How often do you hug your child? Research at Duke University tracked 500 participants through the age of 30. Research has shown that the children who were treated lovingly by their parents in their early years became happier and more balanced in adulthood.
Showing love is more than just doing basic parenting. The easiest way to show love is by hugging, touching, kissing, and caressing. Deep emotional contact with a parent (or lack thereof) will have long-term effects.
The basis for this emotional reaction is oxytocin, and Ruth Feldman and Orna Zagoory-Sharon, researchers at Herzliya's Interdisciplinary Center, are working to discover what long-term effect oxytocin has on human life. A long-term study found that premature babies who had direct skin contact with their mothers for one hour a day had better relationships with their mothers after ten years, lower levels of stress hormones, and they were less prone to attention deficit hyperactivity than premature babies who had not had skin contact with their mothers after their birth.
Feldman also emphasizes that a child who receives proximity and tenderness from a parent develops a kind of synchrony with the parent over time in terms of voice, posture and emotional states, which results in the child being more empathetic with the parent’s point of view.
Why is this important? A stable, empathetic relationship with a parent will help a child grow into an adult capable of smoother, more enjoyable relationships.