Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Good Parenting Helps Difficult Infants Perform As Well Or Better In First Grade Than Peers

Date:
February 7, 2008
Source:
Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
First graders who exhibited difficult behaviors as infants, such as frequent crying or trouble adapting to new situations, but who had excellent parenting from their mothers, had as good or better grades, social skills, and relationships compared to peers who were not difficult as infants and who also had excellent parenting. The research was conducted among 1,364 families in 10 geographic areas in the US as part of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care.

Some infants are called difficult, challenging parents because they cry frequently, are very active, and may not adapt well to new situations or people. Other infants are described as easy, full of smiles, adaptable, and not very active. Conventional wisdom suggests that easy babies will do better in first grade than difficult ones. The results of a new study tell us otherwise, with the key being the type of parenting the children receive.

The study, which followed infants from birth to first grade, found that first graders who were difficult as infants and whose mothers provided excellent parenting had as good or better grades, social skills, and relationships with teachers and peers as first graders who were less difficult as infants and had excellent parenting from their mothers.

"The key to first-grade adjustment for both difficult and easy infants was good parenting," said Anne Dopkins Stright, associate professor of human development at Indiana University and the study's lead author.

The study was conducted by researchers at Indiana University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The researchers followed children taking part in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care from birth to first grade. The 1,364 families came from 10 geographic areas in the United States and included ethnic minorities (24 percent) and single mothers (14 percent).

When the children were six months old, their mothers filled out a questionnaire on their babies' temperament. Children who did not respond well to new situations and people, were very active, had intense emotions, cried a lot, and did not adapt well were classified as having difficult temperaments. The researchers observed mothers' parenting (specifically, mothers' warmth and age-appropriate control) six times from infancy to first grade.

When the children reached first grade, their teachers filled out questionnaires on the children's adjustment to school, including their academic competence; social skills such as cooperation, assertion, and self control; and relationships with teachers and peers.

The results of the study support the notion that infants may vary in the degree to which their nervous systems are sensitive to input from their surrounding environment, with more sensitive infants more likely to have difficulties, according to the researchers. Because of their more sensitive nervous systems, infants who have more difficult temperaments may be more likely to be irritable and cry more frequently. But these infants also may be more positively affected by excellent parenting and more harmed by poor parenting. And for this reason, the quality of the parenting they receive may mean more for these children's development than for other children.

"This study may have important implications for early intervention, in that early identification of difficult temperament during infancy may help to more effectively plan and implement interventions," according to Stright. "For example, physicians can identify parents who perceive their children as temperamentally difficult in infancy and refer these parents for supportive services.

"The findings also provide support for parents of difficult infants. These infants may exhaust and frustrate their parents, but with high-quality parenting, these infants may become the most academically competent and socially skilled students in the first grade, compared to infants who are easier to parent."

Journal reference: Child Development, Vol. 79, Issue 1, Infant Temperament Moderates Relations Between Maternal Parenting in Early Childhood and Children's Adjustment in First Grade by Stright, AD (Indiana University), Gallagher, KC (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), and Kelley, K (Indiana University).

Data collection for the study was funded by NICHD.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Research in Child Development. "Good Parenting Helps Difficult Infants Perform As Well Or Better In First Grade Than Peers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207085631.htm>.
Society for Research in Child Development. (2008, February 7). Good Parenting Helps Difficult Infants Perform As Well Or Better In First Grade Than Peers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207085631.htm
Society for Research in Child Development. "Good Parenting Helps Difficult Infants Perform As Well Or Better In First Grade Than Peers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080207085631.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins