TAMPA (FOX 13) - Our mothers influence our lives from the day we're born.
She says keeping those bonds strong begins with understanding a baby's needs.
"A connection between a mother and a child is really important. Obviously, it can be the foundation of a person's self-worth," explains Psychologist Dr. Ashley Vigil-Otero. "At the early infancy stage, responding to [babies'] basic needs is really significant."
Vigil-Otero also says skin to skin contact at this stage is important.
Toddlers through age seven like using their imaginations.
"At that stage of development, a child is really engrossed in pretend play. So when your child asks and really initiates, 'Will you play with me?' Know that that's a really great way to connect with them and really understand their inner world," Vigil-Otero says.
As they become pre-teens, between eight and 12, you may notice more independence.
"It's really important that we are available to listen. Discussion and sharing that communication becomes more prominent and that's the best way to stay connected to your child," the doctor explained.
And then there are the teen years, thirteen to eighteen. "At this stage what's really important is to think of yourself as a consultant, your child's ally. So you’re really going to want to respect their opinion, and listen, and really be there for them without trying to be overly demanding and tell them what they should do."
Dr. Vigil-Otero says the seeds of mother's love can build lifelong roots extending well beyond youth.
For more information on Dr. Ashley Vigil-Otero go to http://www.vigil-otero.com/