There’s a simple truth about having kids and being a parent, and, if you are a parent you already know this, is your life is most likely a contradiction. Kids are great; kids are terrible; kids are the best thing in your life; and kids are a never-ending drain on your energy, wallet, and emotional well-being. And, all of these feelings are felt simultaneously. This confusion will clear up when you understand the Healthy Parents Healthy For Healthy Children connection and what the experts are finding in their latest social and psychological research?
A new study, using data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index, finds that
No matter what the controls, children are always associated with both more positive and more negative emotions.
Gallup surveyed approximately 10,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older each month. More than 2.6 million surveys were conducted after it began in 2008.
You get more joy and happiness, but also more stress and worry. According to a Hedgehog Review survey parents agreed by a 6 to 1 margin, that parenting is seen as more difficult today than in the past. However, according to a most recent May 2019 Lehigh University study, most parents may be overreacting and doing more than what is actually necessary when responding to babies’ need for attachment to have a positive impact on a baby, the new research finds.
The study found that caregivers need only “get it right” 50 percent of the time when responding to babies’ need for attachment and still have a positive impact on a baby. These misperceived notions parents have is the subject of a book “Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids” Why Being A Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think by Brian Caplan. According to Caplan, the implication is…..
Parents can give themselves a guilt-free break. Children cost far less than most parents pay, because parents overcharge themselves. You can have an independent life and still be an admirable parent. Before you decide against another child, then, you owe it to yourself to reconsider. If your sacrifice is only a fraction of what you originally thought, the kid might be a good deal after all.
You can download Caplan’s book at EPDF “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think”. So, with the high and low emotional swings, and perceived, not actual needs, how could you as a parent, possibly think children could be good for your health and well being?
Well, ironically, as it turns out, according to research, such as from the CDC, and other findings, having kids around are very beneficial to your health and well being. According to a 2002 CDC “Fertility, Contraception, and Fatherhood” research, 94 percent of parents still say having children is worth it, despite the worry and costs.
Healthy Benefits Derived From Having Kids
You Become Unselfish. Being a parent is a twenty-four hour a day job, 7-days a week. You are at the beck and call of another person that you are responsible for. You being a parent requires that you put the needs of your child before your own. Yet it is when we are serving our children that we realize we love them the most.
Being needed by someone also gives you responsibility, purpose, and a feeling of self-worth, and builds your self esteem according to a Mayo Clinic “Self-Esteem Check: Too Low Or Just Right?”, which is great for your emotional well being. New research finds that parents who prioritize their children’s well-being over their own are not only happier, but also derive more meaning in life from their child-rearing responsibilities. Sage Journals Social Psychological and Personality Science study reported in their findings that,
…a growing body of evidence that personal well-being is associated with investing in others rather than oneself.
According to research another indirect benefit of parents being unselfish in caring for their children and who teach their children to be helpful and caring towards others are the most successful at imparting their values to their children. These results were published in a 2017 British Journal of Psychology study.
Improves Your Own Health. Parents are more likely to take care of themselves health wise, because they realize that they are responsible for the care of another individual.
Fatherhood comes with a lot of great health perks,
says Marcus Goldman, M.D., author of The Joy of Fatherhood: The First Twelve Months.
Not only does it inspire men to take better care of themselves physically, but it also fills them with a sense of purpose that genuinely enhances their psychological well-being.
As far as women goes, there’s nothing like motherhood to make you rethink unhealthy habits. It may start during pregnancy, when suddenly you realize, it’s not just your body that’s being affected anymore. And once your baby’s born, there’s a tiny, utterly dependent, person counting on you to stay healthy enough to raise him or her.
An example of this change is a 2011 National Institutes of Health (NIH) “Maternal Affect and Quality of Parenting Experiences Are Related to Amygdala Response to Infant Faces” study of amygdala response in new mothers, women reported feeling more positive about photos depicting their own smiling babies compared with photos of unfamiliar smiling babies, and their brain activity reflected that discrepancy. Scientists recorded bolder brain response in the amygdala, thalamus, and elsewhere, among mothers as they looked at photos of their own babies.
