These days, just about everyone knows that if a baby doesn’t get enough positive attention, including hugs, kisses, and cuddle time, it can have negative consequences on them later in life. This fact has been thoroughly researched and borne out through numerous studies. And it just makes common sense.
But is there any such thing as too much of a good thing? Can you overdo your affection for your baby? That’s been a matter of debate amongst parents and experts on parenting for years, but recent research seems to show that, when it comes to loving affection, there is no limit to how much we should show towards our babies.
The study was conducted by Duke University, and took place over the course of more than 30 years. Babies were observed with their mothers at the age of 8 months. In the study, 10% of the mothers were observed to show negative attention to their babies, 85% were found showing “normal” levels of attention to their babies, and 6% were shown to demonstrate an abnormally high level of affection.
We know, that equals 101%. We’re not sure how, but we’re willing to give some grace in light of the fact that the researchers are psychologists, not mathematicians. The important thing is that, when the babies were studied again at the age of 34, the adults who had been shown the highest levels of affection as babies were significantly less likely to have high degrees of anxiety, relationship problems, stress, hostility, and other negative or hurtful emotions.
The study further showed that those who received the least amount of affection were the ones most likely to experience these same negative feelings later in life. The study concluded that the more affection a baby receives when she is little, the better her chances of developing positive life and coping skills later in life.
Moms and dads, think about that when holding your baby in your arms next time. The hugs and kisses you give her today will still be benefiting her more than thirty years from now. Of course, cuddling your baby doesn’t guarantee her supreme adult happiness, but isn’t it good to know that it at least gives her a better shot at it?