Can talking back lead to smarter kids?



Moms, dads, or caregivers who mainly talk to their offspring using commands, like Xenia, who was cited in the study, rather than reasoning may get their kids to do what they want, but they also fail to develop their children’s minds, the research out of the University of California, Berkeley, and UCLA suggests.

The findings have particular significance for minority communities where do-as-I-say exchanges have long predominated over more nuanced argument. But they may also resonant with policy wonks, as Washington debates whether to expand publicly funded preschool programs. Reading, singing, dancing and other activities at the heart of the government’s multi-billion-dollar Head Start program may help low-income kids aged zero to 5. But a crucial link, these studies suggest, is coaching parents to explain decisions with their children─and letting them talk back, at least just a little bit.

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