179 Responsive & Loving Parenting

Based on research by Cathy Guttentag, S. H. Landry, J. M Williams, et al., written by Mara Rowcliffe, BS.

What challenges does a new parent face with a new baby? A recent study evaluated “My Baby and Me,” a parent intervention program for at risk families.

Psychology researchers recruited 361 pregnant women from families with low socioeconomic status and no high school diploma. They were randomly divided into a coaching group or non-coaching group. Mothers in the coaching group were taught basic responsive parenting skills such as: show interest in their child’s activities, smile, use a warm tone of voice and touches, encourage children’s efforts, avoid unnecessary restrictions, and attend appropriately to their baby without being intrusive. They learned to use rich language and skills to support their child’s development. The no-coaching group mothers received only weekly telephone calls and educational materials about parenting.

After the training when the baby was 2.5 years old, videotaped observations of mother and child interaction showed coached mothers exhibited more sensitivity, warmth, more verbal explanations, praise and interaction with their child. Their babies initiated conversations, demonstrated larger vocabularies, positive emotions, and fewer behavioral problems when compared to the non-coaching group.

Parents are their baby’s first teacher and need skill training to be loving and encourage baby’s full development! Let’s make this training available here.


Guttentag, Cathy L., Landry, S. H., Williams, J. M., Baggett, K. M., Noria, C. W., Borkowski, J. G., et al. (2014). “My Baby & Me”: Effects of an early, comprehensive parenting intervention on at-risk mothers and their children. Developmental psychology, 50(5), 1482.

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