Moms influence how children develop advanced cognitive functions

Feb 05, 2010

Executive functioning is a set of advanced cognitive functions—such as the ability to control impulses, remember things, and show mental flexibility—that help us plan and monitor what we do to reach goals. Although executive functioning develops speedily between ages 1 and 6, children vary widely in their skills in this area. Now a new longitudinal study tells us that moms play a role in how their children develop these abilities.

The study was conducted at the University of Montreal and the University of Minnesota. It appears in the January/February 2010 issue of the journal Child Development.

The researchers looked at 80 pairs of middle-income Canadian moms and their year-old . It turns out that the ways moms act when they're playing and solving puzzles with their babies can explain some of the differences in children's development of executive functioning.

Children of moms who answered their children's requests for help quickly and accurately; talked about their children's preferences, thoughts, and memories during play; and encouraged successful strategies to help solve difficult problems performed better at a year and a half and 2 years on tasks that call for executive skills than children of moms who didn't use these techniques in interacting with their youngsters.

"The study sheds light on the role parents play in helping children develop skills that are important for later school success and social competence," according to Annie Bernier, professor of at the University of Montreal and the study's lead author.

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User comments : 2

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zbarlici
not rated yet Feb 06, 2010
so what happens if mommy`s at work 24/7 & places the kid in daycare
MGABRIEL
not rated yet Feb 08, 2010
The test did not confirm that mothers influence the development of advanced cognitive functions, only that in a comparison of two groups of mother who differed in parenting style, one group's children out-performed the others. What about the influence of fathers? Siblings? Of not being middle-class Canadians? Broad conclusions should not be drawn from limited, possibly poorly-designed research. The headline for this article misleads one to conclude that mothers alone influence this development, and that only certain mothers at that. More, and more careful, research is needed.

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