Four in ten babies don’t develop the strong emotional bonds – what psychologists call “secure attachment” – with their parents that are crucial to success later in life. Disadvantaged children are more likely to face educational and behavioural problems when they grow older as a result, new Sutton Trust research finds today.
The review of international studies of attachment, Baby Bonds, by Sophie Moullin (Princeton University), Professor Jane Waldfogel (Colombia University and the London School of Economics) and Dr Liz Washbrook (University of Bristol), finds infants aged under three who do not form strong bonds with their mother or father are more likely to suffer from aggression, defiance and hyperactivity when they get older.
The Trust is urging the government to do more through health visitors and Children’s Centres, with their strong focus on improved outcomes for disadvantaged families, to support parents with babies and toddlers.
About 60 per cent of children develop strong parental bonds. The 40 per cent who lack such secure attachment are split into 25 per cent who avoid their parents when they are upset, because they ignore their needs, and 15 per cent who resist their parents because they cause them distress.
This is an issue for families from all social classes, but where families have multiple problems up to two-thirds of children have weak parental attachment. The report finds that boys’ behaviour is more affected than girls’ by early parenting.
The research finds that insecure attachment is associated with poorer language and behaviour before school. The effect continues into later life, with insecure children more likely to leave school without further education, employment or training. In one US study of disadvantaged children, the quality of parent care and attachment in the first years was a strong predictor of graduating from high school, alone predicting with 77% accuracy whether children graduated or not. Neither IQ nor test scores improved upon this prediction.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at 40% OF CHILDREN MISS OUT ON THE PARENTING NEEDED TO SUCCEED IN LIFE – SUTTON TRUST – Sutton Trust.
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