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Children's need for affection, more powerful than want

POSTED: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 5:39pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

WACO -- A smile, a pat on the back, a hug, all gestures that make a huge difference.

"A big part of being human is having new relationships, knowing how to make new relationships, and not only knowing how to give love but to receive love. And a lot of that understanding comes from the early experiences that we have," Providence Pediatrician Dr. Scott Huitink said.  

Affection can be many things.

"Anything from hugs, to pats on the back. Hey, great job, you know, I'm so proud of you."

These simple acts, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports could change your child's life for the better, or worse, because without it...

"[There's] difficulty with those particular kids making attachments in regards to relationship. More difficulty in even trusting people, so that early developmental time period, the importance of a nurturing, loving environment is really essential."

But the evidence of a non-nurturing environment may not be evident in children until they reach older ages, but what is visible..

"You can see when there is a nurturing environment because you see the joy and you can see the zeal that that child has."

So on this Valentine's day and everyday, Dr. Huitink says:

"Determine how your child best receives affection, and do it."

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