This One Simple Tool Can Benefit Your Kids For Life

Parents are always on the lookout for tips and advice on how they can keep their kids healthy and safe.

However, with our busy schedules, we often don’t have the time (or energy!) we’d like to participate in all the activities we think will keep our kids stimulated and engaged.

Now, a new study has been released that shows some amazing and life-long benefits for your child – when parents do just one simple thing.

Romper.com reported:

The new study — which was published in Biological Psychiatry and led by Christopher Holmes, Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of Georgia’s Center for Family Research — followed participants from the age of 11 to 25, according to Medical Xpress.

When the participants were 11 to 13, they shared interactions with their parents, including the frequency of discussions and arguing. And the results of the 14-year research ultimately suggested that greater communication between parents and their children actually promotes the development of a brain network that processes rewards and other stimuli. These stimuli, in turn, protect children against abuse of food, alcohol, and drugs later in life.

Parents are often aware that the more involved we are with our kids — by being available, open, and honest with them — the less likely they are to get involved in harmful activities or succumb to negative peer pressure.

But this study shows that open and ongoing communication between parent and child can actually change the brain, giving them protection from engaging in dangerous activities as they get older.

Romper.com continued:

At 25 years old, a subsample of 91 participants was recruited from the larger study for a neuroimaging session that used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity — specifically, a network of brain connections called the anterior salience network (ASN). And the participants also were tasked with answering questions about harmful alcohol use and emotional eating.

Those who communicated more with their parents in early adolescence had greater connectivity of the ASN at age 25. And greater ASN connectivity was, in turn, associated with lower alcohol abuse and disordered eating at age 25, EurekAlert reported.

Teens and young adults in our nation are facing a growing epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as obesity.

This fascinating science proves that the simple task of communicating with our kids can help combat negative decision making later on – with an actual physical mode of protection.

The study points to the fact that almost 25 million Americans over the age of twelve have experimented with illegal drugs, and drug and alcohol use continues to rise with young adults aged 18-20.

And while it may not seem as dangerous as drug use, the addiction of overeating is also at an all-time high, with upwards of half of the population saying they regularly overeat unhealthy foods due to stress – known as emotional eating.

This type of emotional eating is an addiction with the same chemical roots in the brain as that of addiction to illicit substances and can cause severe health risks and issues with self-esteem.

Romper.com continued:

“[The new research] might mean that social interactions [between parents and their children] actually influence the wiring patterns of the brain in the teenage years,” said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, according to Medical Xpress, noting that the results indicate the importance of family interactions in brain development and the emergence of “maladaptive behaviors in adulthood.”

The earlier open communication begins with our children, the healthier they will be, and this study shows the benefits are not just emotional.

In this age of rapidly advancing technology, most of us have forgotten how to truly communicate with one another.  We live on our cell phones and other devices, often spending time in the same room but not really talking to one another.

It is vital for parents to carve out time without the distraction of phones, tablets, or television – a time to really talk, and really listen, to each other and strengthen the most important bond there is – family.

Mealtimes are a perfect opportunity to do this.  Ban devices and television during these times, and talk to your kids about their day, or set a “tech-free” time each evening to reconnect.

It goes without saying that a strong support system gives a child a better basis for making appropriate decisions, but it is truly amazing that simply talking to our kids changes the wiring in their brains to equip them to make better decisions!

Parents are always on the lookout for tips and advice on how they can keep their kids healthy and safe.

However, with our busy schedules, we often don’t have the time (or energy!) we’d like to participate in all the activities we think will keep our kids stimulated and engaged.

Now, a new study has been released that shows some amazing and life-long benefits for your child – when parents do just one simple thing.

Romper.com reported:

The new study — which was published in Biological Psychiatry and led by Christopher Holmes, Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of Georgia’s Center for Family Research — followed participants from the age of 11 to 25, according to Medical Xpress.

When the participants were 11 to 13, they shared interactions with their parents, including the frequency of discussions and arguing. And the results of the 14-year research ultimately suggested that greater communication between parents and their children actually promotes the development of a brain network that processes rewards and other stimuli. These stimuli, in turn, protect children against abuse of food, alcohol, and drugs later in life.

Parents are often aware that the more involved we are with our kids — by being available, open, and honest with them — the less likely they are to get involved in harmful activities or succumb to negative peer pressure.

But this study shows that open and ongoing communication between parent and child can actually change the brain, giving them protection from engaging in dangerous activities as they get older.

Romper.com continued:

At 25 years old, a subsample of 91 participants was recruited from the larger study for a neuroimaging session that used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity — specifically, a network of brain connections called the anterior salience network (ASN). And the participants also were tasked with answering questions about harmful alcohol use and emotional eating.

Those who communicated more with their parents in early adolescence had greater connectivity of the ASN at age 25. And greater ASN connectivity was, in turn, associated with lower alcohol abuse and disordered eating at age 25, EurekAlert reported.

Teens and young adults in our nation are facing a growing epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as obesity.

This fascinating science proves that the simple task of communicating with our kids can help combat negative decision making later on – with an actual physical mode of protection.

The study points to the fact that almost 25 million Americans over the age of twelve have experimented with illegal drugs, and drug and alcohol use continues to rise with young adults aged 18-20.

And while it may not seem as dangerous as drug use, the addiction of overeating is also at an all-time high, with upwards of half of the population saying they regularly overeat unhealthy foods due to stress – known as emotional eating.

This type of emotional eating is an addiction with the same chemical roots in the brain as that of addiction to illicit substances and can cause severe health risks and issues with self-esteem.

Romper.com continued:

“[The new research] might mean that social interactions [between parents and their children] actually influence the wiring patterns of the brain in the teenage years,” said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, according to Medical Xpress, noting that the results indicate the importance of family interactions in brain development and the emergence of “maladaptive behaviors in adulthood.”

The earlier open communication begins with our children, the healthier they will be, and this study shows the benefits are not just emotional.

In this age of rapidly advancing technology, most of us have forgotten how to truly communicate with one another.  We live on our cell phones and other devices, often spending time in the same room but not really talking to one another.

It is vital for parents to carve out time without the distraction of phones, tablets, or television – a time to really talk, and really listen, to each other and strengthen the most important bond there is – family.

Mealtimes are a perfect opportunity to do this.  Ban devices and television during these times, and talk to your kids about their day, or set a “tech-free” time each evening to reconnect.

It goes without saying that a strong support system gives a child a better basis for making appropriate decisions, but it is truly amazing that simply talking to our kids changes the wiring in their brains to equip them to make better decisions!

So keep the positive conversations going with your kids.  Talk to them about their interests, problems and concerns, and encourage their questions.

It is a difficult time to be a teenager or young adult, with many pressures and negative influences around.  We can use all the help we can get to help them stay on the right path.

What do you think of this fascinating study?  What do you do to encourage open communication with your kids?  Leave us your comments.

So keep the positive conversations going with your kids.  Talk to them about their interests, problems and concerns, and encourage their questions.

It is a difficult time to be a teenager or young adult, with many pressures and negative influences around.  We can use all the help we can get to help them stay on the right path.

What do you think of this fascinating study?  What do you do to encourage open communication with your kids?  Leave us your comments.

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