Value of Parental Care

Dr. Purushothaman
October 9, 2013

We all know about the greatness and importance of parental love and attachment for the continuation of life on earth.
Parental care is also seen in many animals.

Here is a recorded witness of an unusual incident of parent birds coming for their kid:
When a young sparrow was caught by a person and the bird gave out 2-3 chirps for help, the old birds flew to within a few feet of the person holding the young bird and began to beg for their kid in the most touching and beseeching manner. This they did by lowering their heads and making the peculiar flutter of the wings by which young birds beg for foods from the old ones. This singularly touching appeal moved the hearts of many in the crowd,.....
(C. R. (1878) NATURE, 5th September, page: 489)

Compared with earlier generations, we do see more parental care these days. More specifically dads appear softer than before. For long standing affection and attachment, the hormones Oxytocin, Vasopressin and NGF are considered responsible. However, it is not completely clear, why they should be produced more leading to these effects. It can be considered as natural for the propagation of the species. Why do we love our kids? is still not answered completely, however, mostly, it is because, they are ours (self).

Most of the parents exhibit conditional love on their children, like loving when the kids do something the parents want them to do. For example, achieving good score in exams. Though parents do this to encourage kids to develop good habits, some studies showed that this will develop some hatred towards the parent subconsciously. When the children are more than 3 behaving like an ideal parent will be very difficult for the mom and dad. After all, they are also humans.But, being very careful in their caring appears very essential on the part of the parents, keeping in view of the longterm effects, parenting will have on their kids. Studies showed that kids like unconditional support from their parents. So, that increases the parental value and shows the parental attachment towards the kid. Studies also showed that a warm and supportive touch of a parent has more effect than words. Not all kids are alike. But, under the conditions when we see more incidents of autism, we need to be more careful in bringing up the kids, than before. Attachment in autistic children is more complicated as many of them tend to be solitary and have difficulty in socialization.

What is the basis for the statement that early parenting has longterm effect on the health of the individual?

Several studies indicate a link between the way infants /kids are treated and their health condition when they grow up. To site an example,
In the early 1950s, 126 healthy Harvard University students were randomly asked to describe how they felt about their parents. They were to rate their relationship with mother and father as, "very close," "warm and friendly," "tolerant," or "strained and cold."

After thirty-five years, medical records were obtained on these participants. An amazing 91 percent who, thirty-five years earlier, felt that their relationship with their mothers was just tolerable, or strained and cold, had developed serious diseases in midlife, including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, ulcers, and alcoholism. By comparison, only 45% of those who had earlier reported warm and friendly relationship with parents had similar illnesses.
Furthermore, all of the participants (literally, 100%) who had described their relationship with both parents as less than a warm had serious diseases diagnosed in midlife as compared to only 47% of those who had felt their parents were warm and close.
Researchers concluded that parental love seems to act as a buffer against later life illnesses.

Whether it is due to smaller size of the family or several other factors, parents are expecting more from children in this generation and also ready to take more care. I hesitate to buy a suite for my interview, but when my son wants to for a school seminar for fun, I just don't think twice, to spend more than hundred dollars for his coat. My blood boils like anything just to the idea of someone making my son cry. I am sure you are not different. But, think about the conditions outside these days. Just scan millions of cases of child abuse.

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