Flowers are a fitting metaphor for how different children respond to the environments they’re raised in, according to new research from the University of Arizona. “Dandelion children” can adapt to a variety of environments and do quite well, but “orchid children” are far more sensitive to context, withering in poor environments and blooming in robust ones. This “biological sensitivity to context” has to do with how kids naturally relate to environmental stress, and it influences both their psychological and physical well-being. Orchid children in positive homes do exceptionally well, often outshining their peers, but these same children in rougher surroundings are more prone to depression, substance abuse, and crime. Sadly, this latter group is in greater need of counseling and therapeutic support, but less likely to have access to it.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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