Your Child’s Brain On Connection
Your child’s brain looks a lot better if you become a connecting mom. In 2005, the findings of a new study released in Pediatrics found that parent-infant connection—intentional togetherness— plays a key role in shaping the right side of an infant’s brain during the first year of life. A child who receives a lot of attachment to a connected parent or caregiver seems to experience better brain growth.[i]
Furthering this important brain development research, is Dr. Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr. of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health. McIlhaney says the tween years are a critical time for brain growth and that the part of the brain that’s yet to be developed is the pre-frontal cortex. He emphasizes connection when he writes that “brains can be positively molded by structure, guidance, and discipline provided by caring parents and other adults.”[ii]
These researchers are talking about actual physical brain growth. What they are really saying is that we ought to be connected—by physical proximity as well as emotional activity— so our children’s brains can grow as God intended.
Action Point: Talk with your husband or the father of your children about this important research. Take time to evaluate together if you are accessible enough to be a connecting mom or if you have some changes to make to help your kid’s brains grow!
[i] Amanda Onion, “Parent-Child Connection Shapes Brain” abcNEWS.com, December 5, 2005.
[ii] Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., MD and Freda McKissic Bush, MD “Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children” (Northfield Publishing, Chicago: 2008), 53.
Dannah Gresh is the best-selling author of Six Ways To Keep The Little In Your Girl and Six Ways To Keep The Good In Your Boy (Harvest House). Both books provide practical advice on how to become a connecting mom in an effort guide your children from their tweens to their teens with a value system that reflects God.