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

nally being defiant, and could respond with harsh discipline, withdrawal of affection and repetition of that pattern over time," Paradis said. "That could hinder the child's potential for full growth and development."

The findings were to be presented Sunday at the Pediatric Academic Societies' meeting in Honolulu.

One solution, Paradis said, is for pediatricians to take a more active role in educating new parents. "By improving knowledge of child development among all parents, not just those who are at highest risk, there's an opportunity to enhance parent-child interaction," she said. "It can ultimately lead to better parenting."

Parents can also try to attend "well-child" checkups during the first couple years of life, Paradis said. "We know nationally that only about half of those visits are actually being kept. There's a lot of information relayed to parents during those visits," she noted.

Many pediatric practices "spend a fair amount of time going over issues referred to as 'anticipatory guidance' during a routine well-child checkup," explained Dr. Joseph Gigante, an assistant professor of general pediatrics at Vanderbilt University.

The pediatricians provide information on issues such as nutrition, sleeping habits, growth, development, behavior and safety. "In addition to reviewing these issues during a checkup, parents are often given handouts at the end of each well-child visit that describe what to expect between now and the next visit," he said.

As for future research, Gigante said it would be useful to follow the children of parents with less knowledge about child development "to see how these children do in school and to measure whether or not these children are more at risk for child abuse and neglect."

More information

Learn more about child development from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventio
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