Your child's brain development and early life experiences
Research carried out by the Centre on the developing child at Harvard University shows that early experiences influence your child’s brain development, even before your child is born.
The period from conception to the first three years of a child’s life is when the brain undergoes its most rapid phase of development.
Research shows that there are various risk factors that can have a negative impact on brain development (and therefore brain power), on a physical and mental health, and behaviour.
Whilst your child is still a foetus, maternal stress and anxiety, alcohol and drug use and domestic abuse have all been shown to negatively impact on your baby’s development.
The impact of these risk factors on your child increase following birth. This is because a child living in an environment of stress and anxiety, alcohol and drug use or domestic abuse is put under chronic stress. This stress over time becomes toxic as stress hormones such as cortisol reach excessive levels and disrupt the brain development of your child.
If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, not only is this damaging for you both physically and emotionally, but this research indicates that it is also physically and emotionally damaging for your child, even before your child is born.
Beth Kirkland commented that the research is very interesting and emphasises the damage that can be done to children by domestic violence even before they are born! If you find yourself in such a situation, it is critical that you seek expert legal help both legal and practical.