A symposium at the University of Notre Dame recently presented some interesting correlations between modern parenting behaviors and effects on brain and emotional development of their children.
When compared with previous studies, some current modern parenting trends seem to be having harmful effects. Have you considered rethinking any of these practices?
Overuse of formula.
While the benefits of breastfeeding are widely known, formula feeding has become an acceptable substitute for a variety of reasons. However, its overuse has been shown to have some negative effects developmentally.
While the cry of a fussy baby is hard to resist, many modern parents are being encouraged to let the child “cry it out.” According to this study, isolation in rooms or refusing to respond to a cry can negatively impact personality and moral development.
Lack of touch.
Positive touch, close and often, is reassuring to a baby. With so many types of bouncers, carriers, seats, and strollers available to modern parenting, it is easy to forget that hands-on parenting supports empathy and reduces stress.
Having more than one caregiver, such as a grandparent or day care worker, may impact IQ development, as well as encourage social resilience.
Limited free play.
While many toys have specific functions, children still need the opportunity to play imaginatively and in a non-structured way, in order to develop creative thinking skills.
You may find yourself second-guessing after reading this list, or wondering if it’s too late to change some of these modern parenting habits — it isn’t! According to Notre Dame professor of psychology, Darcia Narvaez, deficiencies can be easily made up in childhood by encouraging empathy, creativity, social skills, and much more as the child grows under your nurture. She adds, “So at any point, a parent can take up a creative activity with a child and they can grow together.”