Exclusive Breastfeeding Leads To Better Emotional Development

Filed under: Emotional Development - 12 Jun 2013  | Spread the word !

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Researchers have recently found that exclusive breastfeeding can lead to better emotional development. Actually, what specialists found now is that breastfeeding may have an important role when it comes to the language, cognitive and emotional development of babies.

According to the results of this study, babies who have been breastfed until the age of 2, for at least three months, have better emotional development. This includes key parts of the brain, too. Children who were fed via other sources, except for breastfeeding, have a harder language, cognitive and emotional development. This includes both babies who were fed exclusively via fed formula or fed formula combined with breastmilk.


The same research indicated that the extra growth was much visible in the areas of the brain that can be associated with language and emotional function.

“We’re finding the difference [in white matter growth] is on the order of 20 to 30 percent, comparing the breastfed and the non-breastfed kids.” I think it’s astounding that you could have that much difference so early,” a researcher claimed according to patheos.com.

“We wanted to see how early these changes in brain development actually occur.” “We show that they’re there almost right off the bat.”


How did specialists reach these results?

It seems that for researchers to achieve these, babies were split into three different groups. They compared older kids with the younger ones, with the main purpose to determine certain growth paths. This is how researchers found that babies who were exclusively breastfed have the fastest growth. Naturally, children who were fed with both breastmilk and formula had experienced more growth than children who were exclusively formula-fed.

The results of this study can be quite important for new moms when it comes to their decision to breastfeed.

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Abused Women Avoid Emotional Connection With Their Children

Filed under: Emotional Development - 15 May 2013  | Spread the word !

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A new study has recently revealed that women who underwent traumatic experiences in their early lives are less likely to emotionally connect with their children. This means that moms who have been abused in their childhoods don’t talk with their kids about their own emotions. The study was performed by researchers from the University of Notre Dame.


So, the new study shows that moms who had been traumatized have a hard time talking to their children about emotional issues. According to specialists this means that they are suffering from traumatic avoidance symptoms, which makes them reluctant when it comes to talking about emotions. The avoidance to speak on such a subject comes from the fact that women will tend to link those emotions with the traumatic event they suffered. Abuse in childhood leads to problems dealing with emotions throughout the entire life.

“Traumatic avoidance symptoms have been shown to have a negative impact on the cognitive and emotional development of children,” one of the researchers claimed according to Nature World News. So, being abused has lifelong consequences on all women. In the most severe cases it can actually lead to the development of serious conditions such as cancers, heart disease, as well as diabetes. Stress plays a key role in this development.


However, this new study does not only show that there can be established a link between abuse in childhood and the incapacity to emotionally connect as an adult with your own children. The research has also shown that parents can be taught how to bond with their children.

“This research is important because it identifies a mechanism through which we can understand how maternal trauma history relates to her ability to effectively interact with her child. This finding also has implications for intervention work, since avoidance that is used as a coping mechanism is likely to further impair psychological functioning,” the same researcher explained.

This new study was presented at the Society for Research in Child Development 2013 Biennial Meeting in Seattle.

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Storytelling Helps Emotional Development

Filed under: Emotional Development - 25 Apr 2013  | Spread the word !

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A new study released in March indicates that storytelling can have an important role in the normal emotional development of a child. The study indicates that when moms tell more elaborated and emotional stories to their kids, they actually help their young ones develop emotional skills. Researchers also found that there may be some differences between the story telling style of mothers and fathers and their connections with their pre-school daughters and sons.


Widaad Zaman, from the University of Central Florida, and Robyn Fivush, from Emory University, are the specialists conducting this new study. The two tried to compare the different storytelling styles of moms and dads and their effects on children. What researchers wanted to find out was how each parent elaborated his story and how much children showed an interest in what they were being told.

Researchers established a focus group formed by 42 families who agreed to take part at this study. Participating children in the study were between 4 and 5 years old. For the researchers to reach the expected results, parents were asked to talk about 4 past emotional experiences of their children, as well as two past interaction the child had with his parent. The 4 emotional experiences had to be different. They included a happy, a sad event, a conflict with a peer, as well as a conflict with a parent. Each parent had to complete the same tasks, talking to his child, but on separate visits.


After conducting the study, researchers found that mothers elaborated more when talking about past events with their children, naturally compared to fathers. So, mothers commonly included more emotions and emotional terms in their stories, explaining to their children what everything meant. Communicating to the child seemed more natural, mothers tending to explain to their kids the importance of feelings in that experience.

This is how researchers reached to the conclusion that mothers can better help their children work and talk about their experiences, compared to fathers. Regardless of the type of experience we may be referring to, mother have the ability to help children deal with their emotions, overcome negative experiences, as well as understand positive emotions.


