Don’t want your kids to grow up too fast? Science says this parenting style is the way to go

You'll be amazed at the power of positivity on age acceleration in children

Positive and happy father carrying his daughter on his shoulders
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The myriad of parenting styles on offer these days is empowering, sure, but it’s also confusing to know which one is right for you and your child. If that strikes a chord, this new research might just help you cut through some of the noise. 

Gentle parenting gets banded around a lot when it comes to raising little humans, and while there’s a common misconception that it’s a free pass to let kids do what they want, new research suggests that an approach to this parenting style (a positive and peaceful one), could have more power than you think. 

The study in question, funded by the National Institutes of Health, has found that good parenting might actually slow down how fast kids' bodies age when they face tough times. 

The study, led by Alexandra D.W. Sullivan and her team at the University of Vermont, showed that praising, encouraging and noticing kids' good behaviour can help protect their physical and mental health in the long run, even when they're dealing with things like poverty or family problems.

Mother positively praising her daughter while they play

Mother positively praising her daughter while they play

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Growing up in tough situations, like being poor or dealing with family issues, can make kids' bodies age faster than usual. But this study suggests that positive parenting can help put the brakes on that. Basically, when parents are supportive and avoid being too harsh, it can make a big difference in how fast their kids' bodies age.

The study looked at 62 kids who were part of a program to help with behaviour issues. Half of the families got tips on positive parenting, like being supportive and avoiding yelling, while the other half got referrals to community services. Turns out, the kids whose parents were more positive had slower ageing in their cells, even when they were dealing with tough situations.

So, what's the bottom line? Being a positive parent can really make a difference in how your kids grow up, especially when times are tough. The researchers are now hoping to do a bigger study to see just how much of an impact positive parenting can have on kids' health as they grow up.

In other parenting news, here are 5 easy ways to let children take risks (without your anxiety going through the roof) and 5 tips on how to teach kids emotional intelligence.

Daniella Gray
Family News & Wellbeing Writer

From building healthy family relationships to self-care tips for mums and parenting trends - Daniella also covers postnatal workouts and exercises for kids. After gaining a Print Journalism BA Hons degree and NCTJ Diploma in Journalism at Nottingham Trent University, Daniella started writing for Health & Wellbeing and co-hosted the Walk to Wellbeing podcast. She has also written for Stylist, Natural Health, The Sun UK and Fit & Well. In her free time, Daniella loves to travel, try out new fitness classes and cook for family and friends.