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One-Third of Parents Lack Facts About Child Development
Date:5/4/2008

Pediatricians could help bridge this knowledge gap, experts say

SUNDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- One-third of parents of babies have a surprisingly low knowledge of child development, including basic concepts about what their children should know or how they should act, a new study finds.

For instance, the study found that many parents don't know that 1-year-olds can't tell the difference between right and wrong, and often don't cooperate or share when playing with other children.

The results are surprising because the parents who took part in the survey had young children, said lead author Dr. Heather Paradis, a pediatric fellow at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in New York. "They were watching or had just watched their kids go through this development, and they were probably the most knowledgeable of anybody."

Paradis and her colleagues examined the results of a survey of parents -- 98.6 percent of whom were mothers -- of more than 10,000 9-month-old babies. As part of the survey, the parents were asked 11 questions designed to test their knowledge of a baby's development.

The researchers also examined what the parents said about their interactions with their children, and watched videotapes of how the parents taught new things to their kids.

One-third of those surveyed incorrectly answered four or more of the questions. Even when the researchers adjusted the statistics to account for such factors as education levels and income, those parents were still less likely to enjoy "healthy interactions" with their children.

A lack of proper understanding of a child's development can cause assorted problems, Paradis said. For example, she said, a mother might expect an 18-month-old child to sit still for a doctor's appointment, even though children that age are normally curious and like to wander around.

"A mom could misinterpret a child's normal curiosity as intentio
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