Traditional parenting methods that focus on breastfeeding, discipline and high expectations are most likely to produce well-adjusted, able and healthier children, a study has shown.
And the more 'nuclear centered' families are for the children's values and main input, the better adjusted and functioning the children are.
Breastfeeding, discipline, high expectation and nuclear family centering are best for children, researchers have found Photo: GETTY
The research found that a culture of "good enough" parenting - under which children are not stretched or closely supervised - led to a greater risk of behavioral and emotional problems among young people.
The greatest gift a parent can give a child is their involvement, interest in their activities, supervision & guidance, discipline when needed, and their presence.
It was also found that children who received continual contrary input, to their parents', from outsiders or non-nucleus family members suffer high levels of emotional stress, are less likely to make sound decisions and are likely to suffer from a large variety of both emotional and health disorders throughout their lives.
Also, the more outside interference during the formative years, the more turmoil there is between parents and children, leading to permanent damage to the family unit and the Mother-Child and Father-Child relationships; which are the most basic and important unit and relationships in anyone's life. (Note: The family unit can be birth parents, step-parents, adoptive parents or foster parents and the children they are raising. Anyone else is a remote relative who needs to respect that unit and the parents who are at the head of it.)
The strength or dysfunction of someone's Mother-Child and Father-Child relationships (again with those individuals who actually fill those rolls) affect all other relationships people have throughout their lives, their decision process, their perspective and the relationship they go on to build with their own children.
The study found that the extended family and outside input are only valuable if they support and enhance the parent's vision, their general teachings and their wishes for their children.
Breastfeeding for at least six months also improves the relationship mothers have with their babies as well as boosting their health and educational development, according to the Institute of Education in London.
Its study of 1,136 mothers found that breastfeeding is associated with more positive parenting practices that can continue beyond infancy.
When researchers studied mothers reading a storybook to their one-year-old children, they found those who breastfed made more effort to engage their infants in the book than mothers who bottle-fed and they appeared to have a warmer relationship with their babies.
Low income mothers who bottle-fed their babies tended to communicate with them much less.
The UK has some of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe and many mothers give up because they do not feel supported enough or they return to work.
Fewer than eight in ten mothers breastfeed their babies from birth and only one fifth are still feeding naturally six months later.
Researchers said women should be offered targeted support and if necessary financial help so they can delay their return to work.
It is already known that breastfed babies are healthier, tend to be less prone to obesity, have fewer allergies and respiratory illnesses, have fewer emotional problems throughout life and have higher IQ’s.
The study found single mothers and those from low income families could help overcome the disadvantages their child was born into through breastfeeding.
Dr Leslie Gutman, who led the research, said: "Breastfeeding is a time-consuming activity and mothers can be tempted to put their babies on the bottle earlier if they feel they have to return to work for financial reasons.
"Mothers are given information leaflets in hospitals about breastfeeding but we may need more than this. Another option is workplace nurseries where mothers could go and feed their babies during the day."
A repeat experiment four years later found that mothers who had been on a low income when their child was one, but had breastfed for more than six months, had a higher quality of interaction with their five-year-old than other mothers.
They also made more effort to engage their child in the book-reading exercise than mothers who had not breastfed. By contrast, breastfeeding appeared to have no lasting effect on the parenting behaviors of married and higher-income mothers.
Marital status had no effect on the quality of a mother's interaction with her child, provided she had breastfed for six to 12 months. In fact, single mothers who had breastfed for this period made slightly more effort than other mothers to explain the storybook to their child.
Experts recommend women breastfeed exclusively for at least six months if they can. They also recommended a return to the focus on the nuclear family structure, strong discipline and the setting of high standards.
It appears that a ‘back to basics’ approach to parenting is definitely worth another look.
Source: Rebecca Smith/Time Medical
Last Updated: 7:20AM GMT 27 Mar
Posted: True Health Is True Wealth - 11:27 PST 30 Mar