This is one of those studies that makes me think, really, we need researchers to tell us this. It’s common sense.
Nicer parents create a nurturing environment where positive social and emotional development flourishes. Such emotional security paves the way for learning, as children’s energy can be placed education rather than emotional stress. And it’s not just smarter kids that nice parents create, their kids are also healthier.
But thankfully, we have researchers to prove the point instinctually known by those that practice attachment parenting.
CafeMom’s The Stir reports:
This research came from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. It says that school-age children whose mothers, fathers, and caretakers “nurtured them early in life have brains with a larger hippocampus,” which is the part of the brain that aids in learning, memory, and your response to stress.
The author of the study, Joan L. Luby, M.D., says it best:
I think the public health implications suggest that we should pay more attention to parents’ nurturing, and we should do what we can as a society to foster these skills because clearly nurturing has a very, very big impact on later development.
What can we do as a society? Oh I can think of a lot of things. Let’s start with better maternity leave, then add on paternity leave for fathers, then tack on some better work/life practices and balance. It’s no easy feat, that’s for sure. But I do think that by reducing a parent’s stress levels, that parent could be more nurturing to their child. It’s like giving us the tools to sort of “stop and smell the roses” kind of thing — stop rushing around, take time for those little hugs even in the middle of doing something else, like my daughter gives. Of course we can’t just wait for everyone else to help us reduce our parental stresses, we have to do it ourselves. Maybe try some yoga, meditation, breathing in and out to the count of 10 really slowly — don’t laugh, that works! It’s what I do.
I would add that it is important we find caregivers and educators that also nurture our children.
So quit spending money on private tutors, Baby Einstein (even Disney admits it does not affect intelligence), edutainment products like [amazon_link id=”B001W2WKS0″ target=”_blank” ]Leap Frog[/amazon_link], etc. and JUST BE NICE TO YOUR KIDS.