Bowlby, J Attachment. Attachment and Loss vol. New York: Basic Books. Feldman, R. Biological Psychiatry 75 1. Fridlund, A. Little Albert: A neurologically impaired child. History of Psychology 15 4 : UK McEwen, B.
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Stress-and allostasis-induced brain plasticity. Annual Review of Medicine Meaney, M. Early postnatal handling alters glucocorticoid receptor concentrations in selected brain regions. Behavioral Neuroscience 5 : NSPCC How safe are our children: The most comprehensive overview of child protection in the UK.
Developmental catch-up, and deficit, following adoption after severe global early privation. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 39 4 — Rutter, M. The British Journal of Psychiatry 2 : Skuse, D. Extreme deprivation in early childhood: Diverse outcomes for three siblings from an extraordinary family. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry — Variations in maternal care in infancy regulate the development of stress reactivity. Biological Psychiatry 48 12 : Carrion, V. Stress predicts brain changes in children: A pilot longitudinal study on youth stress, posttraumatic stress disorder, and the hippocampus.
Pediatrics 3 : Christensson, K. Separation distress call in the human neonate in the absence of maternal body contact. Acta Paediatrica Day, L. Forming a loving bond. Early Years Educator 10 2 : The power of touch. Early Years Educator 10 8 : The developing brain. Early Years Educator 13 10 : Early postnatal brain development.
Early Years Educator 14 5 : Field, T. Touch for socioemotional and physical well-being: A review. Developmental Review 30 4 : Harlow, H. Total social isolation in monkeys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Leerkes, E. Differential effects of maternal sensitivity to infant distress and nondistress on social-emotional functioning. Moral Landscapes. We often hear that boys need to be toughened up so as not to be sissies.
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These ideas are based on a misunderstanding of how babies develop. Instead, babies rely on tender, responsive care to grow well—resulting in self-control, social skills and concern for others. A review of empirical research just came out by Allan N. Here are a few highlights:. Boys are more vulnerable to neuropsychiatric disorders that appear developmentally girls more vulnerable to disorders that appear later.
These include autism , early onset schizophrenia , ADHD, and conduct disorders. These have been increasing in recent decades interestingly, as more babies have been put into daycare settings, nearly all of which provide inadequate care for babies; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Early Child Care Research Network, Schore, b, b.
Relational trauma in early critical periods of brain development thus imprints a permanent physiological reactivity of the right brain , alters the corticolimbic connectivity into the HPA, and generates a susceptibility to later disorders of affect regulation expressed in a deficit in coping with future socioemotional stressors. Earlier, I described that slow-maturing male brains are particularly vulnerable to this most dysregulated attachment typology, which is expressed in severe deficits in social and emotional functions.
By the end of the first year and into the second, higher centers in the right orbitofrontal and ventromedial cortices begin to forge mutual synaptic connections with the lower subcortical centers, including the arousal systems in the midbrain and brain stem and the HPA axis, thereby allowing for more complex strategies of affect regulation, especially during moments of interpersonal stress. That said, as I noted in , the right orbitofrontal cortex, the attachment control system, functionally matures according to different timetables in females and males, and thus, differentiation and growth stabilizes earlier in females than in males A.
Schore, In either case, optimal attachment scenarios allow for the development of a right-lateralized system of efficient activation and feedback inhibition of the HPA axis and autonomic arousal, essential components for optimal coping abilities. NOTE: Here is a recent article explaining attachment.
Review all hospital birth practices. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a start but not enough. According to a recent review of the research, there is lot of epigenetic and other effects going on at birth. Separation of mom and baby at birth is harmful for all babies, but Schore points out how much more harm it does to boys:. Provide responsive care. Note that preterm boys are less able to spontaneously interact with caregivers and so need particularly sensitive care as their neurobiological development proceeds.
Provide paid parental leave. For parents to provide responsive care, they need the time, focus and energy. This means a move to paid maternal and paternal leave for at least a year, the time when babies are most vulnerable.
Sweden has other family-friendly policies that make it easier for parents to be responsive. One other thing I did not address that Schore does is the effects of environmental toxins. That is a topic for another blog post. Of course, we should not just worry about boys but take action for all babies.
We need to provide nurturing care for all children. All children expect and need, for proper development, the evolved nest , a baseline for early care which provides the nurturing, stress-reducing care that fosters optimal brain development. My lab studies the Evolved Nest and finds it related to all the positive child outcomes we have studied.
Provide paid parental leave. For parents to provide responsive care, they need the time, focus and energy.
The Power of touch
This means a move to paid maternal and paternal leave for at least a year, the time when babies are most vulnerable. Sweden has other family-friendly policies that make it easier for parents to be responsive. One other thing I did not address that Schore does is the effects of environmental toxins. That is a topic for another blog post.
Of course, we should not just worry about boys but take action for all babies.
We need to provide nurturing care for all children. All children expect and need, for proper development, the evolved nest , a baseline for early care which provides the nurturing, stress-reducing care that fosters optimal brain development.
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My lab studies the Evolved Nest and finds it related to all the positive child outcomes we have studied. Messed up Morals! NOTE: Readers have raised questions about circumcision. The USA dataset reviewed by Dr. Schore did not include information about circumcision, so there is no way to know whether some of the findings might be due to the trauma of circumcision, which is still widespread in the USA. Read more about the psychological effects of circumcision here.
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ParentingConnections podcast Darcia Narvaez, under an hour. The EDN is the baseline I use to examine what fosters optimal human health, wellbeing and compassionate morality. The niche includes at least the following: infant-initiated breastfeeding for several years, nearly constant touch early, responsiveness to needs to avoid distressing a baby, playful companionship with multi-aged playmates, multiple adult caregivers, positive social support, and soothing perinatal experiences.
My comments and posts stem from these basic assumptions. My research laboratory has documented the importance of the EDN for child wellbeing and moral development with more papers in the works see my Website to download papers : Narvaez, D.
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28 4 , — Doi: Narvaez, D. The Evolved Developmental Niche and sociomoral outcomes in Chinese three-year-olds. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 10 2 , Evolved Developmental Niche History: Relation to adult psychopathology and morality. Applied Developmental Science, 4, The flourishing of young Children: Evolutionary baselines.
In Narvaez, D. Young child flourishing as an aim for society. Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality W. Kunzler, J.