Sometimes parents do things or raise a child a certain way without being aware of how that actually programs a child's mind. And we can't blame them much, as there are plenty of things that influence kids and their development, but are also seemingly completely unrelated to it. And those are exactly the things we'd like to talk about today.
Science has really come along way and a lot of studies have been done examining a parent's influence on the child, as well as other factors that seem to determine some important parts of a person's life later on. Which is why we've decided to cover the ages 1 to 10, and pick out things for each year that seem to have an impact on the child's mind. Of course, every child is unique, and there are and always will be exceptions to rules, but most kids actually fall into this category. And with information like this, parents can actually help their child be not only happier and more peaceful in the future, but they can also do wonders for a child's personality, habits, and traits.
Here are the ways parents can program and influence a child's mind, from year one to year ten!
20 Age 1: Negative Language Can Affect The Child's Emotional, Cognitive And Social Development Even If They Don't Speak Yet
The thing about children at a very young age is that even though they might not speak or fully understand a language yet, they still do understand a lot through a tone of the voice as well as facial expression. Often you can hear parents (or other relatives) say not to worry, because the child won't understand anything, but in fact they will. This is why negative language can indeed affect a child's future development, even if they have no clue what someone is exactly saying. Yelling and arguing around a child should therefore be avoided as much as possible.
19 Cuddling The Baby Can Result In Higher IQ
Another thing that can be quite impactful at age one is cuddling. In particular skin to skin cuddling can not only calm the baby down, and lead lower aggression rates later on, but science says it can also lead to a higher IQ. It's not a secret that a loving and caring environment releases stress and allows one to explore their full potential, so are we even surprised by this? Besides, cuddling isn't only healthy for the baby, the parents definitely feel happier and more relaxed after it! So cuddle away people, cuddling is officially healthy and can only benefit everyone.
18 Age 2: Too Much Sugar Can Develop A Sweet Tooth For Life
Addictions can form at a very early age, which is why parents should be pretty careful when it comes to what they're feeding their child. At the age of two, when the child is slowly starting to eat proper food, making sure it's all natural and without much added sugar is essential. Sweet fruit and veggies can be easily used to sweeten a meal instead of adding processed sugar. And a little tip is to also not go overboard with salt, as too much of it forms an addiction as well, and too much salt can lead to plenty of health problems.
17 Being Apart From Parents For Too Long Can Result In Anxiety Later On
Alright, while making sure you're not with your child 24/7 is a good thing, studies have shown that being apart from them for too long at this age can also harm them later on, as it can lead to developing anxiety. Finding the right balance is not easy, but it is important, as too much and too little time can both have negative effects later on. Obviously, if parents go on a trip and leave their child alone for a couple of days that's bad, but if they go out for a few hours, the child will be fine.
16 Age 3: Toys Can Have An Impact On Gender Identity
Quite a few studies have been made on how a persons gender identity can be influenced from a very young age on. And while there's still a bit of debate whether gender identity is something that can actually be influenced much, certain researches claim that a big impact on gender identity is made through toys that a child plays when they are young. Considering that a lot of children toys are either targeted for girls or for boys, this actually doesn't come as a surprise. But one thing is for sure, if they are influenced by it, not all kids are influenced the same way.
15 And So Can Clothing
And since we're already at studies who claim gender identity can be influenced from a young age, let's also take a look at children's clothing. Putting little girls into pink dresses and boys in blue sweatshirts is bound to have some kind of effect on their gender identity, which is why gender-fluid clothing brands for kids (like Celine Dion's line Celinenunu) have been on the rise lately. At the end of the day, parents should never really aim to influence a child's own gender identity, but rather let them explore the options and wear whatever clothing they like the most, regardless of what section in the store it's from.
14 Age 4: Old Disney Princess Movies Can Affect The Way Girls Look At Boys (And Vice Versa)
Okay, this one is kind of hard to accept for parents mainly because they all grew up watching these movies and they like to think they turned out fine (some have we're sure), but honestly, it totally makes sense that some old school movies that children watch would influence the way they perceive modern society. Especially when it comes to female-male roles, the society they live in is way more progressive than the society those movies were made in was. So seeing Ariel give up her voice for a man, or Sleeping Beauty waiting for a prince to save her might give kids the wrong ideas of gender roles.
13 Strength-Based Speaking Can Have A Long-Term Impact On The Child's Happiness
The strength-based approach is already known to be a great tool for empowerment of people in general, and it can be used for many purposes. But strength based speaking in particular can lead to a happier human later on. How to implement it on a daily basis? So for example, if the child tries to do something but they aren't too good at them, praising their efforts is a great way to encourage and empower them. And already pointing out the things they are really good at will make them feel more confident and in return also add to their happiness.
12 Age 5: Toys Can Have An Impact On Future Job Choice
Research has shown that just the way toys can affect a child's gender identity, they are sometimes also able to affect their future job choice. Now obviously, this doesn't work every time and with every kid, but if a child is really passionate about playing doctor or teacher, there is quite a bit of chance they will still want to be that once they grow up. Now we all know a lot more than just preference goes into one's future job choice, but encouraging a child to play with a "job toy" they like is always a good idea.
