Medical Proof That Parenting Is The Most Important Job In The World

If asked what the most important job in the world is, most people would immediately say “parenting.”

There is nothing more valuable than raising a child in a loving and supportive home, teaching them values and skills that will give them the best start in life.

But some children are not as fortunate as others, and a lack of supportive parents or caregivers can have serious – and not so obvious – consequences.

So-called “cold” parenting is used to describe a situation in which a child’s physical needs – food, clothing, and shelter – are met, but they may not be raised in a loving and nurturing environment.

They may lack their parents’ support in their interests or activities; they may not live in a home where acts of affection – like hugs or cuddles – are practiced.

Being raised in a home with disconnected parents who are not available for open communication, comfort, or other basic needs obviously creates a disadvantage for children.

Studies have shown that “cold” parenting increases the likelihood of aggression, depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental health and behavioral issues in children.

And the negative effects often last a lifetime, passed on to the next generation as they exhibit the same behaviors as adults that were modeled to them as children.

But a recent study shows just how tragic cold or detached parenting is for a child’s immediate and long-term well-being.

Data taken from over 200 participants in an Adventist Health Study led by Dr. Raymond Knutsen of Loma Linda University of Public Health shows that children who are raised by “cold” parents – especially mothers – have 25% smaller “telomeres.”

Telomeres protect our strands of DNA, the very core of what determines our physical and emotional health and susceptibility to disease.

Under stress, particularly stress early in life, telomeres shorten.  This shortening can increase cellular aging, which not only increases the risk of disease, but also the possibility of earlier onset.

“Telomeres have been called a genetic clock, but we now know that as early life stress increases, telomeres shorten and the risk of a host of diseases increases, as well as premature death,” said Raymond Knutsen, MD, as reported by Medical Express.

So the length of telomeres are a key factor in our mental and physical health, as well as our longevity.

Detached or even abusive parenting styles can even stunt brain growth.  Lack of a nurturing environment quite literally results in a smaller brain.

Mommy Underground previously reported on another study that showed that as soon as early infancy, the tone of voice of parents and caregivers can have a negative effect on the developing brain.

Loud, angry voices were shown to impact infant brain growth, which can lead to similar risks as those associated with shortening of the telomeres.

The study on the effects of cold or detached parenting also found that this parenting style was more likely to occur with lower levels of education in parents – and interestingly – was also related to their weight.

It appears that parents who are overweight or obese are more likely to practice a more detached parenting style.

This could be due to already existing health problems due to excess weight that contribute to parents’ mood and ability to interact with their children.  Education and physical health allow telomeres to lengthen, preventing early onset of disease and cellular aging.

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When a parent’s behavior does not create a loving, supportive environment, a child’s brain develops in altered form. Dysfunctional, irrational, and destructive behavior patterns are literally programmed into the child’s brain, setting the stage for recurring issues throughout that child’s life,” writes Marianna S. Klebanov, JD, according to Health News Digest.

Detached parenting leads to a laundry list of other problems for children, some physical, others resulting in emotional or behavioral patterns from which they cannot always recover from.

Career success, quality of relationships, potential substance abuse, and tendency toward violence or crime are all consequences of cold parenting – in addition to the proven physical effects.

It’s fascinating, and tragic, to say the least.

While it’s possible for children to overcome detached or abusive relationships with their parents, this form of parenting certainly stacks the deck against children having the greatest potential for quality of life.

The lack of a nurturing and supportive home in childhood can have devastating consequences and certainly proves that parenting is the most important job in the world.

What do you think of the tragic, lifelong effects of “cold” or detached parenting?  Leave us your comments.