What we say affects even unborn baby! Back   Home  
Jack Canfield cites a study done at the University of Iowa. A group of graduate students followed around normal two-year-olds for a day. What they observed at the end of the day was that the children were continually inundated with negative nudge statements, such as “Don’t touch the vase, you’ll break it,” “Bad boy,” “No, you’re not big enough to try that.” The average kids from average families received 432 negative statements as opposed to 32 positive acknowledgments daily. That is a ratio of 13.5 to 1. The national average, according to a study done by the National Parent-Teachers Organization, of parent-to-child criticism versus praise is 18 to 1. That’s eighteen critical messages to every compliment. What kind of effect do you think such a steady diet of criticism has on a child? What effect would it have on you as an adult?

Before you answer, let me tell you about a correlating study done with a woman who was eight months pregnant. She was attached to a fetal heart monitor and was given a script to read. The first script went like this: “I can’t wait to have this baby. It’s such a wonderful time to be having it. We have the room all fixed up and the crib ready and are so looking forward to having a child. I can’t wait for the baby to be born.” The research team measured the fetal heart rate once as she read and noted that it increased four beats per minute. After her heart rate returned to normal, they had her then read a different script: “It’s really not a good time for us to be having this baby. We need two incomes to make it. If I didn’t have this baby, I could progress in my career. This isn’t a good time for me to give birth.” The researchers measured the heart rate once again. It went down four beats per minute. If what we think and say affects even an unborn baby, what is it doing to our developing children?
Published in borderlesscity.com, by —Stephanie Marston, The Magic of Encouragement (New York: Pocket Books, 1990), p. 100.