October 27th, 2014
The Science Behind Good Parenting
Sports season is at its peak. Major League Baseball’s World Series is ongoing; sharp pitchers on the mound and strong hitters are at bat showcasing their top qualities as they embark on their quest for the championship. Professional football is in the middle of its exciting season in which the team with the strongest and smartest players succeeds. Meanwhile, parents glued to the television are wondering how these fine professional athletes started developing in their early years and become successful in their chosen field, so they can adopt the parenting strategies to help their own children find the same success. So the question now arises: What is the best parenting philosophy that will help children reach their full potential, both socially and physically, and give them tools for success later in life? Parents are bombarded with information by the media that advocate for a certain parenting philosophy that attempt to answer this question. For example, Amy Chua, the so-called Tiger Mom, published an opinionated article in the Wall Street Journal advocating for strict parental supervision and monitoring of children to ensure lifelong success in any chosen field. However, studies conducted by doctors and psychologists specializing in asthma and childhood development suggest the opposite. This paper will argue that early exposure of infants to germs and less adult supervision throughout childhood developmental years lead to good and healthy kids. I grew up in a poor and underdeveloped provincial seaport area in the Philippines. I lived in an improperly built home constructed from low-quality plywood and galvanized sheet iron along hundreds Raqueno 2
of similarly makeshift homes. There was no proper sewage system. Garbage collection was almost non-existent. Feral cats, stray dogs, cockroaches, and rodents were rampant, and many gained unrestricted access to people’s homes. Our house was less than a kilometer away from the beach, which functioned as a drainage and sewer system some times. In short, sanitation was below standards. This area was the place where I gave birth to, and raised, my firstborn son. Conventional parenting belief will suggest that this place is not ideal to raise an infant due to diseases carried by germs and allergens. Cats, roaches, and rodents leave dusts that carry these types of germs. Undoubtedly, my son had been exposed to these germs and allergens especially in the months following his birth. However, as strange as it sounds, I have never observed my son get sick during those years when we lived in my hometown. As a matter of fact, due to his activity and energy level, I had to ground him several times so that I could see him in the house. To lay people, my son’s example of robust health might seem an exception not the rule. To me, it just seemed like I was blessed with a healthy child, uncharacteristically immune from diseases caused by common germs and allergens. But to scientists studying asthma, allergies and immunology, the environment where I raised my son played an important role in developing his immunity against many common diseases. Wood (Wood et al., 2014) studied 130 infants and found that those babies exposed to allergens, germs, and bacteria from cats, roaches, and rodents during the first 12 months of life were able to develop a strong immunity to allergies and common diseases, and they ended up suffering less from asthma and other types of wheezing as they grew older. The healthy babies, which developed immunity to common diseases and allergies, were either raised in a farm and lived in closed proximity with animals or in urban areas whose parents kept pets and did not care too much about sanitizing their dwelling. Wood found that when an infant is exposed early to these germs and allergens, his immunity against common diseases and asthma...
Bibliography: Chua, Amy. Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior. Wall Street Journal. 2011. News Paper Article.
Denham, S.A. et al., Preschool Emotional Competence: Pathway to Social Competence? Child Development. 2003. Science Journal
Fabes, R.A. et al., Regulation, Emotionality, and Preschoolers’ Socially Competent Peer Interactions. Child Development. 1999. Science Journal
Ladd, G. W., & Golter, B.S. Parents’ Management of Preschoolers Peer Relations: Is It Related To Children’s Social Competence? Developmental Psychology. 1988. Science Journal.
Wood, Robert. Et Al. Birth Cohorts In Asthma And Allergic Diseases: Report of a NIAID/NHLBI/MeDall Joint Workshop. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2014. Science Journal
Please join StudyMode to read the full document