Aggression and Anger Learned in Infancy – by Vimala McClure


A recent study says kids learn anger and aggression from their parents at a very early age. The study was performed at the University of Minnesota and published in the journal Child Development; the lead author was Michael Lorber, a scientist at New York University.


“What we found,” says Lorber, “is that babies who are only a couple of weeks old can pick up on parents’ bad behavior.” “Parenting during infancy really seemed to matter.”


267 mothers were studied, looking at interaction with their babies during feeding times. Mothers who showed disgust in their facial expressions, spoke in harsh tones, or handled their babies roughly had children who acted out years later in kindergarten and first grade.


This study is part of a 30-year research project. Scientists also found negative reactions continued into adulthood; children who experienced negative parenting in infancy have a higher risk of entering the criminal justice system later in life.


Parents need to realize how much their behavior has an impact on their babies from birth. I believe scientists are going to be finding that this cycle happens even earlier; as technology develops, we’ll find substantial research to show that parents’ negative behavior affects infants in utero.


Infant massage can help alleviate these problems if parents are encouraged to massage their little ones early in life. It sets a pattern of loving, playful interaction and can help parents to see how large an impact their behavior has on their children.


By Vimala McClure