According to a BabyCenter Poll of more than 20,000 moms, slightly more than half say they’ve dropped unhealthy habits, or improved on them, and started paying more attention to their health since having a child.
Of those mothers, 83 percent say they eat more healthily or are at least trying to improve their diets, and 65 percent are exercising more, or intend to. Speaking of exercise, you might enjoy this article, “Best Foods With Energy” According to a 2017 Plataforma SINC study reviewed by Science Daily, researchers have clarified doubts over the physical activity recommended during pregnancy. Their work highlights how exercise should be taken not only by healthy, previously active women, but that it is also a good time to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
There are clear advantages for both the mother and baby. For women, having babies was found to decrease a woman’s odds of breast cancer. One of the greatest health benefits of having a baby is a well-documented reduction in the risk of several types of cancer.
Breast cancer is the one you hear about most, and for good reason because it is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women, killing more than 40,000 women in the US alone last year, according to the American Cancer Society research “Cancer Facts and Statistics”. Why does pregnancy reduce your risk for breast cancer? It’s a combination of factors, expert believe.
The first is that pregnancy changes breast cells, causing them to become fully mature and less susceptible to cancer-causing changes. Giving birth relatively early in life, that is before 35 years of age, is one of the best ways women can help protect yourself, as the physiological changes associated with pregnancy and breastfeeding are known to help ward off the disease, per a 2013 eLife study reviewed by the NIH. The study also cautioned that having a child after 35 years of age, the risk of breast cancer increased.
There’s another aspect of motherhood that can cut your cancer risk, and that is breastfeeding. Research like a 2002 British Medical Journal (BMJ) study reviewed by the NIH showed that nursing your child prevents certain precancerous types of cells from forming in your breast tissue.
You have to keep it up for a reasonable time, though, at least several months, experts say. Each year of breastfeeding over your lifetime cuts your breast cancer risk by 4 percent, according to findings cited in a 2010 issue of Journal of Perinatology.
Women who bear children cut their risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NIH) 2016 study “Reproductive Health and Cancer Risk”. And breastfeeding reduces these risks even more.
A recent children for health study conducted at Brigham Young University found that parenthood may actually help lower your blood pressure. Researchers at the school hooked up 200 married men and women to blood pressure monitors for 24 hours and found that couples with children had significantly lowered blood-pressure readings than those without offspring.
Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a BYU psychologist who studies relationships and health, found that parenthood is associated with lower blood pressure, particularly so among women. She reported her finding in the peer-reviewed 2010 journal “Annals Of Behavioral Medicine (Springer).”
While caring for children may include daily hassles, deriving a sense of meaning and purpose from life’s stress has been shown to be associated with better health outcomes,
However, this doesn’t mean the more kids you have, the better your blood pressure. The findings simply tied children and health, to parenthood, no matter the number of children or employment status.
Enhances Your Self-Esteem. For those of you that has experienced it, there is nothing quite like having your child look up at you and say, “Daddy, I want to be just like you when I grow up.” To be an integral part of your child’s life, you may have to give up a few things that once seemed important.
But once a couple makes that commitment to their new family, there are enormous rewards. You will see the positive effect you have on your kids, and that, in turn, affects how you feel about yourself and your success as a parent, and as a person, found a 2013 Sage Journal Psychological and Personality Science study. This is exactly what the connection “Healthy Parents For Healthy Children” means! You experience the positive effect you have on your children which translates into a positive effect on you as a parent.
Other studies found that parents were more “socially integrated“, meaning, they were surrounded by friends, family, and community, than non-parents, which not only raises self-esteem, but also other improvements in physical health and well being, too.
Quoting a 2011 Journal of Health Social Behavior reviewed by the NIH:
Having high self-esteem and confidence as a parent is fundamental in the health and development of children, according to a 2018 ANS Advanced Nursing Science reviewed by the NIH. An individual’s belief or confidence in their ability to be successful in the role of parenting is an essential component of the quality and sustainability of parenting behaviors. Married mothers, in particular, had lower rates of depression than their childless counterparts. Also, numerous studies show that women with children are much less likely to commit suicide, as per this 2018 PLOS|ONE study reviewed by the NIH. Quoting the NIH study:
In general, having children, and young children in particular, appears associated with lower rates of suicide.
