The above brains are, surprisingly, from two normal three year old children
Looking at those pictures or two different brains, people would assume that the one on the right could be due to some kind of trauma, like an accident, genetic conditions, or mental disorder. However, the research shows us that it’s actually something that can be controlled – neglect.
Parenting styles have major effects on how well a child’s brain can develop
There are a lot of studies which are concluding that infants who are neglected within the beginning couple years of their life are more likely to have mental health problems. Various other studies also put forward the idea that neglecting a child during these crucial developmental years causes emotional trauma and severe stress to the child’s brain.
This increased amount of stress is what causes the brain to become underdeveloped, particularly in the main areas of the brain that are accountable for intelligence levels. Kids who have suffered neglect as infants are more likely to become addicted to drugs, fail in school, have trouble keeping a job, and can even become violent.
The negative effects on the brain during infancy follows the person into adulthood
Scientists have discovered that the synaptic pathways in the brain work on the principle of if something isn’t being used, it can be disregarded. Therefore, when a child doesn’t get the emotional support from caregivers, or even proper interactions with peers, the developments of the brain in important areas are inhibited. This includes the person’s ability to care and interact with people which remain challenges, regardless of age.
Infants in orphanages or foster care aren’t the only ones who are at risk of having an undeveloped brain
While the caregivers in these circumstances are often unable to give the child to strong emotional support they need, studies show that even children with mothers can have cognitive issues. Children with mothers who have a low income, depression, low levels of education, or who were separated from their own parents by 14-years-old were more likely to neglect their children. The mothers have experienced neglect themselves and therefore, they don’t know how to properly show the emotional support that a child needs to have a fully developed brain. This can lead to a depraved cycle that’s almost like a hereditary disease being passed down from mother to child.
The right parenting styles can break this vicious cycle
There is hope for mothers who are worried about neglecting their child. If they are instructed on how to properly look after their newborn baby from an early stage, the child will be more likely to experience healthy brain development. In these circumstances, mothers who seem more likely to be neglectful (through no fault of their own) towards their child are taught by a nurse on proper parenting styles.
These intervention programs are showing positive signs in ensuring that the child is less likely to be involved in crime and will achieve higher levels of education. If you, or anyone you know, is at risk of potentially being neglectful towards a child, getting a nurse in to teach the correct parenting methods early on can make a huge impact on the infant’s life.