If you want to raise a child who is caring, organized, goal-oriented, and successful, you must provide a stable environment in which he can experience a childhood filled with both love and bonding experiences.

A well-bonded child is secure and does better at everything. If raised in a stable environment, your child will have less anxiety and a higher threshold of security. Therefore, your child will approach everything with a stronger sense of self… and a strong central core.  As a result, he will learn to depend on his own resources and capacities, which allows him to be independent and self-actualized.

A child who experiences instability at an early stage of development is under stress. Neuroscience tells us, that when a child is stressed from consistent poverty, abuse, divorce, or insecurity, he overproduces the stress hormone cortisol. Then, cortisol baths his brain, changing both brain architecture and impulse control.

Such stressors, in a child’s life, can lead to unintended consequences, including behavior problems, academic problems, social problems, problems with substance abuse and impulse control. Often a child, experiencing undue stress, will present regressive behavior and changes in eating, sleeping, school performance, relationships, and motivation.

Overproducing cortisol can have not only a neurological impact on your child’s brain, but also his body. Therefore, stress can be a central cause for both emotional and physical illness, impacting your child’s overall health, school attendance and school performance.

In fact, stress can be directly correlated to the onset of sickness, including anxiety-related sicknesses, such as stomach aches, headaches, regressive behavior, nail-biting, bed-wetting and hair-pulling, as well as frequent colds, viruses, and so on. Recent studies indicate that stress affects the immunities in the body by lowering antigen levels and lymphocytes. Furthermore, your child is more vulnerable to compromised immunities, as he lacks the coping skills to deal with stress and pressure.

How do you provide a stable environment for your child?

Bonding is the central component to a healthy child. Next, is a structured routine, which your child can count on, so that he knows what to expect. And be careful to give ample time and preparation when shifting activities, so that your child’s expectations are both anticipated and met. Most importantly, be consistent in both your discipline style and follow-through.

Finally, work together with your mate as a team. Never allow you or mate to be split emotionally by your child, but rather create a family identity; making your child feel that he belongs… that he is part of a family team, loved, valued, validated, and seen. This goes a long way to building self-esteem and a strong sense of self.

In the end, by using my empathic process you will create a safe space in which your child can express himself, without defense, while investing him in the consequences for his actions. My empathic process will not only help develop good communication skills, but also empathy for each member of your family. This is how you build a healthy individuated child who can cope with stress or pressure within his family of origin.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at EmpowHER.com since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Amazon.com. Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.