A Mother s Influence

Topics: Infant, Father, Mother Pages: 5 (1374 words) Published: March 18, 2016
A Mother’s Influence

Have you ever wondered why a baby seems to prefer the touch and comfort of his mother over that of his father? New research topics are concerned with the differences in maternal relationships with children opposed to paternal ones. The possibility of an acquired preference for the touch and comfort of a baby’s mother than that of their father has been suggested. Parent-infant attachment bonds begin to form after birth and an intense bond formulates with caregivers. The caregivers in most cases are the parents of the child. Infants, through experience, then come to prefer familiar faces and voices. By 12 months, infants have usually developed a relationship with a parent. This infant-parent bond is an emotional tie developed when children seeking closeness to the caregiver and showing distress upon separation (Myers, 186). Two crucial aspects of the development of attachment are the influence of body contact and familiarity. After the development of attachment, children begin to acquire a questionable preference for the comfort of their mother. Due to this preference, a mother has a stronger influence over her infant, as seen in the empirical evidence of Lars-Erick Malmberg and Eirini Flouri.

In a press article in MSNBC news labeled “Move over dad: Mom’s better at soothing baby’s pain”, psychological researchers claim that babies “show less pain when their mother holds them than when their dad tries to comfort them” (Move over dad: Mom’s better at soothing baby’s pain). However, the more important conclusion drawn from this study was the evidence that the soothing technique used by either parent was more beneficial in helping babies get through a stressful experience than when no parent was present to provide comfort. This evidence displays the essential need for children to obtain some sort of comfort, even minimal, as opposed to receiving no attention and risking the development of dismissive attachment styles in the future.

Researchers investigate this effect of attachment by using the “kangaroo care” on the babies and analyzing their expressions of pain: “In kangaroo care, an adult holds the infant, wearing only a diaper, against his or her bare chest, with a sheet or other cover wrapped around the pair” (Move over dad: Mom’s better at soothing baby’s pain). In another study, C. Celeste Johnston, from the McGill University School of Nursing in Montreal, studied 62 pre-mature babies who were about to go through multiple procedures. The investigators used the kangaroo technique and alternated between mother and father to inquire the differences in level of pain that the babies demonstrated. With dads providing the “kangaroo care”, pain scores, on a scale from 0 to 21, were placed at around 8.5 and 8.6 (MSNBC). When babies were held by their mother, they showed 1.4 to 1.5 lower pain scores than their paternal counterparts. This evidence was further supported by researchers who claimed that a mother’s contact is more influential than a father’s due to her physique being attributed as that of a child’s natural caregiver.

This popular press article clearly demonstrated that attachment and attention given to an infant can result in positive behavior on the child’s part. This parent-infant bond is an important social behavior that develops soon after birth. An attachment bond is an emotional tie held between a parent and their child and is a powerful survival impulse that keeps infants close to their caregivers (Myers, 186). Infants typically become close to those who are comfortable and familiar and therefore, body contact and familiarity are important to developing secure attachment styles. In an experiment regarding body contact, Harry Harlow and Margaret Harlow recognized that the monkey’s intense attachment to a blanket contradicted the popular held belief that attachment is associated with the source of nourishment. The monkeys in the experiment showed an overwhelming preference for the...
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