Does Modern Parenting Hinder Brain Development?

According to an interdisciplinary body of research presented at a symposium at the University of Notre Dame, social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children. Ill-advised practices and beliefs, like the use of infant formula, the isolation of infants in their own rooms, or the belief that responding too quickly to a fussing baby will ‘spoil’ it, have become commonplace. Breast-feeding infants, responsiveness to crying, almost constant touch and having multiple adult caregivers are shown to positively impact the developing brain, which not only shapes personality, but also helps physical health and moral development. Studies show that positive touch affects stress reactivity, impulse control and empathy and a set of supportive caregivers predicts IQ and ego resilience.

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