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Nearly one-third of US parents don't know what to expect of infants
Date:5/3/2008

Almost one-third of U.S. parents have a surprisingly low-level knowledge of typical infant development and unrealistic expectations for their childs physical, social and emotional growth, according research from the University of Rochester. The new findings, which suggest that such false parenting assumptions can not only impair parent-child interactions, but also rob kids of much-needed cognitive stimulation, will be presented Sunday, May 4, at the Pediatric Academic Society meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.

There are numerous parenting books telling people what to expect when theyre pregnant, said Heather Paradis, M.D., a pediatric fellow at the University of Rochester Medical Center. But once a baby is born, an astonishing number of parents are not only unsure of what to anticipate as their child develops, but are also uncertain of when, how or how much they are to help their babies reach various milestones, such as talking, grabbing, discerning right from wrong, or even potty-training.

Moms and dads often misinterpret behaviors some parents expect too much of babies too soon and grow frustrated; others underestimate their childs abilities, preventing them from learning on their own.

Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Studys Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), Paradis and her colleagues analyzed the average parenting knowledge of a nationally-representative sample of parents of more than 10,000 9-month-old babies. These parents first answered an 11-point survey designed to distinguish informed parents from less-informed parents (asking questions such as Should a 1-year-old child be able to tell between right from wrong" and Should a 1-year-old child be ready to begin toilet-training"). Those who scored 4 or fewer correct answers were considered to have low-level knowledge of typical infant development.

Paradis and colleagues then compared these knowledge scores to both scores from (1) a 73-point videotape analysis of the
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Contact: Becky Jones
rebecca_jones@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-8490
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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