“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children….”
It should be obvious that attentive parents are a blessing to their children. However, as we look around us, we see too many examples of inattentive parenting. Now scientists in Canada have experimentally demonstrated one of the benefits of attentive parenting.
Researchers divided 32 female rats into two groups. One group was made up of naturally attentive mothers who paid a great deal of attention to their newborns. The other group was made up of mothers that were careless and inattentive to their newborns’ needs. Once the young rats were grown, they were tested for memory and intelligence. They were placed in a swimming maze that required them to find a submerged platform in the tank. On the first day, all the rats did about the same. But on the second day, and for the rest of their lives, the rats whose mothers had paid attention to them scored much higher. Researchers found that the rats who were carefully nurtured had extra connections in the part of their brains called the hippocampus and had more receptors for a neurotransmitter important for learning. These features of the brain form during the first days after birth. In short, a caring mother spurs brain development that benefits the child for the rest of its life. Researchers say that since human development is similar, attentive human mothers give their children a life‑long gift.
Children are a great gift and trust we receive from God. Now science has shown us one of the ways parents can bless their children for life.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, give us loving, attentive parents. Amen.
Ref: Minneapolis Star Tribune, 7/23/00, p. E5, “Nurturing, intelligence linked.” Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay. (PD)