Sunday, January 18, 2015

Is your child caring? Can you take credit?

Isla likes to share. It seems a natural way of approaching the world for my little granddaughter. I've never thought of taking any credit for her generous nature. But research done recently at Stanford University in the States, argues caregivers can take a few bows.

The most recent study conflicts with an earlier one done in 2006. At that time, a study found 18-month-old toddlers were willing to provide a helping hand without being prompted. Today researchers are no longer so certain altruistic behaviour is innate.

Now, Stanford psychologists believe altruistic behavior may be governed more by relationships than instincts. According to R.C. Barragan, a psychology graduate student at Stanford, "Kids are always on the lookout for social cues."

I am always amazed at what results from a dozen and a half years of education or more. Play with a child and they will be more likely to pick up an item that you dropped than if you made them play on their own while you ignored them while playing nearby.

I'm not at all surprised that if you play a simple game of catch with a child that kid will warm up to you. If you keep to yourself, mess about nearby on your own, don't be surprised when the kid acts distant. It think it should come as no surprise and you can thank your standoffish attitude for the coldness.

I feel uncomfortable taking too much credit for my granddaughter's sweet, oh-so-pleasant disposition. Maybe we, her parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, have not so much inspired her as given her opportunity. As Barragan also pointed out, "If children trust the people in their world, they may have an easier time learning the culture of that world – effectively making it easier for them to achieve new levels of personal and interpersonal success."

Or, play ball with me and I'll share my grilled cheese with you.

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