Modern Parenting Alert: Simple Hugs and Play Could Shape Your Kid’s Brain Better!

Parenting has evolved significantly over the years, but have these changes left our children worse off? Several modern parenting practices have been identified as potentially harmful to healthy brain and emotional development in children. It is essential for parents to be equipped with the right information to help them make the best decisions for their children’s growth and development.
Modern Parenting Practices that May Hinder Development
Parenting styles may contribute to the increasing issues American youth face today, such as anxiety, depression, and obesity. The unfortunate truth is that some common parenting practices might be harming our children’s development. Let’s take a closer look at these practices and explore the healthier alternatives experts suggest.
1. Feeding children formula instead of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is the most beneficial nourishment for a developing baby. However, the use of infant formula has become increasingly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about 15 percent of mothers breastfeed their babies at 12 months. Research has shown that breast milk contains essential nutrients, hormones, and antibodies to protect infants from illness, infection, and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Ideally, exclusive breastfeeding should continue for at least the first six months of the baby’s life, with breastfeeding continuing as a vital part of their diet until they are at least a year old. For information on the benefits of breastfeeding, visit the World Health Organization’s website.
2. Ignoring the cries of fussy babies
There is a common belief that responding promptly to a crying baby will “spoil” them. Parents who subscribe to this notion tend to leave babies to “cry it out” instead of soothing or attending to their needs. Research has shown that responsiveness to a baby’s cries positively affects their conscience development, impulse control, and empathy. Ignore a baby’s cries can have negative long-term effects on their emotional well-being and attachment to their caregiver. Taking care of a child’s needs as soon as possible is essential for their overall development.
3. Isolating children from physical touch
Human touch is essential to a baby’s development. Physical touch fosters attachment, regulates stress reactions, and contributes positively to brain growth. Studies have shown the importance of skin-to-skin contact between newborns and their parents, with numerous emotional and physiological benefits.
Instead of isolating infants in strollers, carriers, or car seats, parents should prioritize touch, cuddling, and carrying their babies. Such practices promote secure attachment, stress reduction, and improved emotional development in children.
4. Limiting free play
Free play in nature has become less common over the years, mainly due to safety concerns and increased indoor entertainment options such as video games and television. Free playtime is essential for a child’s growth, social skills, and emotional maturity. Research has shown that children who play outside are less aggressive, have better motor skills, and develop stronger immune systems. To promote healthy emotional and physical growth, parents should encourage outdoor activities, limit screen time, and allow their children to explore nature.
5. Decreased involvement of extended family members
In many cultures, extended family members play a vital role in child-rearing. The presence of multiple adult caregivers can lead to higher IQ, empathy, ego resilience, and social capacities. Unfortunately, modern parenting has seen a reduction in the involvement of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members. Parents should consider fostering positive relationships between their children and the extended family to promote a support network that contributes to their emotional and mental well-being.
Final Thoughts
When it comes to raising healthy, happy children, a return to some of our ancestral parenting practices can make a world of difference. By providing the physical, emotional, and social support our children need, we can help them develop into conscientious, empathetic, and resilient individuals. Consider incorporating these practices into your parenting style to ensure optimal emotional and intellectual development for your child.