The still face experiment

Imagine growing up in an environment where you were neglected, abused or ignored. Unfortunately this is the experience of far too many people (including, I’m sure, some readers of this blog). As the videos I recently posted show, “serve and return” interactions are important in childhood brain development and trauma (or “toxic stress”) have a major impact on brain development.

Today’s video of the still face experiment demonstrates that babies are closely attuned to their social context and it helped me understand the importance of creating stimulating, loving, secure environments. What is  it like for children who have to grow up in neglectful or abusive environment? What would it be like to be continually surrounded by fear, violence, drugs or neglect?

I had a friend (who died when he was in his early 30s) who spent the first couple of years of life mostly in an orphanage cot with little human contact. I often wonder what impact this had on his life.

The long-term impact of childhood abuse and neglect is so great that we need to keep searching for better ways of supporting families who struggle to provide a positive, healthy environment for their children.

If you liked this post you might want to follow my blog (top right-hand corner of the blog), and you might like to look at:

  1. Childhood trauma and brain development
  2. Parenting for a better world
  3. A great 1 minute video of fathers and their kids
  4. What’s your parenting style?
  5. A resilience practice framework by the Benevolent Society
  6. Domestic and family violence – What about men?

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), environmentalist, Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace & sustainability.
This entry was posted in Families & parenting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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