Modern-day parenting practices are preventing the healthy, emotional development in children, says Darcia Narvaez, a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, according to a public release by EurekAlert on Jan. 7.
"Ill-advised practices and beliefs have become commonplace in our culture, such as the use of infant formula, the isolation of infants in their own rooms or the belief that responding too quickly to a fussing baby will 'spoil' it," Narvaez says.
Narvaez believes the social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life have changed in the last 50 years, and not for the better.
The modern parenting practice of ignoring babies in their rooms so they can 'cry it out' may be a huge factor in the rise of negative behaviors in children. Some parents believe this practice will not harm their children, but Narvaez appears to strongly disagree.
Modern parenting may be confusing
A previous study published on Sept. 10 by Pediatrics insinuated it was acceptable that parents intermittently allowed an infant to ‘cry it out’ before sleep. The researchers found it may not have lasting effects on the emotional and mental health development of the child. The researchers’ longitudinal study ended when the children reached five years of age.
The findings did not state the parents ignored their crying infants to the point of exhausted slumber, nor did it state the parents were overly attentive. The gist of the study was a comparison of the different techniques used to soothe a sleepless, crying infant and not an omission of care. Parents may erroneously understand the findings as ignoring a crying baby as scientifically acceptable.
Responsiveness to crying (responding to a baby's needs) and frequent touching positively influences the developing brain of a infant. It shapes the personality, helps with the development of impulse control, encourages empathy and reduces stress.
Unfortunately, Narvaez may be right; modern parenting could be contributing to the noticeable rise in anxiety, aggression and depression in children.
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