The aggression of children decreases when cared for by adults
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A new study shows that preschoolers with mothers who have not finished high school are more likely to learn to control their aggressive behavior if they receive daily care from another adult, and this is especially true when the child is younger - before 9 months, reports Reuters Health.
Children spontaneously use aggression in childhood. Studies have shown that mother traits, especially low levels of education, are among the best indicators of physical aggression in children.
High school failure is caused by family problems such as poverty, conflict and family violence. When the family environment is disordered, it is difficult for children to find other alternatives to physical aggression.
To test the hypothesis that non-maternal care helps reduce aggressive behavior, the researchers studied 1,691 children and their mothers. Mothers have been interviewed annually since children were between 5 and 60 months of age, and levels of physical aggression were assessed when children were between 17 and 60 months.
According to a report, 6.6% of children were cared for by their mothers only before school; 13.8% received non-maternal care before 9 months and 79.6% received non-maternal care that started at the age of 9 months or later.
The results showed that those children whose mothers did not have a high school diploma did not receive non-maternal care at all or not as much as the other children. However, children who received non-maternal care were less aggressive, especially if the care started before 9 months.
Children whose mothers graduated high school are less prone to aggression problems and non-maternal care did not affect their behavior.
Researchers say this study should encourage mothers because children who are cared for by someone other than their mother are no longer aggressive.
November 8, 2007