“Ill-advised practices and beliefs have become commonplace in our culture, such as the use of infant formula, the isolation of infants in their own rooms or the belief that responding too quickly to a fussing baby will ‘spoil’ it,” reports Darcia Narvaez, professor of psychology at Notre Dame, in a recent study.

Parenting isn’t a new thing for mankind, but it’s often an entirely new world for first-time parents--especially those living in a modern landscape that is chock-full of people handing out lists of “do’s and don’ts.”

When we look at the current state of society with regard to children, it’s easy to see why these recent studies have a problem with the way parents are raising their children. For example, children are more obese and overweight than they ever have been in the past. They’re spending more time in front of the television than they do playing outside. And parents are separating from one another at incredibly high rates.

Now, some believe that these unhealthy practices are actually negatively affecting the mental and emotional health of the children being reared today.

How much do the little things we say influence children?

As many people say, children tend to absorb almost everything they see and hear. This means that every little thing we say and do is being scrutinized and internalized by our children. Things that we think nothing of will be taken to heart by little ones.

One area that is highly influential in children of a young age has to do with how gender is perceived and created in their world. Parents regularly say things like “act like a man” or “you need to be more lady-like.” These phrases might not seem like a big deal at the time, but for children, it can completely change how they view the world around them. Saying things like this basically tells them that the way they are feeling is invalid. It makes them question how they see themselves and how to act.

Similarly, parents may tell their kids to “grow up” or “stop acting like a baby,” believing that their constant need or desire for affection and love is somehow a weakness to be hammered out of them. But, research suggests that doing the opposite is actually best for the kids:

“Breast-feeding infants, responsiveness to crying, almost constant touch and having multiple adult caregivers are some of the nurturing ancestral parenting practices that are shown to positively impact the developing brain, which not only shapes personality, but also helps physical health and moral development,” continues Narvaez.

Parents are cutting corners for the sake of convenience

Have you ever noticed how often you see young children with electronic devices nowadays? It’s to keep them distracted and entertained instead of crying and throwing a fit.

There seems to be a dramatic shift away from direct touching and soothing. For example, children spend a large amount of their time in strollers, highchairs, and other similar devices, away from their parents. Breastfeeding is becoming less and less common due to the stigma of doing it in public. And parents tend to distract their children when they are upset instead of choosing to take the time to nurture them--something that has a direct effect on the development of their right and left brain.

This type of parenting leads kids to believe that their emotions are more of an annoyance than something to actually be dealt with; it teaches them that their emotions are somehow wrong and that they should just find ways to entertain or distract themselves.

Studies have found that responding to a baby’s emotional stressors helps them develop empathy skills and has even been tied to higher IQ levels.

Parents are being criticized by other parents

It’s also fairly common to see parents get chastised for having a lack of grit and dirt in their parenting. I’m sure you’ve overheard someone say that kids will grow up to be weak if you do not punish them physically or if you show them too much affection; by not yelling and exacting corporal punishment, your kids are somehow at a disadvantage.

All of these tend to lead to one thing: emotional neglect. Something we can see directly when comparing rates of youth suicide across countries--Western youth (ages 15 - 24) suicide rates are the third highest in the world.

But, professor Narvaez says that these effects can be reversed:

“The right brain, which governs much of our self-regulation, creativity and empathy, can grow throughout life. The right brain grows though full-body experience like rough-and-tumble play, dancing or freelance artistic creation. So at any point, a parent can take up a creative activity with a child and they can grow together.”

Essentially, the takeaway from all of this information is this: care for your child in a way that you would want to be cared for if you were still a child. Don’t be afraid to be ridiculed for your parenting style, and do your best to avoid reinforcing false societal constructs that will make your children feel inadequate.

Parents who are irresponsible, lazy and uninvolved in their child’s life will likely see symptoms of stunted brain development and emotional maturity.

h/t Spirit Science

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5 Traits Every Empathic Person Possesses

Empaths are often recognized as individuals who possess highly sensitive skills and traits. These people are capable of absorbing the energies, emotions and feelings of other people around them, which is often why they are viewed as being so sensitive. In fact, empaths are so sensitive that if they do not learn how to protect themselves, they can easily end up suffering from depression and exhaustion, which in turn leads to unhealthy habits such as binging on drugs or food.

While there is nothing “special” about being an empath, it definitely makes life easier knowing whether or not you are an empath.

