Monday, February 20, 2012

Not the LEAST Bit Surprised

You must read the unexpected and surprising research study!

Mom's love helps kids brain grow

Color me surprised but the shocking news is out! It seems that loving and supportive parenting is better for a child. Yes indeed, that is the finding of a mental health organization's study run by U.S. National Institute of Mental Health. (Sometimes I think I need to tap into these amazing "research studies".  LOL)

Why my cynical and downright catty attitude? It seems odd that the connection between love and learning actually needed to be tested and proven. Seems like a bit of a no-brainer to me. But it's true. Seems the children from the study who had involved and supportive parenting had larger hippocampi than the the children whose parents couldn't or didn't provide the love and care we are testing here. Kind of thrilling to know, really. The hippocampus is in charge of the memory and learning as well as dealing with stress. It turns out that having a devoted and caring parent there is actually beneficial to our children. 

To me, that's like singing to the choir.  

It's extra neat that this study was undertaken here in St. Louis at Washington University. While Dr. Joan Luby,  founder and director of the Washington University School of Medicine Early Emotional Development Program, was doing research on childhood depression, she identified this "side benefit" of a healthy child-parent bond.

So, I went looking for the source document for this story and I found it here  at a website called Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America or PNAS. And, lest you think this is some rinky dink group that studies complicated relationships like parent/child and a child's learning abilities, let me freak you out with some other study titles:
  •  PNAS Plus: Identification of residues defining phospholipid flippase substrate specificity of type IV P-type ATPases
  • Nonlinear Laplacian spectral analysis for time series with intermittency and low-frequency variability

  • Unidirectionally aligned line patterns driven by entropic effects on faceted surfaces

And I understood EVERY ONE of those studies.

Oh well, I understood this interesting study: 

  • Are low-frequency songs sexually selected, and do they lose their potency in male–female interactions under noisy conditions?  

I also found the study here. A much easier link!

And SO, in case you missed it, Homeschooling Parents and All Parents, we're totally on the right track when it comes to our children's hippocampi every time we offer them love, support, and our time. 

I enjoy reading about studies that support home learning.  

Do you know of any good links or stories I might like?


Dr. Joan Luby's photograph courtesy of:


  1. I would add, that it seems that Love and Support are crucial also to raising animals and growing plants.

    They seem to be bigger and healthier, with better immunity and smarter too [where applicable].

    Funny how that works!

  2. Loving, supportive parents are better for kids? are you sure about this? Was this a well controlled study? :-P What puzzles me is why they invest in studies like this. I mean is there any parent sitting there thinking, "I'd really prefer to ignore my kids, but this research data says they won't be as smart, so I guess I'd better love them and pay attention to them. Just so they can get into Harvard."

    1. LOL, I guess I'd better open the basement door and let them up...

    2. P.S. My daughter is sitting right here laughing!


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