Naturally, this is not the first research trying to determine the effects that storytelling, as well as reminiscing and interacting with children can have. However, this is the first study which indicates that there is a difference in the extent to which patents elaborated a story. Well, the results of this new study are quite important having under consideration the fact that mothers are well known to pay a crucial role in the normal development of their children.

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The Emotional Development During The First Year Of Life

Filed under: Emotional Development - 19 Feb 2013  | Spread the word !

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The emotional development of your baby will develop by leaps and bounds during his first year of life. Step by step, a baby will go from observation to active participation. Here are the things that will take place while your child is growing:

Month 1:

  • makes eye contact
  • responds to parents’ voice and smiles and cries for help


Month 2:

  • develops a social smile
  • studies faces
  • likes playing with other people and may cry when this stops
  • coos in response to sounds nearby
  • the first time when express anger

Month 3:

  • smiles at people and gurgles to get attention and to start a so-called “discussion”
  • imitates some movements and facial expressions
  • smiles back when parents or other people smile at him, but his smile involves the entire body


Month 4:

  • cries if play is disrupted
  • is amazed by children
  • laughs when is tickled and when he interacts with others

Month 5:

  • is assertive
  • can make the difference between family members and strangers
  • likes to play during meals

Month 6:

  • tire a toy fast, but will not tire your attention
  • temperament becomes apparent, becoming easy upset, active or gentle
  • recognizes his own name
  • is able to make noises such as squeals
  • cries and coos for pleasure


Month 7:

  • starts to know what “no” means
  • enjoys social interaction
  • tries to mimic adults
  • anger is expressed more and more strongly

Month 8:

  • can make the difference between unfamiliar and familira things
  • may be anxious or shy with strangers
  • can cry in frustration when he can’t reach a toy or doesn’t do anything he wants to

Month 9:

  • imitates the gestures of adults
  • smiles and kisses his own image in the mirror
  • likes to play near parents
  • may be shy or more sensitive in the presence of other children
  • looks at teh right picture when an image is named


Month 10:

  • anxiety caused by separation may start
  • self-esteem begins to develop
  • cautious of heights
  • responds to clapping or other type of positive recognition
  • shows moods such as happy, sad or angry

Month 11:

  • can be more uncooperative
  • tries to gain approval and avoid disapproval

Month 12:

  • shows a developing sense of humour
  • may have temper tantrums
  • clings to parents or one of them specially
  • fluctuations between being uncooperative and cooperative

Knowing in advance all these things, it’s very useful for parents as they know how to behave, calm and encourage their child. Taking the right measures at the right time, will help their baby develop emotionally the right way.

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Emotional Development And The Architecture Of The Brain

Filed under: Emotional Development - 15 Jan 2013  | Spread the word !

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Recent studies tell us that emotional development begins early in life and is critical of the development of overall brain architecture. It’s already known that right from birth, children develop fast abilities to experience and express various emotions and their capacity to manage a wide variety of feelings.


Nonetheless, emotional development is less recognized as a core emerging capacity in the early childhood period of time. Scientists tell us that the core features of emotional development include the ability to understand one’s feelings and thoughts, to identify them and also to comprehend them emotional states in other people.

Emotional development is built into the architecture of young children’s brains as a response to their individual experiences in the environments in which they lived. It seems that emotions are implied in many regions of the central nervous system.


Additionally, the emotional experiences of newborns and young infants start to develop right during when they interact with caregivers, such as holding, comforting and feeding.

Almost when they finish the preschool years, children with a strong emotional foundation are able to talk about various things, anticipate and the their awareness to manage daily social interactions. Thus, they’re able to better manage everyday problems and interactions.


When emotions and feelings are not well expressed and managed, thinking can become impaired. Even it may seem awkward, young children are capable of very deep and intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, grief, anger, but also joy and happiness.

Although is old news that young children have feelings, but now the extent to which they can experience deep emotional pain as a results of early losses and traumas in their lives. Nevertheless, the fact that prolonged emotional distress affects the architecture of a young child’s brain should raise questions for the society in which we live.


Therefore, focus on various skills shouldn’t be the only one purpose. There should also be a focus on emotional and social development. Additionally, child-welfare agencies that investigate suspected and neglected children, should include a complex assessment of the child’s developmental status, such as linguistic, emotional and social competence.

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Children Do Equally When Adopted By Gay Or Heterosexual Parents

Filed under: Emotional Development - 25 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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A new study has revealed that there are no differences between high-risk children adopted by heterosexual or gay parents. This means that high-risk children who have been adopted from foster home by gay parents have a similar cognitive and emotional development to the one of those adopted by heterosexual parents.

The results of this study show that gay parents have no negative influence on the emotional development of their children. The study, authored by Justin Lavner, was published in the October issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Actually, this is the first study which compares children from foster care, adopted by gay, lesbian and heterosexual couples.


