Love is paramount for a child’s healthy development - in fact, their emotional and physical evolution depend on it. According to Psychology Today, researchers have identified that there are distinct stages in a child’s brain development, hypersensitive to a mother’s nurturing love and support, or lack thereof.
What does this mean? Simply put, children need love to grow. According to author Joan L. Luby, "It's now clear that a caregiver's nurturing is not only good for the development of the child, but it actually physically changes the brain."
Newborns feel attachment immediately upon their entrance into the world. While in the womb, babies hear, feel, and even smell their mothers - hence the powerful connection at birth. However, biology is not the only part of this love story.
A prominent study by Luby - also the lead researcher and a psychiatrist at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, ascertains that nurturing a child early in life may help him or her develop a larger hippocampus, the brain region important for learning, memory and stress responses. Also, Live Science explains there exists a connection between early social experiences and the volume of the amygdala, which helps regulate the processing and memory of emotional reactions. Together they are a dynamic interaction - a growing force.
Luby believes this study validates something that seems to be intuitive, which is just how important nurturing parents are to creating adaptive human beings.” The first 24 months of a babies life are crucial - a lack of love, emotional warmth, and physical contact, hugely impacts or slows down the growth mechanism in the body and brain. "We can now say with confidence that the psychosocial environment has a material impact on the way the human brain develops," said Luby. "It puts a very strong wind behind the sail of the idea that early nurturing of children positively affects their development."
Furthermore, numerous studies have also discovered that children raised in a nurturing environment typically do better in school and are more emotionally developed than their non-nurtured peers. This points to the fact that kids who receive positive parenting in the early years of their childhood undergo proper brain development, and most of them become successful later in life.
As a result of her findings, Luby advocates in a press release, “I think the public health implications suggest that we should pay more attention to parents’ nurturing, and we should do what we can as a society to foster these skills because clearly nurturing has a very, very big impact on later development.”