What does your child need most?

Parenting Blog

February 4, 2016

We celebrated Candlemas or Ground Hog's day this week, acknowledging the return of the sun with notably longer days than winter solstice time just six weeks ago. The seasons of the year, the festivals we celebrate, and our daily habits and moods are affected by the sun. We notice when it is shining and when it is covered by clouds. We feel warmth in its proximity and cold when it is distant. It affects our sleep rhythms. The sun is what makes the plants that nourish humans grow. Can you imagine that in the life of a young child, the parent plays a role similar to that of the sun? Parents provide warmth, predictable rhythms, and the essentials for growth. A parent's sunny gaze warms a child's soul and encourages connection. On the other hand, when a parent is stressed, overwhelmed and unhappy, there is a negative impact on a child's development. A longitudinal study conducted at the Life Stress and Human Development Lab of the University of Wisconsin in Madison showed that parental stress impacts the DNA of developing children, influencing brain development and behavior. In particular, the DNA changes that were found in adolescents who experienced parental stress in early childhood impacted the creation of new neurons in the brain, those that are crucial for neurological development, learning, and memory. Although parents might consider that there are many things to do in order to be a good parent, in the end, perhaps the most important one is also good for the parents. Manage stress. Be happy. Bestow a sunny gaze on your developing child.

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