Home  |  Top News  |  Most Popular  |  Video  |  Multimedia  |  News Feeds  |  Feedback
  Medicine  |  Nature & Earth  |  Biology  |  Technology & Engineering  |  Space & Planetary  |  Psychology  |  Physics & Chemistry  |  Economics  |  Archaeology
Top > Psychology > Modern Parenting May Hinder Brain… >
Modern Parenting May Hinder Brain Development, Research Shows

Published: January 7, 2013.
By University of Notre Dame
http://www.nd.edu

Social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children, according to an interdisciplinary body of research presented recently at a symposium at the University of Notre Dame.

"Life outcomes for American youth are worsening, especially in comparison to 50 years ago," says Darcia Narvaez, Notre Dame professor of psychology who specializes in moral development in children and how early life experiences can influence brain development.

"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," Narvaez says.

This new research links certain early, nurturing parenting practices — the kind common in foraging hunter-gatherer societies — to specific, healthy emotional outcomes in adulthood, and has many experts rethinking some of our modern, cultural childrearing "norms."

"Breastfeeding 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.

Studies show that responding to a baby's needs (not letting a baby "cry it out") has been shown to influence the development of conscience; positive touch affects stress reactivity, impulse control and empathy; free play in nature influences social capacities and aggression, and a set of supportive caregivers (beyond mother alone) predicts IQ and ego resilience as well as empathy.

The United States has been on a downward trajectory on all of these care characteristics, according to Narvaez. Instead of being held, infants spend much more time in carriers, car seats and strollers than they did in the past. Only about 15 percent of mothers are breastfeeding at all by 12 months, extended families are broken up and free play allowed by parents has decreased dramatically since 1970.

Whether the corollary to these modern practices or the result of other forces, research shows an epidemic of anxiety and depression among all age groups, including young children; rising rates of aggressive behavior and delinquency in young children; and decreasing empathy, the backbone of compassionate, moral behavior, among college students.

According to Narvaez, however, other relatives and teachers also can have a beneficial impact when a child feels safe in their presence. Also, early deficits can be made up later, she says.

"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."




Translate this page: Chinese French German Italian Japanese Korean Portuguese Russian Spanish


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the ScienceNewsline.
Related »

Poverty 
2/19/13 
Infants in Poverty Show Different Physiological Vulnerabilities to the Care-giving Environment
By Association for Psychological Science
Some infants raised in poverty exhibit physical traits that make them more vulnerable to poor caregiving, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association …
Verbs 
9/27/13 
Understanding How Infants Acquire New Words Across Cultures
By Northwestern University
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Infants show strong universals as they acquire their native language, but a recent study with infants acquiring Korean also reveals that there are striking language differences. …
Researchers 
3/25/13 
Nouns Before Verbs?
By Northwestern University
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Researchers are digging deeper into whether infants' ability to learn new words is shaped by the particular language being acquired. A new Northwestern University study …
Infants 
3/7/14 
Infants Using Known Verbs to Learn New Nouns
By Northwestern University
EVANSTON, Ill. --- There is a lot that 19-month-old children can't do: They can't tie their shoes or get their mittens on the correct hands. But they can use …
Highly 
8/30/11 
Secure Attachment to Moms Helps Irritable Babies Interact with Others
By Society for Research in Child Development
Children with difficult temperaments are often the most affected by the quality of their relationships with their caregivers. New research suggests that highly irritable children who have secure attachments …
Mothers 
8/9/10 
Imaging Study Sheds Light on Neural Origins of Baby Talk
By RIKEN
Neural processing in the brains of parents talking to their babies may reveal secrets about early stages of language acquisition in infants. This according to findings by researchers at …
More » 

Most Popular - Psychology »
OBJECTS »
Scientists Discover Brain's Anti-distraction System
Two Simon Fraser University psychologists have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors' perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders. This discovery opens up the possibility that environmental …
MEMORIES »
New Study Suggests a Better Way to Deal with Bad Memories
AGE »
The Ilk of Human Kindness
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that older women, plucky individuals and those who have suffered a recent major loss are more likely …
LANGUAGE »
IU Cognitive Scientists Use 'I Spy' to Show Spoken Language Helps Direct Children's Eyes
RELIGIOUS »
Religious Music Brings Benefit to Seniors' Mental Health
A new article published online in The Gerontologist reports that among older Christians, listening to religious music is associated with a decrease in anxiety about death and increases in …
ScienceNewsline  |  About  |  Privacy Policy  |  Feedback  |  Mobile  |  Japanese
The selection and placement of stories are determined automatically by a computer program. All contents are copyright of their owners except U.S. Government works. U.S. Government works are assumed to be in the public domain unless otherwise noted. Everything else copyright ScienceNewsline.