11 Allowing The Child Some Decision-Making Reduces Misbehavior
Decisions mean responsibility, and kids who make some decisions tend to be more responsible. Kids without responsibility often like to misbehave. And this is precisely why parents whose child misbehaves should take a step back and consider giving the child some more decision making freedom - and with that responsibility. Of course, a five-year-old can't always decide what they will have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but they can decide things like what movie they'd like to watch, what outfit they want to wear or what park the family should go to. Give the kid a bit of decision-making freedom and it might do wonders.
10 Age 6: Too Much Screen Time Has Long-Term Effects On The Sleep Cycle
Making sure a child has a good and healthy sleep cycle from an early age on is really something parents need to prioritize, as it can help their child so much later on in their life. And one thing that can heavily affect a sleep cycle are screens. TV's, computers, tablets, phones, you name it, it will affect a child and how easily they fall asleep as well as how deep their sleep it. Plenty of studies have found that the blue light that screens usually have wakes the brain up rather than signaling to it that it's sleep time, which is why using a screen right before bed should not be something kids are allowed to do.
9 Arts And Crafts Games Help Develop Creativity
Okay, sure, a lot of children are just talented when it comes to being creative and artsy while others are not. But just as with any other skill, practicing it can go a long way in making things better. So even if a child seems bad at doing arts and crafts, it should still always be encouraged as it allows their creativity to evolve. And while they may not grow up to become the next Picasso, a little bit of creativity is something everyone (and their jobs) often need. So pull out the papers and the crayons, and let your child scribble away!
8 Age 7: Labeling Your Child As Smart Or Pretty Can Have An Adverse Effect
Okay, this one might seem a bit odd, but research has shown that labeling kids can have the opposite effect of the one expected. A lot of children don't really like hearing they are the smartest or the prettiest, as it sort of puts them in a very specific category. And honestly, we don't think that this is a bad thing, kids sometimes really do seem to be quite ahead of adults, don't they? So instead of complimenting a child on their looks or brains, one should rather compliment them on the way they have done something, as that is something kids prefer.
7 But Praising Their Efforts Can Lead To Higher IQ
And speaking of praising a child for their efforts, this can even lead to a higher IQ. Kids who are encouraged and praised more for the things they have done, tend to enjoy doing more of those things, which is why it is of no surprise they also have a higher IQ later on. But besides this, children should always be praised for their efforts, even if they haven't done something too well. No parent should ever discourage a child by telling them how bad they are at something because words like that can have a long term effect on the child and their willingness to try things.
6 Age 8: Having Routines Leads To Calmer, Happier And More Secure Children
Fact is routines have always been a part of human nature. We sleep and wake up, we eat a certain amount of meals everyday and we generally tend to repeat things quite often. And while some people claim to not be fans of routines, they still probably have some without being aware of them. Obviously too many routines aren't good either, as variety makes us happier and trains out brain, but certain routines are essential. And kids who have regular routines tend to be more calm, happy and secure. And helping a child find a routine that works for them is definitely something all parents can do.
5 Not Letting A Child Make Decisions Results In A Codependent Adult
Some decisions should not be made by kids. But any decision that a child can reasonably make themselves is something parents should allow, as children who rarely make decisions on their own tend to be more scared of decision-making the older they get, and they grow into more dependent humans. And if there's one thing parents should strive to make their child it's independent. So at the age of eight, when they have already been to school a couple of years and they know more thing, a child can and should really have quite a bit of freedom in their decisions.
4 Age 9: Aggressive Parenting Leads To The Child Being Unpopular Amongst Peers
Aggressive parenting is never a good idea. Especially because it tends to have a severe effect on children, and often they turn aggressive as well. And if there's one thing kids (and most sane grown ups) don't like, it's aggressive people. So by enforcing aggressive parenting, the parents don't only scare the child, but they also make their reactions and behavior more aggressive which is something their fellow peers won't like. Kids like that tend to be quite unpopular amongst other kids, and a child who doesn't have friends will eventually be disadvantaged. Once parents realize they have been enforcing aggressive parenting, they should try their best to change that, or even seek out professional help.
3 But Overprotective Parents Don't Have Cool Kids Either
Overprotective parents can be the enemy to a child's social life. Mainly because they tend to not let their kid do anything fun that the other kids are doing, because they are too attached to it and too scared it will get hurt. Kids with overprotective parents are usually not allowed to go to sleepovers, to hang out unsupervised in a nearby park with friends or to stay home alone. And while sometimes these fears are actually justified, often parents are just overreacting and harming their child, instead of helping them. Being the kid who is never allowed to do anything really isn't cool.
2 Age 10: Too Much Social Media Delays The Child's Emotional And Social Development
With the rise of social media in the past two decades, researches have only started to explore the ways in which it can influence us. And studies have shown that children who use social media a lot tend to have a slower emotional and social development than those who don't or rarely use social media. This is definitely a big reason why parents should keep an eye on their child's social media use, because emotional and social development are not things that should be taken lightly. Of course, as with everything, moderation goes a long way, so limiting your child's social media time will benefit them, and one day they will understand.
1 Discussing Books With Your Child Can Lead To Higher IQ
Another thing that can lead to higher IQ is discussing books. So at the age of ten, when a child is perfectly capable of reading on their own, parents should engage into discussions with them. It would be ideal if the parent already knows the book (or is reading along), but even if they aren't they should ask the child to tell them what the book is about so far, with plenty of questions in between. Asking things like why do you think someone did that, or how did that make you feel is something that will make the child think a bit more outside of just the pages of the book.