Can extra nurturing during infancy make your child kinder and smarter?
Over the last several decades, more and more research has suggested that experiences in early life — even prenatal life — can have a disproportionate influence on the development of personality and physical and mental health.
Now another group of studies, led by Notre Dame psychology professor Darcia Narvaez, confirms earlier work suggesting that children who get more positive touch and affection during infancy turn out to be kinder, more intelligent and to care more about others. (More on Time.com: Why the TV Is Risky for Kids: It’s Not Just the Programming)
Narvaez, who will present her findings at a conference in early October, conducted three separate studies. The first compared parenting practices in the U.S. and China. Another followed a large sample of children of teen mothers who were involved in a child abuse–prevention project, and compared outcomes of various types of early parenting practices. The third examined how parents of 3-year-olds behaved toward their children.
All three studies suggested the same thing: children who are shown more affection early in life reap big benefits. Researchers found that kids who were held more by their parents, whose cries received quick responses in infancy and who were disciplined without corporal punishment were more empathic — that is, they were better able to understand the minds of others — later in life.
|Lea Harris founded Natural Family Awareness in 2006. A mom passionate about her family's health and well-being, she believes education is power. Lea's goal is to to inform other moms on what it means to raise the next generation traditionally, providing natural alternative information that promotes our children's health and wellness by using traditional methods and nature's medicine. |
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