Attachment parenting, positive touch and breastfeeding may help improve youth development and behavior

Lynn Griffith
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It appears the social practices and modern culture belief systems could be preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children. (1)

Modern parenting practices may be responsible for current culture in American youth

University of Notre Dame completed an interdisciplinary research study that observed impacts of current cultural parenting practices.  Darcia Narvaez, professor of psychology, reports, “Life outcomes for American youth are worsening, especially in comparison to 50 years ago.  Ill-advised practices and beliefs have become commonplace in our culture, such as the use of infant formula, the isolation of infants in their own rooms or the belief that responding too quickly to a fussing baby will ‘spoil’ it.” (1)

New research links traditional nurturing parenting practices that were common in foraging hunter-gatherer societies to healthy emotional outcomes in adulthood.  This research has many experts rethinking current modern, cultural child-rearing practices. (1)

“Breast-feeding infants, responsiveness to crying, almost constant touch and having multiple adult caregivers are some of the nurturing ancestral parenting practices that are shown to positively impact the developing brain, which not only shapes personality, but also helps physical health and moral development,” says Narvaez. (1)

Family and community child rearing and attachment parenting shown to impact brain, emotional, and physical development

Responding to a baby’s needs and not allowing the baby to ‘cry it out’ has been connected to the development of conscience.  Healthy touch have been shown to impact stress reactivity, impulse control, and empathy development.  Giving your child opportunities to experience free play in nature has a positive influence on social capacities and aggression.  Additional supportive caregivers outside of the mother has been shown to predict IQ and ego resilience while building empathy. (2)

The Unites States has shown a rapid decline in these care qualities.  Instead of infants being held, they spend increased time in carriers, car seats, and strollers.  Breastfeeding has substantially declined in the last 50 years. (1) Extended families that are often divided by space or relationship barriers and the ‘super-parent’ image has rapidly reduced community and family support.

Research has connected the epidemic of anxiety and depression, rising rates of aggressive behavior and delinquency, decreased empathy, and loss of moral behavior to modern parenting practices. (1)

Narvaez, stresses throughout research that other relative and teacher involvement can have a positive impact that allows children to feel safe.  If family and community relationships have not been developed, it is never too late to change, as thee deficits can be made up later in life. (1)

“The right brain, which governs much of our self-regulation, creativity and empathy, can grow throughout life. The right brain grows though full-body experience like rough-and-tumble play, dancing or freelance artistic creation. So at any point, a parent can take up a creative activity with a child and they can grow together.” (3)

Sources for this article include:

(1) news.nd.edu
(2) www.sciencedaily.com
(3) www.examiner.com

Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/984ZK1

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