This UCLA study traced the kids progress over time. No less than 82 children from Los Angeles County have participated at the study. About 22 of them were adopted by gay parents at the age of 4. Children were evaluated on a period of about 2 months, one year and two years, naturally, after being adopted.

The same study showed that all adopted children, regardless of the family with whom they were placed registered progress. Children showed major gains in cognitive development, maintaining similar levels of behavior problems throughout the years.


Researchers claimed that at the time of adoption children had numerous problems, including prenatal substance exposure, abuse and neglect. Kids adopted by gay and lesbian parents experienced even more challenges. These high risk factors were found by researchers in birth records, court reports and family services reports. However, all children ended up in the same place, which is quite impressive.

This study shows that gay and lesbian parents are able to provide nurturing homes for children with high risk, such as any other heterosexual parents. “There is no scientific basis to discriminate against gay and lesbian parents,” a lead researcher said according to Instinct Magazine. After all “children adopted from foster care by gay parents fare equally in their cognitive and emotional development as those adopted by heterosexual parents.”


Currently, there are no less than 104,000 foster children in the United States. The results of this study may be great news for high risk kids which currently are up for adoption.

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Pacifier Use May Damage Emotional Development

Filed under: Emotional Development - 02 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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A new study has revealed that pacifiers use can damage the emotional development of baby boys. The study showed that pacifiers stop babies from experiencing with facial expression, which potentially has important negative consequences on their normal development.

The study was performed by specialists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This is the first study made on the influence that pacifiers use has on infants. The results are quite shocking as the study actually shows that pacifiers damage the emotional development of babies.


The study focused on a group of people of collage age. The group was first divided into men who used pacifiers when being infants and men who did use them. The first group scored much lower on common emotional intelligence tests than the second group. The same study indicated that if men who used pacifiers scored lower, girls were not affected at all by pacifiers use.

According to researchers, babies learn to express their own emotions through body language. In fact, they use facial expressions and movements to be able to learn how to express such emotions. A pacifier will play a negative role on this matter, as it will stop the infant from learning.


“We can talk to infants, but at least initially they aren’t going to understand what the words mean. So the way we communicate with infants at first is by using the tone of our voice and our facial expressions,” one of the authors of this study, Paula Niedenthal, said according to Medical News Today. The researcher also added that parents usually take the results of such tests very personally. “Now these are suggestive results and they should be taken seriously,” Niedenthal concluded.

Is pacifier use a bag thing?

According to Niedenthal, pacifier use, despite the results of this study, is not a bad thing. “Probably not all pacifiers use is bad at all times, so how much is bad and when? We already know from this work that nighttime pacifier use doesn’t make a difference,” the specialist explained.


Parents should only be aware to not inhibit any of the body’s emotional representational system. Facial expressions are important for babies, who have not learned to speak yet. A pacifier can limit the baby’s ability to explore emotions, this is why parents should be very careful. Actually, parents should be attentive at anything that may affect the baby’s emotional development.

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Ways to Develop Your Child’s Self Esteem

Filed under: Emotional Development - 24 Sep 2012  | Spread the word !

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Children are very sensitive when it comes to the way they perceive themselves. Self-esteem is your child’s passport to lifetime mental health and social happiness. Additionally, it is the foundation of a child’s well being and the key to success as an adult. At all ages, they way you feel about yourself affects the way you act. Think about a time when you really felt good about yourself. Everything seemed to work perfectly.

Here are some tips on how to raise your child’s self-esteem in order to grow up harmonious and mentally healthy.

  • Self-image is how one perceives oneself. The child looks in the mirror and likes the person he sees. He looks inside himself and is comfortable with the person he sees. He must think of himself as a person who can make things happen. The main source of a child’s self-worth are the parents.


  • Lack of a good self-imagery leads to behavioural problems. Most of the behavioural problems come from poor self-worth in parents as well as children. Children tend to imitate their parents’ behaviour. Therefore, if the child sees his parents optimistic and upbeat all the time, he will copy their behaviour. On the other hand, if the child perceives his parents as down and stressed all the time, then he will have the tendency to copy their behaviour.


  • Improve your own self-confidence. Self esteem is acquired, not inherited. Certain parenting traits and certain character traits, such as anger and fearfulness, are learned in each generation. If you, as a parent, suffer from low self esteem, take the steps to heal yourself and break the family pattern. Make sure you “polish your mirror” so that your children will only see the best in you. 


  • Play with your child. By doing so, you will learn a lot about your child during play. Playtime gives your child the message that he is worth your time and that he is valuable to you. Children learn through play. Therefore, it improves a child’s behaviour by giving him feelings of importance and accomplishment. Let your child initiate the play. You will see how much good will do this to him.


