Very few folks would disagree that it’s necessary to cuddle a child every day. After all, it provides an amazing way to bond and develop much-needed attachment for both baby and parents.
What many folks don’t realize, however, is that a father’s role in the overall development of a child is just as important as the mother’s.
In fact, A 20-second hug can help your child grow smarter, healthier, happier overall.
That’s why I set out to answer the question as to why dads need to cuddle their children as well.
Considering these facts and the idea that no matter if it’s the father or the mother who does the cuddling and skin-to-skin contact, I decided to do some more research into the subject and discovered that the benefits of cuddling include:
· It changes their DNA for the better
· Hugging creates more resilient children
· Hugging makes children healthier
· It creates smarter kids
· Hugging can help reduce the severity of temper tantrums
· Hugging keeps children healthy throughout their development
· It allows parents to properly bond
· It’s necessary for emotional development
With all these amazing benefits that cuddling produces in infants, let’s take a moment and examine them all in greater detail.
It Changes Their DNA For The Better:
When I first began researching the 10 amazing reasons why you should cuddle your infant daily, I was pretty much expecting the usual benefits such as bonding and reciprocal happiness between parents and baby.
Suffice it to say that I was practically blown away to learn that cuddling will actually alter the DNA structure of an infant child.
Researchers in Canada discovered how physical contact can have an intense effect on newborns. According to The University of British Columbia, the amount of touch an infant experiences will affect them right down to their DNA.
This, in turn, has a massive impact on the brain and overall humanity of the neglected infant.
For example, there have been several studies that examine orphans who grew up in Romanian orphanages where there is very little to no human contact often spending up to 22 to 23 hours of the day in their cribs alone.
Propped bottles were used to feed them, and care is routinized with minimal human interaction.
Because of the neglect the children suffered, many grew up with physical and mental delays. Children with obvious mental delays or disorders were given false diagnoses from untrained nurses or doctors. These children often face many issues including impaired cognitive development.
Even after adoption, forming an attachment with well-intended parents was an impossibility for many children despite best efforts.
Hugging Improves Resiliency In Infants And Children:
We all know and probably joke about the kid next door who often throws a fit in the grocery store, embarrassing their parents in the process.
But there’s actually a scientific reason why this occurs.
A child’s nervous systems are not nearly mature enough to regulate heavy emotions on their own. This is why children having intense emotions aka temper tantrums – typically have a much more difficult time stopping.
Rather than doing what many of us instinctively do through yelling and punishment, many experts recommend we take the time to hug them and reassure them that it’s OK to calm down.
Moreover, not only is hugging a major child development tool, but it also serves to educate them on how to calm down, and that it’s perfectly fine to lean on someone for emotional support as well.
Hugging Creates Healthier Children:
Most folks, including myself, believed that hugging a child provided only emotional support, however, as I researched the topic in greater depth I realized that there was something physical as well.
For instance, When children are denied physical touch of any kind, their bodies actually stop growing despite the regular intake of nutrients.
Remarkably, these children suffer from failure-to-thrive. This growth deficiency can be improved when nurturing touches and hugs are provided.
Study after study indicates that hugging can immediately boost the level of oxytocin in these developing children.
When oxytocin is increased it triggers a chain-like effect that promotes several growth hormones that aid in the overall physical development in children.
The bottom line? There certainly is indisputable proof that there is a mind-body connection happening here.
Hugging Creates Smarter Kids:
Considering the importance of hugs and the dramatic effect it produces on a child’s at the DNA level, is it any wonder that these same children are much more intelligent overall?
Yes, it’s true, these same infants will ultimately grow into children who will exhibit all the right qualities that will ensure they maximize their intellectual capabilities.
Apparently, though, not all hugs are created equally. Only caring, soft-like hugging touch provided for around 10 seconds can provide positive stimulation a young brain needs to develop healthily.
In other words, just don’t go through the motions like a robot, and just because their brains aren’t fully developed, children can sense emotion and love as well.
Hugging Can Help Reduce The Severity Of Temper Tantrums:
We all know that children are notorious for their part in throwing temper tantrums in the most embarrassing places.’
