Reading, Playing and Bonding With Children Staves Off Violence, Study Finds

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children and violence

Reading your child a book may stop them from being violent. Credit: Getty Images

Want to take extra measures to prevent your kid from growing up to be a bully? Try reading him a book or taking him to the playground for some parent-child bonding.

New evidence suggests kids who bond with their parents -- and are engaged in play, reading and other activities -- may be at less risk for violent behavior in adulthood and have higher IQs, Reuters reports.

Researchers in Kingston, Jamaica, studied 129 toddlers who were having growth-related issues for two years. One group of kids was given nutritional supplements; a second engaged in mother-child play and interaction; a third group received both; and a fourth group had no intervention. Turns out, the nutrition made no changes, but kids who played and bonded with their moms were less likely to engage in fights, according to the news service.

"The most exciting finding this time was the reduction in violent behavior, because that's something we haven't shown before," Dr. Susan Walker, lead researcher and a professor at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, tells Reuters. The study was published in Pediatrics.

The study included a weekly visit from a woman who taught the mothers how to play with their toddlers and engage them in everyday activities, and who also left toys and books each week.

As in previous follow-ups, Walker found that children who received the stimulation from their mother had higher IQs. In this study of the participants at age 22, there was a six-point difference between those who had received the interaction and those who did not.

"It's a substantial improvement for something that took place in early childhood," Walker tells Reuters.

Children who were stimulated were also 65 percent less likely to be involved in fights and violent crime as adults, and they performed better in math and reading tests.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.