Positive parenting, as reported by children and teenagers, can safeguard young individuals from the damaging effects of stressors like financial hardship or serious illness. The research team used MRI data and survey responses from 482 participants aged 10–17.
They confirmed earlier findings that stress is linked to smaller hippocampal volumes and behavioral issues, but these associations were weaker or absent in youths who perceived their parents as warm and supportive.
Interestingly, this protective effect was exclusive to youth-reported positive parenting, highlighting the importance of the child’s perspective.
- Positive parenting, when reported by the youth, mitigates the adverse effects of stress on brain development and behavior.
- The resilience-boosting effect of positive parenting was absent in caregiver-reported data, underlining the significance of the child’s viewpoint.
- The study backs evidence from interventions aimed at promoting supportive parenting, which have been associated with favorable outcomes for youth.
Source: PNAS Nexus
As a psychiatrist, these findings emphasize the importance of taking into account the child’s perspective when evaluating the impact of parenting on their mental health and development. Supporting positive parenting practices can help build resilience in youth, protecting them from the detrimental effects that stress may have on their brain development and behavior.
Dr Oliver Everett Harrison, MD, Cure of Mind