The supermarket, on public transit, the library, you name it I guarantee there has been a child throwing a fit in a place that would send shivers down your spine.
I used to think that kids threw fits simply because they had not been taught that you can’t always get your own way in life.
Turns out I missed the mark entirely…
When a child is throwing a temper tantrum, they are not being cantankerous. They are simply losing control of their emotion.
Think of a child’s emotions like a car. In a car, the gas pedal and the brake work separately to control the speed.
When a child has an emotional breakdown, the arousal outlet (gas pedal) is hyperactive while the soothing branch (the brake) is inactive. Imagine driving a car while accelerating pedal all the way causing a dangerous runaway car.
Instead of yelling and slapping your child, try and remember that a long-lasting hug will help reduce the speed of an emotional gas pedal by lowering the level of stress hormone and its anxiety effects (while at the same time releasing the feel-good hormone, oxytocin into the bloodstream)
Hugging Keeps Children Healthy Throughout Their Development:
Given all the evidence I listed so far, I’m sure if you have read my post up until this point you probably believe that hugging can keep your child healthy throughout their development.
Indeed, the idea that a simple, well-intended hug can ease symptoms of the common cold just makes sense considering its effects can be beneficial right down to the cellular level.
One prominent study from Murphy’s colleagues at Carnegie Mellon examined how stress and social support impact immunity and susceptibility to infectious disease.
The study found that the participants who received hugs daily experienced reduced signs of illness.
Feeling stressed and unloved will actually weaken our immune system to the point where it acts more vigorously.
Murphy goes on to state:
An over-aggressive immune system can lead to damage to bodily systems, increasing our risk for a variety of illnesses. they (hugs) can buffer against an illness that potentially threatens us, and subsequently shielding us.
Hugs Allow Parents To Properly Bond:
Most of us instinctively understand that hugging our little ones makes them feel a whole heck of a lot better, and as parents, the feeling is definitely reciprocated.
And it doesn’t stop once your child grows out of the infancy stage. In fact, bonding is absolutely essential to maintain well into their teenage years as they continue to develop and mature.
In other words, when it comes to overall child development, it’s essential that children bond with their parents on a consistent basis despite their age into maturity.
Why? Not only does bonding establish trust, but The benefits also go beyond the home. They have an impact on the child in the classroom, too which proves that it is multi-beneficial as well.
Research shows that kids at risk for behavior issues had less behavioral issues and higher reading scores at school. The benefits were also heightened when both parents were present in the child’s life making bonding a necessity for both mom and dad to participate in.
But what about us parents?
I can’t count how many times I came from work as I’m greeted at the door by my children with a big, gigantic hug.
Truth be told, it’s those times that I was in need of a hug, and probably much more than them at the time.
Remember, hugging has reciprocal benefits where both parents reap the rewards just as much as baby!
Hugs Are Necessary For Emotional Development:
If you are a dad blessed to have children in your life, then you already know that they are in constant need of reassurance that you are there for them as they sort out the world around them.
Being a child is already difficult because as they age and mature, their little body is flooded by a constant flow of emotions and hormones that just does not make sense to them.
As adults, it’s our privilege – and duty I might add – to raise our kids and teach them that it’s ok to bond and share emotionality with us adults; hugs most definitely helps in this regard.
It’s proven that hugs help reduce stress levels and make children realize that they are safe in the world around them; and with our modern technological society, connectedness with the people around them is quickly becoming less common.
Kids experience complicated feelings. They get frustrated, nervous, excited, unhappy, jealous, upset, frightened, and ashamed. young kids don’t have the vocabulary to talk about how they are feeling which, in turn, adds to their frustration. Rather, they transmit their feelings in other ways. Aside from verbalizing, hugs provide an extra element of support where children can feel safe and secure communicating their emotions.
There is no reason why dads need to cuddle their children. After all, the amazing benefits of cuddling one’s child extend well-beyond just the mother.
From strengthening the immune system to bonding, cuddling has scientific, measurable benefits that simply cannot be ignored.
So if you have been reluctant to cuddle and show physical affection because of fear you will be doing more harm than good, I certainly hope my post serves as an eye-opener.
How many times do you cuddle your children daily? Leave your comments below!