With so much in the news and on social media these days about phones and parenting, technology and the science of kindness, and the impact of a mother's love on the size and structures of her child's brain, it is good to have a peek at some of the researching behind the buzz of neuroplasticity.
This is an opportunity for us to get real about the variety of interactions that many of us share during each day and what is nurturing our relationships and in turn our biological capacity for intimacy.
Barbara L. Fredrickson, an author and professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, wrote Your Phone vs. Your Heart for the New York Times. In the piece, she asks the readers, "How much time do you typically spend with others? And when you do, how connected and attuned to them do you feel? Your answers to these simple questions may well reveal your biological capacity to connect." Fredrickson shares, "New parents may need to worry less about genetic testing and more about how their actions — like texting while breast-feeding or otherwise paying more attention to their phone than their child — leave life-limiting fingerprints on their and their children’s gene expression."
With the recent flurry of "Dear Mom on the iPhone" letters, and confessions of tech-addicted adults as well as children struggling with the same, Fredrickson's work and that of Richard J. Davidson, is at once an insight into the emerging field of neuroscience and a reminder to parents that quality of time that we spend with our children counts.