Confession: I am not a fan of the baby stage.
In fact, the first few months after JJ and Joah were born were the hardest months of my life. And it was mainly because babies can’t talk back.
My high points of motherhood have come from my children saying things. It didn’t matter if they were saying “poopy butt” – a phrase I can’t break them of – or telling me about their day at school. I have enjoyed hearing them express their feelings through words.
What can I say; my love language is words of affirmation.
But after reading a recent study that was published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research last month, I’m starting to question the whole “talking early” thing.
The study found that a correlation between childhood verbal development and drinking behaviors. Put plainly, smarter children are at a greater risk of drinking when they are older than children who are not as smart.
The research also found children who talked and read earlier were four times as likely to get drunk.
Researchers followed 3,000 twins in Finland, focusing on differences in their verbal development as children such as age at speaking words, age at learning to read, and expressive language skills during school age. Researchers also looked at the differences in drinking, intoxication, and alcohol-related problems across adolescence and youth adulthood, according to the article.
The study suggested that the findings were largely due to peer associations.
I have spent so much time trying to get my boys to interact with others, learn new words and new ways to express themselves. But now I’m rethinking it. On one hand, I can have children who do not talk or interact with others, which in turn will prompt teachers to prompt me to see a doctor or I can have children who are smarter than fifth graders and are the most popular kids in town but later have alcohol problems.
Next on my parenting agenda: breed boys who are smart but anti-social!
Wish me luck!
Tunette Powell is a working mom with two children. You can read her every Tuesday on momaha.com
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