I think this research shows the reality of growing up in dysfunctional homes.
The researchers compared two groups: children who were raised by their biological parents and children who were raised in an institution such as an orphanage. They performed functional magnetic resonance imaging on the children and looked at differences in amygdala activity when exposed to a picture of their natural or adoptive parent and a complete stranger.
Children who were raised by their biological parents had higher amygdala activity when they saw a picture of their parent when compared to the picture of a stranger.
In contrast, the children who were institutionally raised had equal amygdala activity when shown a picture of their adoptive parent and a stranger. They also exhibited overall greater amygdala activity to strangers than children who were raised by their biological parents.
This effect was stronger in children who spent the most time in an orphanage.
I’ve written many times about which children are more likely to fall victim to pedophiles. I’ve always instinctively known that kids without the stability of their parental relationships will be more susceptible to the wiles of other adults or older children. They simply long to be loved and cared for and are left vulnerable because they aren’t getting that at home. Then that behavior gets carried into adulthood. Now, we appear to be on the way to showing this biologically.
Remember, the best way to prevent your kids from being vulnerable is simply raising them in a safe, stable environment where they know they are loved.