When researchers directly compare the happiness of parents and non-parents, the results are somewhat mixed, depending on the qualities being measured, but in general moms rate higher in satisfaction and contentment, and lower in depression, than their childless peers. Single mothers report less happiness and more sadness, stress and fatigue in parenting than partnered mothers, which could help explain the mixed sentiments, according to 2017 Demography study reviewed by the NIH.
In a large-scale 2001 survey called “Parenthood Detrimental To Marriage? Not necessarily,” conducted jointly by the American Psychological Association and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, showed some interesting results.
Researcher Esther Roskies found that women with children rated the highest on a number of psychological measures, from self-esteem to personal and professional satisfaction. Single childless women fared the worst on the measures, while married women without children were in the middle.
Increasing Productivity. Mothers of at least two children are, on average, more productive than mothers of only one child, and mothers, in general, are more productive than childless women and what’s even better is that the same held true for the fathers in the study, found a 2014 Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis study. Even at home, parents must learn to multi-task, and the skill carries over to the office, studio, or job site, or any other responsibilities in life.
Post-pregnancy Increases Cognitive Function. According to the 2008 American Psychological Association (APA), “Priming For A New Role” study have suggested an intriguing picture that is good news for anyone embarking on the adventure of motherhood and having kids, notes University of Richmond neuroscientist Craig Kinsley, PhD, a main researcher in the area. The research found that once the women give birth, other brain mechanisms kick in that help them protect their young by bolstering their cognitive abilities, and these benefits may last into old age. It appears these changes are beneficial to the female, and for the majority of her life.
Children Are Great Teachers. My wife was a teacher by profession, and an excellent one I might add, and consequently, she took many child development, discipline, and education classes, but she always would say our children taught both of us more than any teacher ever could, and, because of our kids we both learned a very good lesson on how to actually apply discipline with patience and forgiveness.
Practicing patience and forgiveness, 2 admirable traits, don’t you think? Research like a 2015 Child Development study reviewed by the NIH found that disciplining takes patience and loud abusive and criticizing language has the exact opposite effect of what is desired, and can actually lead to more misbehavior and mental health problems. Anyone who has children can attest that their child’s favorite word is WHY?
Kids constantly want to know the answer to a variety of head-scratching questions like, “Why do dogs turn in a circle before they lie down?”, or, “Why does it smell so fresh after it rains?” and “Why do Mom and Dad always lock their bedroom door on Friday nights?” Now, that last question is uncomfortable and how do you answer it with a straight face?
My wife and I both learned the different stages of development first-hand. And, we both constantly had to learn new things, or in many cases, not so new things, but things we had learned from the past and forgotten, from the “million and a half” questions our children seem to always come up with when at the time , as a parent, you least expect it. And to be capable of giving educated answers to, like why the sky is blue, how a hurricane develops, or the names of every dinosaur, or at least the cool ones.
When we got questions from our children we both learned quickly to respond with something like “that’s a great question, let’s find out together”, and how to use “Google” and then searched for answers together, strengthening cognitive ability of both children and parents, found a 2007 NIH study Children’s Questions: A Mechanism for Cognitive Development”! That’s another part of teaching, by answering children’s questions, you are remembering or learning too as a parent.
Parental Life Enriched By Children. Children approach the world with such wonder. Everything is new to them and they absorb everything like a sponge.
Children allow you to experience some of that wonder you probably also experienced as a child too.
Though dads and moms may initially moan about the loss of freedom that parenthood brings, most ultimately find that being a parent gives them a richer and fuller life. Much more fulfilling than you can imagine. Raising kids forces parents to look beyond themselves, which is very good for their mental well-being,
Waite says, co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially.
In a 2010 BabyCenter study of 500 women supports the theory that kids enrich parents’ lives, 72 percent say they’re happier since having kids, and 70 percent feel more loved. Almost all, or 94 percent, say their lives are more meaningful, according to a CDC survey “Fertility, Contraception, and Fatherhood….”.