Here are five traits that describe most empaths. How many can you relate to?

Empaths tend to be introverted

Because empaths are so sensitive to the multitudes of stimuli that surround them every day, they tend to be introverted rather than extroverted. Crowds and large groups of people can easily overwhelm and exhaust an empath, so they prefer to socialize in small gatherings or alone with one or two others.

Empaths need time alone to rejuvenate and recharge

Part of being so sensitive to the myriad of energies floating around in the world is that it takes its toll on an empath much quicker than it would on a normal person. Empaths seek out solitude quite often in order to recharge their energy levels and prevent any situations where their emotions might get the best of them.

They rely heavily on their intuition

While everyone has a sense of intuition, empaths tend to rely on theirs with much more conviction. It’s one of their sharpest skills and they choose to listen to it more often than not. If their gut is saying “no,” the brain follows suit, trusting that intuition will not steer them in the wrong direction. This helps them avoid toxic people and toxic situations.

Empaths like to give too much sometimes

When a person or creature is going through hardship, empaths have the strange ability to literally feel exactly what the other person is feeling. This is why they tend to give much more than they receive. Empaths want to help soothe and protect creatures that are suffering, meaning they’re more likely to help homeless folks, or help a friend with a broken heart, or help a lost child find its parents.

Empaths thrive when they are in a natural environment

The hustle and bustle of urban environments can leave an empath feeling drained and exhausted. On the other hand, being in nature provides energy, clarity, and nourishment. Being outside in the presence of the natural world revitalizes their senses and makes it easier for them to release negative energies.

h/t Psychology Today

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10 Years Is All the Time We Have to Save Earth, Scientists Say

Climate change has been at the forefront of politics in countries all over the world as we continue to see the devastating effects it is having on planet Earth, and now scientists claim we have just 10 years to save the planet before disaster strikes.

Fortunately, they’ve also developed a model they hope will be used to balance the increasing carbon dioxide emissions with carbon sinks (such as forests) in order to keep temperatures from rising over 1.5 degrees Celsius, something that many believe will have catastrophic consequences for life on our planet.

Even though President Donald Trump has showed disdain for climate change efforts and has even sought to increase dirty energy production in the United States, scientists believe that the next decade will be a crucial period of time for those who have pledged to the Paris agreement.

Detailed online in Nature Communications, their study focuses on two major ways that world powers can help reverse the effects of climate change: by reducing emissions and restoring carbon sinks.

World Bank consultant Brian Walsh led the study, which concludes that fossil fuel use must be reduced to less than 25 percent of the global energy supply by the year 2100. For perspective, it is currently sitting at 95 percent. Secondly, deforestation needs to be halted or slowed down so as to achieve a 42 percent decrease in emissions by the year 2100.

The study looks at a large number of factors, including emissions from fossil fuels, agriculture, food production, bioenergy, and land use, as well as where carbon emissions originate from, where they go, and how our natural ecosystems work to absorb them.

“Earlier work on mitigation strategies by IIASA has shown the importance of demand-side measures, including efficiency, conservation, and behavioral change. Success in these areas may explain the difference between reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius instead of 2 degrees Celsius,” said Keywan Riahi, Energy Program Director for the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and co-author of the study.

Renewable energies are also featured in the study, with one favorable scenario seeing a five percent increase in wind, solar, and bioenergy each year until emissions peak in 2022. This scenario, even though it features renewable energy, would still lead to a 2.5 degrees Celsius temperature increase should the world not also incorporate “negative emissions” technologies.

What do you think about these warnings from researchers and scientists? Do you think the world will be thrust into chaos in 10 years?

h/t Inhabitat

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3 Big Reasons Why Narcissists Can Cause Lasting Damage

When a person takes on a narcissist as their romantic partner things can get ugly, fast. Eventually, you start to realize just how toxic the relationship truly is and begin to realize that your relationship isn’t really a relationship anymore--it’s a war. A war between saving yourself and letting this person destroy your very identity.

Recovering from this type of relationship isn’t the same as recovering from a normal one. Typically when you break up with someone you go through a period of grief where your brain forces you to think only about all of the bad stuff in the relationship. This helps you to heal and understand why it was not meant to be so that you can move on. Eventually, this leads to being able to remember the happy times. You can accept that there was some good in the relationship, and you’re happy to have had those moments, but things are different now and it’s okay.

