A new study has found that children can learn anger and aggression from their parents at a very early age.
The study was performed by researchers at the University of Minnesota and published in the journal Child Development. Michael Lorber, a University of Washington graduate and currently a scientist at New York University, was the lead author.
Lorber found that babies who are only a couple weeks old can pick up on our bad behavior.
“What we found is that parenting during infancy really seemed to matter,” explained Lorber.
Lorber studied a group of 267 high-risk moms, looking at interaction with their babies during feeding times. Lorber noted that mothers who showed disgust in their facial expressions, spoke in a harsh tone, or handled their babies roughly had children who acted out years later in kindergarten and first grade.
“The kids who had experienced a more negative environment as infants were the same ones who the teachers were saying were showing greater oppositional and explosive behaviors,” said Lorber.
Local moms said the research makes sense.
“I think you can notice eye contact with your infant and see the more responsive they are. I think this is just one step further that they’re learning so much from the very beginning,” said mother of two-year-old Kirsti Papadopulos.
This study is part of a 30-year research project. Scientists also found negative behavior continued into adulthood, and children who experienced negative parenting in infancy have a higher risk of entering the criminal justice system later in life.