Impact of parenting on childhood brain development

Pediatric Psychotherapist Tina Payne Bryson shares advice for parents on how a child's brain develops is greatly impacted by parents and what parents can do to help child's brain development
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Impact of parenting on childhood brain development

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Parents have a huge impact on how their children’s brains are developed. The reason is because parents provide a lot of experiences over and over and over and the studies of neural plasticity, which are basically the studies that teach us how the brain develops and how it changes over time, show that repeated experiences – the experiences we have over and over – are what wire our brains. And so the experiences that parents, teachers, other caregivers have with children – and the experiences they provide over and over – are what wire their brains. So when parents provide nurturing over and over and they meet their children’s needs, not perfectly but consistently and repeatedly, then children’s brains get wired to expect that that’s how relationships work, that other people will meet their needs and that they will have people they can count on. This is one of many examples of how the repeated experiences we provide as caregivers wire our children’s brains. So as parents, we’re actually architects of the actual structures that get built in our children’s brains.

Pediatric Psychotherapist Tina Payne Bryson shares advice for parents on how a child's brain develops is greatly impacted by parents and what parents can do to help child's brain development

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Tina Payne Bryson, PhD

Psychotherapist & Author

Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, is a psychotherapist at Pediatric and Adolescent Psychology Associates in Arcadia, California, where she sees children and adolescents, as well as provides parenting consultations. She is the school counselor at St. Marks Episcopal School in Altadena, CA, and a Developmental Consultant to Camp Chippewa for Boys. She speaks to parents, educators, and clinicians all across the country. Dr. Bryson earned her PhD from the University of Southern California, where her research explored attachment science, childrearing theory, and the emerging field of interpersonal neurobiology. Her best-selling book The Whole-Brain Child (co-authored with Dr. Dan Siegel) gives parents practical ways to transform difficult moments into opportunities for children to thrive.  Dr. Bryson has written for a large number of publications, most recently the PBS series “This Emotional Life.”  She lives near Los Angeles with her husband and three children.  

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