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Parenting skills in infancy affect childhood development

Author Alex Bellamy
Submitted 26-06-2008

New research has found that the way parents interact with their babies in the first year of their life is linked to the children’s behavior later on.

A team from the University of Chicago looked at 1,800 children aged 4-13 years after measuring the baby’s temperament and the mom’s parenting skills while they were in infancy, Science Daily reports.

They looked at parenting skills such as how they stimulated their baby intellectually, how responsive they were to the child’s demands and the use of spanking. Meanwhile, the problems considered later on in childhood included cheating, telling lies, disobedience and bullying.

The results revealed that predictable, placid infants, as well as those who were intellectually stimulated by their parents early on, generally developed into children with less conduct problems.

Such results suggest that "interventions focusing on parenting during the first year of life would be beneficial in preventing future child conduct problems", the report’s authors wrote.

Earlier research has shown that if dads read with their children from a young age, particularly sons, then they will have better literacy skills as they grow older.