The Importance of Parental Warmth

Parental warmth has a tremendous impact on children's development, well-being and even flourishing later in life. Parental warmth is often conveyed through affection, comfort, concern, nurturance, and support—making a child feel loved. A 2021 longitudinal study looked at whether parental warmth predicted the function of children's brain regions used for processing and regulating emotions, especially anxiety and depression. Researchers found that greater parental warmth predicted lower levels of anxiety and depression two years later when parents later criticized their adolescent and teenage children.

Another study looked even further than adolescence to see the effects of parental warmth. A longitudinal study from 2019 examined the association between the child’s flourishing in mid-life and parental warmth. Children who experienced parental warmth were more associated with increased emotional, psychological and social wellbeing, as well as flourishing during mid-life. They were less likely to experience depression and chemical dependency.

As a parent, one of the greatest things you can do for your child's future is treat them with warmth.