“Cutting-edge Study Reveals How ‘Positive’ Parenting Shields Children’s Brains from Stress-Induced Harm – With One Exception!”

**Positive Parenting: Shielding Children from the Impact of Stress**

A Study on the Protective Effect of Positive Parenting on Children Experiencing Stress

According to a recent article published in the medical journal PNAS Nexus, positive parenting can potentially shield children from the negative effects of stress. The researchers define positive parenting as being warm, supportive, validating, and responsive. The study focused on children aged 10-17 who experienced major stressors such as illness, poverty, or the death of a loved one.

The Impact of Stress on Children and the Role of Positive Parenting

Stress exposes children to a higher risk of behavior problems and decreased volumes of the hippocampus, a vulnerable area in the brain associated with learning and memory. However, the study found that children who experienced “high levels” of positive parenting did not suffer these negative consequences. The findings were based on a survey of nearly 500 older children, and their brain volumes were analyzed using MRIs.

The Influence of Reporting of Parenting Style on Protective Effects

Interestingly, the study found that the protective effect of positive parenting only applied to children who reported being parented in a positive manner. Children who reported negative parenting, despite their parents’ disagreement, did not experience significant protection against behavior problems and reduced brain volumes. The researchers emphasize the importance of including children as reporters of their own experiences in order to better understand the consequences for neurodevelopment and behavior.

The Neuroscience Behind Positive Parenting

Positive parenting is grounded in neuroscience and can be considered an art form. Experts in the field, such as attachment specialist Daniel Hughes and clinical psychologist Jonathan Baylin, have highlighted the importance of four factors in healthy caregiving. These factors are playfulness, acceptance, curiosity, and empathy.

1. Playfulness: This involves creating a fully present intersubjective space between parent and child, leading to deep joy, pleasure, and fascination for both parties.

2. Acceptance: Parents ideally love their children unconditionally, evaluating their needs at any given moment rather than labeling them as “good” or “bad.”

3. Curiosity: Parents and infants share an intense fascination with each other from birth. Ideally, parents develop a curiosity that seeks to fully understand their child for who they are intrinsically, rather than who they want them to be.

4. Empathy: Considered the other side of playfulness, empathy allows parents and children to regulate both positive and negative emotions together. It strengthens the parent-child relationship and enables them to navigate the full range of human experiences without breaking.

In conclusion, positive parenting has been shown to have a protective effect on children who experience stressful situations. The study emphasizes the importance of including children’s perspectives when assessing parenting styles and their impact on neurodevelopment and behavior. By understanding the neuroscience behind positive parenting, parents can cultivate a nurturing environment that promotes their child’s well-being and resilience.

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