If your son uses a pacifier, you have to read this!
If your child used a pacifier, you have to know how amazingly difficult it can be to get him to get him to get rid of it. My daughter used a binkie until she was 2 years old and there was practically nothing I could do to make her understand that she no longer needed it. I hated how I always had to worry to not leave home without it and how much she depended on it to be able to fall asleep. Even so, the pacifier was a savior at the beginning when nothing else seemed to be able to calm my screaming newborn baby girl.
And so, when my son was born, I quickly introduced him to the binkie, but he adamantly refused it no matter what brand I tried. That was probably a good thing, considering new research suggests using a pacifier may hinder boys' emotional growth!
The finding is based on three separate experiments, two with college-aged males and the other one with 6- to 7-year-old boys. According to the study, those who reported relying heavily on pacifiers as a babies found it more difficult to mimic emotional expressions or they scored on the lower side when it came to emotional intelligence tests.
Mimicking is important for emotional growth because this is how we learn to understand how someone is feeling. Learning to read facial expressions is an essential way of understanding others even when they're not verbally saying how they feel. But babies who spend all their time with a binky stuck in their mouth have no opportunities to mimic these facial expressions.
Interestingly enough, using pacifiers did not seem to affect girls' emotional growth, according to researchers. The reason why may have to do with the fact that most girls are usually taught how express and interpret emotions, while these are not necessarily the kind of traits parents teach boys.
In any event, if you've been thinking about the painful process of weaning your son off his binky, this may probably be as good a time as any to do so if you want to avoid any kind of issues regarding his emotional intelligence later on.
Image via abbybatchelder/flickr