Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quick Tip: Parenting and Child Brain Development

Did you know that how a you interact with your children can affect the children's brain chemistry and, thus, development?

Children need help regulating their emotions. When children are stressed, even by everyday experiences, their bodies produce chemicals that put them in a state of high alert, which weakens neural connections and can cause difficulty learning, anxiety, and hypervigilence. With ongoing parental emotional support, especially during times of stress, the body can return to a normal state. Prolonged absence of support can permanently change brain structure and lead to long term emotional and developmental problems. When parents are consistently supportive and help children understand and handle their feelings, eventually, children internalize this ability and become able to take on this task themselves. Then, children are better equiped to help themselves fend against harmful effects of ongoing stress.

Source: Khazan, Olga (2014). The Atlantic Monthly. How Supportive Parenting Protects the Brain.