “lavish” or “sensual” love were significantly less likely to feel worried and nervous than the others. In addition, they were less likely to experience anger, unpleasant social encounters, and psychological complaints. Researchers discovered that the hormone oxytocin, produced when people experience love and connection, might be accountable for this impact.

Likewise, a 2013 UCLA researcher discovered that genuine love and compassion from a parent might make children happier and less worried emotionally. This seems to occur as a consequence of a child’s brain-changing as a result of getting love. On the other side, the detrimental effect of childhood maltreatment and lack of love physically and mentally influences children. This can result in a variety of physical and mental issues for children throughout their lives. These researchers concluded that parental love might shield individuals from the negative consequences of childhood stress.

Then, in 2015, a University of Notre Dame research found that children who received love from their parents grew up to be happy people. Over 600 people were polled about their upbringing, including how much physical love they got. Adults who reported getting more love as a kid were less depressed and anxious and more sympathetic. Those who indicated reduced affection suffered from their psychological health were more disturbed in social settings and could not connect to other people’s points of view.

The Benefits of Skin-to-skin Contact

holding a child's hand

Skin-to-skin contact has also been investigated for its advantages for babies. This unique connection between mom and infant, in particular, helps to soothe infants, allowing them to scream less and rest more. This same skin-to-skin touch seems to promote brain growth. According to a study published in Scientific American, children who grew up in a poor environment, such as an orphanage, had greater levels of the stress hormone cortisol than children who grew up with their parents. Scientists think that a lack of physical touch in orphanages had a significant role in these bodily alterations.

Finally, much research on the effects of massage indicates that it has a beneficial impact on reducing anxiety in youngsters. Massage is also an excellent method for parents to connect with their kids emotionally and physically. Beginning in childhood, parents can start to massage their kids, forming a deep connection. Studies have proven massages to reduce stress in children and adults during academic pressure, hospitalization, and other complex events.

How Can You Show Affection to Your Kids?

Parents are urged to hold, hug, and rock their infants in their arms from the time they take them home from the hospital so that they cuddle skin to skin. Parents can be more playful as their children get older by engaging in enjoyable activities such as dancing together or inventing funny games such as pretending to be a cuddling or loving monster.

One suggestion is for parents to create a reminder to include embracing in their family’s regular activities. They can allot a few hours to family bonding every day. Another intriguing concept is for parents to utilize love while correcting their children. While discussing what went wrong with their children, parents can place their hand on their children’s shoulders and offer them a hug after the discussion to remind them that discipline does not imply a decrease in familial love.

Finally, parents must use caution so as not to suffocate their children. They should appreciate their children’s unique comfort levels and be mindful that they will vary as they progress through the phases. Enjoy shaking hands with your toddler or even your 8-year-old if you are a young parent. However, don’t be shocked if your second grader believes they have transcended this “aspect” of interaction.

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