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Years ago, there was an experiment that was conducted by an American Developmental Psychologist named Edward Tronik called the Still Face experiment. Children as young as 1 year old are put in front of their mother who suddenly in the middle of a play session turns insensitive and cold to their emotions and reactions.
It’s a cruel experiment to watch, even for those 2 minutes that it lasts, but the fight of the child to convey their emotions, intentions and reactions to their mother are truly gut wrenching. As parents of our modern busy world, we’ve so many things beckoning our attention in addition to our children.
Children want to be seen and valued. The tender attention they seek can either build or the lack of it can crush their self-esteem.
So much of how children are nurtured depends on the mental well-being of the parents, especially, the mother. Children thrive when the mother is physically fit, mentally strong, and emotionally available.
Believe it or not, you can ignore the dirty dishes, piles of laundry and slimy kitchen floors to go outside and watch them cart wheel or bike yelling out their favorite songs. Because, no one can be a bad mother – only a good one or a spontaneous one.
Whether it is intentional or unintentional, the emotional damage of parental neglect can be long lasting and life altering for children.
Love is not just a want, it’s an undeniable need for our children to thrive in this world. It is a tool in their social interaction toolkit that helps children process their emotions and helps them deconstruct how they’re feeling and why they feel the way they do. So, once in a while, let’s put those phones away to really engage with them.
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