All in all, a pretty sweet return on those sacrifices, according to BabyCenter survey “What does my baby look like now?”. One 2011 Springer study published in Social Indicators Research found that working fathers who are parents are always happier whereas working mothers are not, though mothers’ happiness tends to increase with household income. So, these are mixed results but still promising.
Do Kid Things Again. Having children allows you to do childish things once again, which makes you happier. You don’t see many childless couples going to Disneyland or playing at the park. Because these are fun activities that parents and children do together.
You can watch your favorite cartoons, play games, and throw around a ball with your child, and laugh and have fun, and actually act as a kid again, and not feel out of place. According to research, published in the book “The Science of Parenting” (Internet Archives), playing with your kids is not only fun and good for your physical health by getting you off the couch, but also healthy for your brain and emotions.
Oxytocin, known as the “love hormone”, levels increase when mothers engage in affectionate play with their children and when fathers engage in stimulatory play with their children, found a 2017 Psychiatry and Neurosciences (Wiley) study. Think of oxytocin as a relaxing massage for your mind that you don’t have to pay extra for! Kids are funny and make you feel happy, well, at least most of the time, and the older you are, the happier you are. They are constantly doing things that are humorous and as parents we get to enjoy those moments, like this funny moments video. (1)
According to this Max Planck Gesellschaft Institute study “Having Children Later Makes Parents Happy”, the longer you wait in years to have children, the more you enjoy them and the happier children make you.
Children Equal Love. It is a proven fact that when you serve and take care of someone you grow to love them. Having children means that you experience more love in your life. It also adds people to your world that love you. Studies show, like a 2013 Arizona State University “Study: Expressing Love Can Improve Your Health” study, found that highly affectionate people who express love and receive love, didn’t have as strong of a stress response as their less affectionate peers.
For example, they didn’t produce as much cortisol, and their blood pressures didn’t spike as high. Being affectionate seems to offer protection against the effects of stress, also, and as mentioned above, with the brain’s release of the hormone oxytocin, often known as “the bonding or love hormone”, which is released during activities such as sex, childbirth and breastfeeding.
It is also released during nonsexual affectionate touch, too. Now, there will be times you will think your children don’t always love you, because there are times when they will say they hate you. But those moments are short-lived and greatly outweighed by a spontaneous hug and genuine “I love you.”
Children Keep You Sane. Contrary to popular belief, children don’t always drive their parents nuts. In fact, researchers at Taiwan’s Mental Health Foundation claim they may even keep their parents sane well beyond their years. The organization recently interviewed 1,084 randomly selected senior citizens in 2018 and found that seniors with no children scored 6.4 points lower on a mental health questionnaire than elderly subjects who had children.
says Tom Yang, the study’s lead researcher.
Children Increase Lifespan. A study has revealed that you’ll live longer than childless counterparts and is sort of the opposite of “Healthy Parents For Healthy Children”, isn’t it? This disputes the fact that most parents joke about the trials and tribulations of raising kids and shaving years off their lives.
The 2014 report from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that once you reach the age of 69, men and women both live longer, if they have at least one child, and even better yet, if there are grand children. Abe Lincoln favorite quota says it all,
Don’t believe me? Watch your children around your parents, and see the joy and youthful behavior of your parents around your kids!
There’s also evidence that women who wait to have children in their thirties, their chances of living a longer life increases. Several studies, and also reviewed and confirmed by a 2018 Menopause study reviewed by the NIH, examined older mothers’ life expectancy and found that women who had their last child after the age of 33 are more likely to live to 95.
In fact, the researchers reported that these women had twice the chance of living to 95 or older than those who had their last child before their 30th birthday. The news for women having babies after 40 is equally promising. A 2018 Pew research survey found that 86 percent of women ages 40 to 44 are mothers, compared with 80 percent in 2006, showing trend for women having children at an older age.
Research like a 2017 study “Advantageous developmental outcomes of advancing paternal age” published in the Journal of Translational Psychiatry has shown having kids at an older age not only benefits parents but the children as well, resulting in smarter kids with higher IQs.
