A new group of studies from Notre Dame have found that children who received more positive touch and affection during infancy turn out to be smarter and kinder than their counterparts who received less.
“…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.”
“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.”
I am heartened by this news! I am a huge advocate of always responding to a baby’s cry! It makes me nuts when friends would say they let their baby cry or didn’t go and pick up the baby because they didn’t want to spoil him or her! (I have a problem with Time magazine’s use of spoiled in their headline. I don’t think that is spoiling – that’s taking care of your baby!)
He’s a baby. He is telling you he needs something the only way he knows how – by crying! If he stops crying, it’s not that he has learned to put himself to sleep or is comforting himself. It’s that he’s learned you’re not coming to help him!
My motherhood guru, Julie Duncan, who is the head of perinatal education at Piedmont Hospital, tells all the mommies she is teaching that you should ALWAYS answer your baby’s cry. You should always pick them up if they are crying. You CANNOT spoil a little baby.
Now as they get older you have to evaluate if you 2-year-old is working you over, but don’t hesitate to pick up you 4-month old!
It only makes sense to me that if you are responding immediately to your baby’s needs. If you are showing them empathy then they in turn will learn that – even at that young age!
What do you think of this study: Does it make sense to you that babies who receive immediate care for the cries and more loving touches and attention are smarter and kinder than their counterparts?
How do you feel about letting babies cry? At what age to you begin to worry about ‘spoiling’ a baby? Do you think they learn to self-soothe when they are young or are they just giving up hope?