By Miguel Brown
Finally! Scientific evidence that supports what mental health professionals have been saying for decades. When you nurture your child it is good for their brain. According to the article below children with nurturing mothers have a significantly larger brain structure, called the hippocampus, compared to children with less nurturing mothers.
The hippocampus is a structure deep within the brain that is essential for the proper functioning of memory, thinking, and emotion regulation. The nurturing behavior of caregivers increases growth in this very part of the brain. What this means is that teens who have experienced a nurturing relationship with a caregiver have better memories, can think more critically and are better able to deal with their own intense or upsetting emotional reactions. This also makes them less vulnerable to depression, anxiety and PTSD than their less nurtured peers.
Now, lets bring this information home. You may be asking yourself questions like these: Have I done a good job of nurturing my teen? Are there ways I can improve my nurturing behavior? What would that look like? What's the difference between nurturing and spoiling? A great place to get started is by downloading my report: 5 Ways To Connect With Your Teen. It tackles these questions and addresses the differences between spoiling and nurturing. You can get this report on my website: www.miamiteencounseling.com
If you feel discouraged reading this information, don't be. You may feel that you could have done a better job in the past but the great thing about a teenager's brain is that it's never too late! A teen's brain is still forming. It's not done growing or maturing. Positive changes in nurturing behavior now can still have positive lifelong effect for your teen. This is backed up by the same research mentioned above. During recovery from depression and PTSD this same area of the brain, the hippocampus, begins to grow!
Another fantastic lesson from this important research is that it give additional support to something that has been useful clinically for decades; effective behavior-based discipline is only one side of the parenting coin. The other side is a positive emotional connection with your teen. I like to think of it like this: When your child is born it is a wild animal. A savage. Birth is the beginning of their civilized adult training program of which you, as their caregiver, are the director. Part of this program involves an emphasis on following rules and becoming the quintessential "productive member of society". Equally important is the focus on helping your child have satisfying and fulfilling personal relationships. They may end up having a job they hate, but if they get this part right they have all the chances in the world to be happy. The best way to accomplish the later half of this goal is to show them how to have a good relationship through their relationship with you. Their relationship with you will color how they see relationships for the rest of their lives. Thinking of it like this a truth becomes self-evident: A nurturing, positive relationship with your teen is essential to their health and happiness.