Parenting and being Predictable – ScienceAlert
Click here to read the ORIGINAL ARTICLE: “Being Predictable Is The Key to Nurturing Your Child’s Brain Development.”
By: TALLIE Z. BARAM, THE CONVERSATION. 23 June 2022
Scientists have long known that the experiences you have during infancy and childhood play an important role in shaping how your brain matures and how you behave as an adult. But figuring out why this happens has been difficult.
Over the past 15 years, my team and I have been studying child brain development to identify what aspects of early life experiences affect brain maturation. In our recently published paper summarizing our findings across multiple studies in animals and people, we found that unpredictable or inconsistent parental behavior can disrupt the development of a child’s emotional brain circuits. This can lead to an increased risk of mental illness and substance abuse later on in the child’s life.
Predictability and consistency
To tackle the challenge of figuring out what signals affect how the brain’s emotional systems develop, we took cues from how the brain’s sensory systems, like vision and hearing, develop.
Environmental signals are important to sensory development. For example, if an infant is unable to see adequately because of a severe lazy eye, they may develop lifelong vision deficits. Similarly, an infant who is unable to make out the patterns and sequences of everyday sound due to frequent ear infections may develop lifelong hearing problems.