When a partnership fails, the possibility that the family will become poverty-stricken greatly increases. Not only that, research shows that people in failing relationships are less productive at work, and more likely to fall into substance abuse. Children from fragmented homes do not perform as well in school as their peers from stable two-parent homes. And both children and adults with a poor-quality family life experience more emotional distress, anxiety and depression.
Overall brain health is about more than what kids eat. When they sleep, their activity level and how secure they feel are also key contributors to their overall well-being and brain health, experts say. So parents need to help their kids find the right balance of food, activity and sleep—and make sure kids feel secure—so those developing brains function better.
In the short term, having a parent who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can make a child lose his sense of self. He may be embarrassed to bring friends home. Long term, children with parents who suffer from addiction have an increased incidence of academic problems, mental illness, criminal behavior and early use — and abuse — of the same substances that bind and restrict their parents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are over 300 children, nearly half under the age of 6, treated in emergency rooms each day as a result of poisoning injuries, typically from ingestion.
Most brain development in children happens before the age of 3. So parents are encouraged to actively engage in their child’s initial touching, talking, reading and playing experiences, which leads to successful parent-guided parent-child collaborations in the future. That’s right: The molding of good decision makers starts at infancy and grows from there.