Can you really spoil a baby?

I am sure we have all heard many times ‘if you pick up the baby every time it cries you will spoil the baby.’ Everyone is looking for ways to be a good parent. When we hear advice like this we think ‘ well I don’t want my baby to be spoiled’ or ‘if it helps’. But can we really trust all of the advice we hear?

In the book it states, “ Crying is the first way that babies communicate, letting parents know that they need food, comfort, and stimulation.”  Knowing that the child is crying because it needs something should tell us, there is no way to spoil a newborn. When you go pick up or feed a child when they cry, you are helping them fulfill needs they cannot meet by themselves.

The ethological study found that parents who were slow to react to their child’s crying had infants who cried more. So, if we do not pick up or child when they cry just so we can get them to cry less, it will probably backfire. When infants get older, than we can teach them different ways to express their needs. But until then, pick them up.

Child Development, Laura E. Berk

Whitney J Kerr


~ by whitkerr9 on September 12, 2009.

3 Responses to “Can you really spoil a baby?”

  1. some parents take this “spoil” theory even longer into preschool age and beyond. Experiments show that children can’t process delayed responses. For example telling a child you’ll get her a toy next week and expect that to make her happy now will not work. action for making a child happy must be done in present time to work.

  2. As I agree that reacting swiftly to a child who is crying is beneficial to that infant; I would also say that it’s important that a child learn the necessary tools to calm themselves. There comes a time where a child may just cry to cry, they are fed, well entertained, well cared for, healthy and clean, and that would be the time for the child to learn how to soothe and calm themselves. By learning this important technique it will benefit the child later in life.

  3. I don’t think there is such thing as “spoiling” a baby. The research has shown that when you react quickly when a baby is crying, they baby will cry less after 6 months. The baby is just trying to tell you that it needs something, a baby doesn’t even know what being spoiled is.

    Josh Fagen

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