  • Address your child by name. From the very beginning, children learn to associate how you use their name with the message you have and the behaviour you expect. Parents often use a child’s nickname or first name only in casual dialogue. They beef up the message by using the full name to make a deeper impression. Always use his/her name regardless of the situation.


Every infant whose needs are met has self-esteem built in. Like an arborist caring for a tree, the parents’ job is to nurture what is there, do what they can to structure the child’s environment so that s/he grows strong and straight, and avoid whittling away at the tender branches.

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Children And Their Emotions

Filed under: Emotional Development - 30 Jul 2012  | Spread the word !

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Emotional development is a complex and sometimes difficult task that begins in infancy and continues into adulthood. A few of the first emotions that can be recognised in babies are anger, joy, fear and sadness.

As they grow up, they start to develop a sense of self and more complex emotions emerge such as shame, guilt, pride and empathy, but also many others.




Emotions are important because they are children’s responses to a wide variety of things that they experience every day. Additionally, emotions have a very important impact on their behaviour, attitude and on how they learn to enjoy life.

Parents also have a huge influence on their children’s emotions, so they should be very careful and responsible. Parents are so important because they are the first and the main persons who respond to their children’s emotions, but parents also provide models of how to manage feelings and how to behave. Fortunately, by talking with their children, they can help them manage their emotions, but school staff also has a huge role.




Experiencing various emotions has several components:

  • physical responses such as hormone levels, breathing and heart rate
  • feelings that children begin to recognize and learn to name them
  • judgements and thoughts that are associated with feelings
  • action signals such as fight or escape


When children express their emotions, both through behaviour and words, are influenced by several things such as:

  • values related to inappropriate and appropriate ways of expressing emotions that are learned from their parents, teachers and carers
  • children’s temperaments
  • emotional behaviours learned through observation and experience
  • how well children’s emotions are met
  • various kinds of stress that both children and their family are under

There are also other reasons why children express their emotions and feelings so differently. Every child is unique, so his response to various things, problems and experiences is very different. Variation in children’s emotional response can also be influenced by cultural values, severe and chronic disorders, as well as social circumstances and children’s temperaments.



There are children that are encouraged by their families to express a wide range of emotions, but there are also other families that encourage their children not to display certain emotions, so children express their emotions based on what  is regarded by them as normal within their family and culture.

Parents have an important role for helping their children learn and accept feelings and to understand the connection between behaviour and feelings. Parents, carers and school staff have to:

  • understand children’s emotions and feelings
  • help children recognize and understand their own emotions
  • set limits on inappropriate expression of emotions
  • be a role model



All these steps are very important as children are developing and they will soon become adults. To conclude, parents, relatives, carers and school staff have to be aware of these problems and be very careful how they behave.

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The Stages of Emotional Development According to Erik Erikson

Filed under: Emotional Development - 14 Jun 2012  | Spread the word !

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The way in which children and adolescents develop from an emotional point of view is very important for their adulthood life. According to psychiatrist Erik Erikson, there are eight emotional development stages that make up the socialization process. He calls them “the eight stages of man” and he came up with them in 1956. According to Erikson, each stage represents a psychosocial crisis that arises and demands resolution before the next stage enters the stage. He did not develop these stages through experimental work. His experience in psychotherapy regarding children and adolescents opened new horizons for him that helped him associate every development phase of a child with a stage which represents the foundation of the child’s further development.

The first stage, hope, is also known as learning basic trust versus basic mistrust and represents the infancy period through the first 1 or 2 years of life. In this stage, parents need to well handle, nurture and love their children in order for them to develop trust, security, and a basic optimism. If these aspects are badly handled, then children become insecure and mistrustful. This means that parents need to carefully cater to their children’s needs in order for them to grow up with a sense of trust. The second stage, will, is also known as learning autonomy versus shame and it occurs during early childhood. This stage usually begins when the child is 18 months old and goes on until the age of 4. In this stage, children are not able to fully associate autonomy with assured self-possession, independence and initiative. However, the stormy self-will, negativism and stubbornness begin to emerge.

In the third stage, known as purpose of learning initiative versus guilt, children learn how to imagine, broaden their skills by means of active play of all kinds, cooperate with others, lead, and follow. This stage occurs in preschool years. Guilt starts to make room and causes children to feel fearful, restricted, and dependent on adults. These were the first emotional development stages according to Erik Erikson. The other ones are industry versus inferiority (competence), learning identity versus identity diffusion (fidelity), learning intimacy versus isolation (love), learning generativity versus self-absorption (care), and integrity versus despair (wisdom). It is very important for parents to know and understand these emotional development stages to be able to raise their children properly and make good persons out of them.

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