Tough Love

Tough love – sometimes it pays off! Even for… BABIES?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Are we bad parents if we let Junior “cry it out”? Some experts say it leads to attachment issues and increases crying. Others think tough love has no effect on attachment, but actually DECREASES crying.

Ayten Bilgin and Dieter Wolke at the University of Warwick wondered – to soothe or not to soothe?. 

They studied almost two hundred infants and their parents for over a year. Parents shared how often they let their babies cry. The researchers tested the babies’ bonds and behaviors after eighteen months. They rated babies’ attention, speaking, and social skills. 

Turns out, after eighteen months, babies learned to self-soothe. Also, all babies showed healthy attachment and behavior DESPITE crying patterns. Leaving babies to cry SOMETIMES doesn’t harm their social skills or family bonds.

Parents actually do this intuitively! Early on, parents step in when babies cry. Later, they wait for the baby to self-regulate. Our parental instincts work!

So, moms and dads – grab your earplugs!