A Harvard Medical School and Proceeding of the National Academy of Science study (PNAS) found children of older parents might enjoy longer lives themselves because aging sperm could transmit longer telomeres, or the very ends of chromosomes, that guard DNA and increase longevity in two generations of offspring, according to a 2015 Stanford Medicine.
Healthy Choices As Parental Role Models
It’s smart to shape your child’s tastes from an early age. You are beginning to understand children are important to your health as a parent, but it’s also important to understand that the health of your children is more important. Breastfeeding gives the baby flavors from what the mother is eating, and the first 2 years of life are the key time to delight and excite your little one with lots of healthy breastfeeding according to an NIH “Infant and Young Child Feeding” study.
The study confirmed optimal breastfeeding could prevent 13 percent of deaths occurring in children less than 5 years of age globally, while appropriate complementary feeding practices would result in an additional 6 percent reduction in under five mortality.
The NIH in an article “Helping Your Child: Tips For Parents and Caregivers”, suggested being a role-model and learn about specific actions you can take to help your child develop healthy eating habits. The way parents talk about food, cook meals and eat are the most important influence of developing healthy eating habits on a child, is one example.
Children watch and imitate adults and look to them to learn everything from saying please and thank-you, to fitness and nutrition behavior. According to the NIH study children can also pick up on their parents’ attitudes about food. As role models, parents need to make sure they’re demonstrating a healthy attitude and importance toward food so their children do, too.
Starting a small healthy, nutritious vegetable or herb garden involving your kids and the whole family, in your backyard is another way to encourage interest in kids learning how to grow and nurture, and care for, healthy varieties of edible plants and herbs that can be picked fresh right out of the garden and used to cook delicious nutritious meals for the whole family to enjoy.
This simple activity alone will instill in your kids an appreciation of nature they would not get from anywhere else, and the greastest benefit is that they will be eating the freshest, healthiest food around.
Research shows that family mealtimes have a big impact on how children eat as they grow into adulthood and start making food choices of their own. One 2011 Pediatrics study reviewed by the NIH showed that children and adolescents who eat meals with their parents is ideal and healthier, which consisted of nutrient-dense foods such as lean meats, wild-caught fish, whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, fermented foods, healthy drinks, and dairy products, than children who didn’t share meals with their parents.
Eating meals as a family is key to raising high-achieving, healthy and well-adjusted children. Family meals have been shown to improve academic achievement and self-esteem. Eating together also leads to more interest in nutrition.
Studies like this 2012 Time Nutrition study “Why Families Who Eat Together Are Healthier“, have found that teenagers tended to eat more “fun” foods with their friends, but looked forward to eating a more healthful evening meal with their families. Another 2018 Journal of Medical Ethics study reviewed by the NIH found that kids who ate with their families had healthier overall diets than those who did not.
As a result, these kids also tended to have a lower prevalence of being overweight, too. Quoting the NIH:
The implication of the research findings is that if we want children to learn to like and eat healthy foods such as vegetables, they need early, positive, and repeated experiences with those foods, as well as opportunities to observe others consuming those foods.
Cooking family meals with your children can also be fun, such as making fun smoothies, and educational, and spark a life-long interest in cooking. One study demonstrated that cooking together also helped kids know how to make a “balanced” meal.
Choosing a nutritious-rich, well-balanced diet consisting of the four major food groups, such as The Mediterranean Diet, with lots of extra virgin olive oil, for you and your children is of utmost importance. A child’s brain is growing fast during the first years and the healthy omega-3 fatty acids are vitally important for building brain cells and keeping them healthy, per a 2013 Nutrients study reviewed by the NIH.
Selection of Nutrient-dense Foods
Proteins (A). Proteins should be lean, certified organic, non GMO, rich in micro-nutrients, grass-fed finished beef or bison, free-range pork, lamb, and poultry, as in chicken, turkey, and duck, wild-caught or cold-water fish and seafood, organic cage-free eggs (free-range), and organic raw nuts (A), such as Brazil nuts and walnuts, and edible seeds (A), including flax and pumpkin seeds, and other edible flower seeds.
