How Parenting Style Affects Your Child’s Brain

The nature versus nurture argument has been around almost as long as parenting. Does how you parent affect your child’s brain, or is your child already wired to react to life a certain way? It turns out that parenting style does affect a child’s brain in many ways, giving parents more influence than you may imagine.

Resilience

Resilience is something parents want their kids to have, so they can survive in a world where they won’t always win. However, raising resilient kids means letting them try and fail, something that makes many parents nervous. Young people need to know that it’s OK to fail or lose and that everything that doesn’t go as planned won’t break them. This is how true resilience is built. Parents who encourage their kids to try and help them learn from failures help their children learn resilience and teach them to reframe failure as an opportunity to learn and try again. If you try to keep your kids from failing or taking any type of risks, there is no opportunity for them to learn how to be resilient, which will impact them throughout their lives.

Physical Safety

Kids need to be physically active, but what you may not know is that more than their bodies benefit when they exercise. Playing games, walking or other physical activity improves mental and brain health and overall attitude in kids. It’s also good for kids to play physically and create their own games using their imaginations to develop confidence and independence. It is important to give kids a certain amount of freedom when it comes to physical play, but it’s also important to make sure they are safe. Helmets and gear should be worn when appropriate, and kids shouldn’t engage in activities that put them at a high risk for brain injuries. Serious concussions may result in traumatic brain injuries, which can have severe long-term effects.

Be Authoritative

Parents should guide their children, teach them lessons and help them grow. This is considered an authoritative form of parenting, and it has many advantages. Kids who are raised by parents who are consistent and loving and seek to guide as opposed to punish have higher confidence and aren’t as likely to suffer from depression. Their brains benefit from being raised in a safe environment where discipline is valued over punishment.

Authoritarian parents, by contrast, simply want to coerce their kids to obey even if that means punishment. Kids raised by authoritarian parents are more likely to suffer from depression and not think as much of themselves. What you do as a parent affects your child’s development, and that is a good thing since you can have a positive influence over your child’s future.

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