Parental affection shapes child’s perception of happiness

The level of parental affection that our children see and receive plays a lifelong role in their happiness. Love and affection are some of the most rewarding parts of an intimate relationship such as the relationship between a parent and a child. As human beings, we all need some level of touch and care, and even thrive on it. Children especially benefit from the comfort we provide and if you’ve ever thought you were hugging or cuddling your child too much, you’re not.

Children of all ages are sponges whose brains are still developing. Almost everything we do with or around our children can have a long-term impact on their development. No pressure, right? Many small actions form a pattern and from this pattern, your child’s lifelong experiences with you will shape their psyche and ability to respond to life’s challenges. It’s a lot to make sure our children are well, but research seems to indicate that affection and love for your child may be all they need. There’s nothing fancy about a daily hug, but it’s the kind of thing adults will remember from their childhood on tough days.


The benefits of parental affection are long-lasting and scientifically proven


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via Pexels/Barbara Olsen

Recent studies have shown that children who are often hugged, kissed, complimented or shown other forms of affection grow up to be happier and mentally healthier adults. If you needed another excuse to hug your brooding teenager, this is it. Something as small as a side hug before school and a smile can keep your child feeling great for years to come. According to the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, a Duke University Medical School study found that positive parental affection during infancy has positive long-term benefits.

The 30-year-old study looked at infants and how their mothers interacted with them. The same babies were contacted as adults, in their early thirties. Babies with “very loving and caring” mothers grew into adults with fewer emotional problems. Babies who had loving mothers had lower rates of depression and anxiety, as well as better stress management. They were also more resilient than the others. Children who receive meaningful parental affection have also been shown to be developmentally ahead of their peers.

Incorporate regular acts of affection into your day if you don’t already. Cuddles before bedtime or before school can fit in naturally. Whatever you do, don’t overdo your parental affection in order to make your children happier. It doesn’t work that way. Forcing your kids to hug and kiss won’t have the same positive effect as doing it naturally, and it will be really weird for your child to suddenly do the same.

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Lack of parental affection causes challenges


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by Pexels/Ivan Samkov

While science has proven that parental affection is a huge benefit, children who lack it suffer. A 2013 study from the University of California, Los Angeles focused on those who grew up with a lack of parental affection and in turn proved that parental affection has many benefits. For all the children who are raised in loving and secure homes, there are millions of children who do not receive enough love or affection. Just as parental affection has a positive benefit, children who don’t receive enough love won’t know how to give or accept it as they grow.


Exploring Your Mind explains that how we are treated as children really shapes who we are psychologically and who we become as adults. A child who is not treated well and who does not have positive affection will not grow into an adult who is confident and who feels that it is natural to be affectionate. Think about yourself how you were brought up. Did you feel the love of your parents? Or were your feelings dismissed or even ignored?

If your parents were unloving, chances are you still remember hurtful things your parents said or did. Or maybe it’s what they didn’t do that stood out to you. Close relationships can be hard to maintain, and even getting affection from a romantic partner as an adult can feel weird.


If this was not your experience and you are now showing your child the same affection you used to, you may not fully understand how a lack of parental affection can negatively impact someone in your life. adulthood. It’s very lucky. So many childhood traumas can present themselves in adulthood and most can be prevented. Whatever you do as a mother, take this time to hug your child, kiss her, and tell her you love her. A little love seems to go a long way.

Source: Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Exploring Your Mind, Psychology Today, UCLA


Parental Affection Determines Children's Happiness As They Grow
Parental Affection Determines Children’s Happiness As They Grow

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