The most important ingredient for parenting
Parents and teachers want children to be successful adults, and much time is spent worrying about the right way to discipline and how to best encourage them. In the end, though, the thing that matters the most is love.
Research shows that the early growth of an infant's brain is dependent upon the environment a baby is born into.
The first 24 months is crucial in that it is during this time the building and shaping of this part of the brain sets the child up for life.
If an infant is born into an environment lacking in love, emotional warmth, and responsiveness, the growth of its brain is hugely affected.
Babies who are not held and nuzzled and hugged enough will stop growing, and if the situation lasts long enough, even if they are receiving proper nutrition, will die.
A lack of love, emotional warmth and physical contact basically slows down the growth mechanisms in the brain and body. For instance, human growth hormone is produced in smaller amounts when there's not enough love around.
As the infant grows and enters into their childhood and then adolescence, love remains the cornerstone to their development.
Children need love in their lives to foster kindness and empathy for others. Love is also fundamental to building self-esteem and self-belief. If children know their parents and teachers believe in them, they are more likely to succeed.
Ultimately, parents and teachers who talk and play with their children, who are patient with them, and who reassure them when they're worried, help to instil the key ingredients for making capable, grounded and kind children.
It is more often that not to find that the troubled, angry and depressed adolescents who are at-risk of falling into drug and alcohol dependency, lack love from their parents.
Their parents have failed them, and even when gestures of goodwill and kindness are provided, these children don't have the skills to know how to accept or ask for help.
Providing love to your child is the one thing that makes all the difference - in so many important ways.