After being with a narcissist, this process never kicks in like it should. Because there ultimately were no good moments, and you’re not actually recovering from a relationship turned sour or stale, but rather from a battle that you’ve been waging.

Here are three big reasons why relationships with narcissists can leave you feeling like you’ll never recover.

It’s easy to feel foolish and short-sighted

After it becomes obvious that the person you thought loved you is actually a sociopathic narcissist who was only interested in controlling every detail of your life, it can be difficult to not be hard on yourself for letting such a toxic person take hold of you. After all, it was your fault that you didn’t recognize this person as terrible in the first place, right?

It’s incredibly hard to recover when you feel as though your intuition and judgment are flawed.

Looking back, you start to realize that things weren’t as good as you thought they were

Oftentimes it is only when we are out of a relationship that we start to recognize just how toxic it actually was. With a narcissist, it’s the realization that the entire relationship was centered around just one person’s needs, desires and emotions. This is when you start to notice all of the little red flags that you missed the first time around.

This is hard to recover from because, again, you begin to question your own judgment and ability to correctly perceive reality--especially if your partner liked to gaslight you. It’s hard to heal when thinking about every little thing you did that played into their manipulative hands.

You suffer from feeling powerless

Because the narcissist’s whole goal of the relationship is to assert dominance and control, they often choose people they feel they can demean and belittle. After having your spirit broken, it becomes incredibly hard to function normally in other areas of life. How could you, after being forced to live in a constant state of defense and protection? Being proactive with a positive mindset is difficult after living in such a way. So, you might be doing life stuff, like paying bills and going to work, but you’re not actually healing.

h/t Psychology

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5 Ways to Tell If You're In Love or Just Attached to Someone

Have you ever met someone who seemed to be in a different relationship every other week? Or maybe it wasn’t so much that they had a new partner often, but that they never really took the time to be single? As someone who used to be this way in the past, I can tell you that it’s difficult to distinguish between actually being in love and having an unhealthy habit of simply getting attached to someone.

People get into relationships for a multitude of different reasons and sometimes these reasons are shallow and fleeting. So, if you’re just starting out in a relationship or are thinking about pursuing one, it’s always good to know the differences between someone you’re truly falling for and someone you’re with for other reasons.

Here are five differences between love and attachment.

Selfless vs. self-absorbed

When you truly love someone else, you start to put their best interests before your own. Your actions, behaviors and words all start to reflect the affection, passion and devotion you have for him or her.

When you’re attached to someone, the other person’s presence is necessary simply to fulfill your needs and desires. You’re not worried so much about their well-being, only your own.

Love is timeless, attachment has an expiration

True love never wonders about time and whether or not things will come to an end. It may cross your mind as a simple curiosity, but your love for the other person never allows this curiosity become a reality. When you’ve come to love someone, that love is almost always something that lasts forever.

Attachment has an expiration date from the start. It’s not a real connection, but rather a dependency for one person or both. Trying to grow through attachment is a disaster waiting to happen.

Passion vs. apathy

A relationship full of love is one that is full of passion and chemistry. You can’t really describe the feeling that’s inside of you, because that feeling is so intense and powerful that it’s hard to put into words. Yet, it’s always there, driving you, motivating you to be the best partner you can be.

Attachment is chock-full of apathy. You don’t really ever feel too strongly towards your partner, and you might have moments where emotions run high and things feel good, but it will never compare to the fiery dynamics of love.

Me vs. Us

Being truly in love with your partner means that the two of you have started planning your lives together. You have a new perspective on the world, one that is concerned with the best path for both of you. You are both respectful to each other’s life goals and wishes, and listen to and support one another concerning ambitions and dreams. You compromise to find the best plan of action for the couple.

Attachment is more of a power dynamic. One person has one plan in mind and the other person has another plan in mind, and each person is fighting to control the direction of the relationship. The paths are not converging, they’re separating.

Freedom vs. possession

True love means not needing to be attached to your partner at the hip at all times. True love creates freedom because worry and concern about who they’re with or what they’re doing when you’re not around is replaced with trust, loyalty and a strong bond. You both trust one another to do right by the other, even when they’re not around.

When you’re attached to someone, you’re never 100 percent okay without them around. You hate being apart from one another, not because of love, but because you’re worried about what they might do. If the only time you feel at ease or fully okay is when you’re with your partner, it’s an unhealthy attachment.

h/t Unified Soul Theory

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