Magazine article Work & Family Life

'Difficult' Babies Can Become Star Students

Magazine article Work & Family Life

'Difficult' Babies Can Become Star Students

Article excerpt

If you are a parent struggling through the early years of a "difficult" child, here's some encouraging news from education researchers at Indiana University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The most challenging babies-those who cry a lot, are very active and have troubling adapting to new people or situations-can do as well or better in school than "easy" babies, according to a study published in the journal Child Development (Jan.-Feb. 2008). The researchers followed infants from 1,300 families in 10 geographic areas of the U.S. from birth through first grade. It was part of the "Study of Early Child Care" by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

"Everyone wants an easy baby, and it certainly does makes life a lot easier," said Anne Dopkins Stright, a professor at Indiana's School of Education. "But having a difficult baby doesn't mean that the child will have trouble in first grade."

The study found that-with excellent parenting-the first graders who were "difficult as infants" had as good or better grades, social skills and relationships with teachers and peers compared with first graders who were less difficult as infants and also had excellent parenting. …

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