The Psychology of Everyday Life:Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage


How important is affection?

Of course, parenting is not all about discipline. Fundamentally, it is about love. Physical affection plays a critical role in child development, shaping the growing child’s ability to tolerate intimacy and physical touch. Moreover, a large body of research documents the importance of warmth and affection in neurobiological development, particularly affecting the flexibility of the stress response and capacity for positive emotions. The classic work of Rene Spitz illustrates the tragic effects of emotional deprivation. Dr. Spitz studied infants in an orphanage who were separated from their mothers during World War II. Although they were kept warm, clean, and well fed, these babies were left with essentially no affection, touch, or personal attention. This gross deprivation profoundly stunted and distorted the infants’ cognitive, motoric, and physical development. They even had a very high death rate


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