Flashforward: A Look into Your Baby’s Future
Sun, April 18, 2021

Flashforward: A Look into Your Baby’s Future

It’s hard to resist gazing into the eyes of a newborn child, imagining…daydreaming about what their future will look like, how they would behave as a grownup, and what choices they would make that can be from what you have done at the same age / Photo by: Odua Images via Shutterstock

 

It’s hard to resist gazing into the eyes of a newborn child, imagining…daydreaming about what their future will look like, how they would behave as a grownup, and what choices they would make that can be from what you have done at the same age. You think of which traits are visible in the newborn child, whether they look like their father or mother, or if they have their father’s nose and their mother’s eyes. For the majority of the answers to this, only time will tell. But, studies have found that there exist hints about how your child will turn out in the future.

 

Temperament

Linda Dunlap, Ph.D., a professor of development psychology at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, shared that temperament is something that you’re born with and oftentimes remains consistent throughout your life. You can gauge the temperament of a baby when they cry as you change their diaper or smile and coo as if about to go on a nap. As shared in Parents, an online source for expert parenting advice, a recent study at the Iowa University found that babies who were fussy as early as three to four weeks old were very likely to have anxiety problems by the time they reach their tween years.

Temperament, however, is not set in stone. Studies at Harvard University found that 10% of infants who were categorized at either end of the spectrum, being very high strung or laid back, tended to retain their personas until at a young adult age. But roughly 80% of those babies who fell in the middle of the spectrum were more likely to have personalities that changed over time. Ross Thompson, Ph.D., a professor of developmental psychology at the University of California Davis, shared that as the brain of the child matures, they are able to control emotions better. Likewise, a baby that constantly cries won’t turn out to be a crybaby during their teenage years. Even if most of a baby’s personality is genetically linked, the environment also has a huge influence. Parents may manage a demanding nature by reinforcing good characteristics. Kids who go with the flow may be rewarded. In the same way, the manner that a parent speaks with a child can affect how that child will act as they grow older.

 

Cognitive Behavior

Looking at the development of a child, whether they can start to talk, stand, or walk immediately or those babies that are able to master motor functions at an early age may be predisposed to lead a successful life, based on a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. Akhgar Ghassabian, MD, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health, and a part of the team that led the study on the performance of children, found a link between the age at which babies first stood and their cognitive abilities at age four. Digging deeper, the study found that those who stood independently at 9 months had higher test scores at the age of 4 compared to those who only stood alone at 11 months. Although the scope of this study only included a total of 599 milestone reports recorded by mothers of children born between 2008 and 2010, it is essential research in helping us understand how certain children develop.

Looking at the development of a child, whether they can start to talk, stand, or walk immediately or those babies that are able to master motor functions at an early age may be predisposed to lead a successful life / Photo by: myboys.me via Shutterstock

 

Height

It’s actually simpler to determine or project what a child’s adult height would be, as factors are more quantifiable rather than qualitative, according to What To Expect, an online informational portal about parenting. These factors include genetics, gender, exposure to smoke, nutrition, exercise, and medical conditions. Genetics and heredity have a lot to do with how tall babies will become in the future; they account for 80% of a baby’s height. In terms of gender, the average American man is 5.5 inches taller than the average American woman, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, exposure to smoke during any trimester is known to reduce the height of an expecting woman’s baby. Naturally, a mother eating poorly can affect the height of her child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said that the first 1,000 days of life is crucial for receiving vitamins and nutrients to nurture or permanently stunt a child’s growth. In the same way, getting enough exercise is good for growth, but too much exercise can affect, slow, or change growth patterns. Rare diseases such as gigantism or dwarfism affect growth hormones.

To get a rough estimate of what the height of your child will be when he grows up, get the mid-height of both parents. Most kids grow to about 2 inches of their parents’ height. With boys, it will be the calculated height of both parents with an added 5 inches divided by 2 is the rough estimate. With girls, the roughly estimated height is the height of both parents with an added 2 inches divided by 2.

It’s actually simpler to determine or project what a child’s adult height would be, as factors are more quantifiable rather than qualitative / Photo by: New Africa via Shutterstock

 

Birth Order and the Twin Twist

While most of the studies pertain to trends in all children, researchers according to CNN have noticed that this is different with twins. Milestones experienced by twins during infancy are not necessarily linked to their achievements later in life. As explained by Ghassabian: "For twins, key predictors of later development such as gestational age and birth weight overshadow the potential predictive role of milestones in infancy." Because twins are two babies that grow and learn together, this dynamic changes the pace of learning. With siblings, birth order impacts behavior later in life.

While these studies are not exhaustive and truly conclusive, they are important in understanding the learning and development process that your child will go through to help you prepare and foresee any issues in growth and learning.