Carbohydrates (A). Carbs should be organic, non-GMO, high-fiber carbs and whole-grains, for cooking, baking, cereals, and in breads.
Normal packaged kids’ food is packed with refined ingredients including processed white flour, modified starches and other additives that are known to do harm and are associated with allergies, asthma, eczema, obesity. Over-processed grains raise your child’s blood sugar levels dramatically, giving them an energy surge, followed by a dip and the tired, grumpy, fidgety or hyperactive behavior that comes with it!
Low-Fat Diary (A). Dairy products should be grass-fed finished organic, non-GMO, low-fat milk, butter, and cheese.
Fruits and Vegetables (A). Fruits and veggies should be fresh, certified organic, non-GMO grown, especially those rich in omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, essential amino acids, and with anti-inflammatory properties, such as berries, coconuts, avocados, and dark-green leafy veggies.
Natural Fermented Foods (A). Babies are born with no beneficial bacteria in their gut and this flora needs to build up to develop good digestive ability and a strong immune system. Give your little ones a wide range of different fermented foods such as kraut, yogurt, and kefir, and ensure they don’t eat processed and sugary foods, to create beneficial bacterial flora.
Natural Herbs and Spices (A). Yes, they’re good for your kids because they’re healthy and high in antioxidants! Herbs and spices not only taste good also give beautiful aromas that are often our first determining factor for whether we want to eat a meal or not, and kids are no different.
Spices are products of tropical plants such as aromatic roots, bark, seeds, buds, and fruits, often used in dried form, whether whole or ground. Generally, herbs are used to add fragrance and flavor rather than to provide the dominant taste. Always use true sea salt because of the wide array of 93 healthy trace minerals it contains, per a 2017 Food and Nutrition Research reviewed by the NIH.
Healthy Drinks (A). Healthy antioxidant drinks for children is lots of filtered water, infused fruit drinks, green tea, prune juice, beet juice, pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, fruit and veggie smoothies, and in moderation espresso or coffee.
Dark Chocolate (A). And last but not least, a real healthy high in antioxidants candy treat not only for your kids, but for you, too (Not milk chocolate though)!
The Importance Of Supplementation
Along with the healthy choice of eating a proper nutritious-rich diet, here is the one area the Healthy Parents For Healthy Children connection has the greatest impact, and that’s supplementing you and your family’s diet with the natural Adaptogen Peruvian
Maca, for added health assurance. P Maca is completely safe and very helpful for children to eat as it boosts their calcium intake, but also studies have suggested it improves learning and memory.
This is why parents in Peru have traditionally given P Maca to their children, over it’s long incredible history dating back thousands of years, as outlined in this article, “What Is In Maca Root?” Because P Maca also balances hormones, it can have a positive effect on children’s mood and behavior, especially teenagers, too!
P Maca contains abundant amounts of all vitamins and minerals, particularly, significant amounts of absorbable calcium and magnesium, plus a little silica, which makes it useful in treating bone decalcifications in children.
Children who had trouble with attention and staying focused, were relieved considerably of these symptoms, in addition, they become more alert and calmer. Dr. Gloria Chacon in her study, has performed tests on Peruvian Maca and local children in Peru, and here is what she said,
Children who had trouble with attention and staying focused, were relieved considerably of these symptoms, in addition, they become more alert and calmer.
Go ahead and add ½ tsp of P Maca into your childrens’ breakfast bowls, with natural organic whole grain cereal.
Learn more about the incredible, wide-ranging, health and wellness benefits of Peruvian Maca, and you can also purchase it, in these reviews:
Well, what do you think? Does the Healthy Parents For Healthy Children connection make more sense now.? Should you two lovebirds decide to bring a bambino into the world, you might want to read this article, “Infertility Causes Treatments“, which give some great information on infertility and conception. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
(A) Use these links for more in depth information, more documented studies, and to purchase any of these incredible nutrient-dense foods that will bring you a life of optimal health and wellness, by boosting your spirituality.
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