About the Author
|What Is Critical Thinking?
|How Do You Think Critically?
|Fallacies to Watch for When Studying Child Development
|Other Fallacies in Discussions of Child Development
|Claims About Child Development
|Why Is It All So Complicated?
|Understanding Basic Facts
|Variations on the Development Theme
|Examining the Evidence: Recognizing That a Belief May Be Mistaken
|Sources of Information: Safe or Sorry?
Part I: Genetics and Prenatal Life
Claim 1: Genetic factors play such a strong role in human development that genes alone can determine certain human behavioral characteristics.
Claim 2: Although prematurely born babies are smaller than most and may need special medical care, the babies and their parents instinctively know how to interact with each other.
Claim 3: If a child’s problem is genetically caused, the problem will be present at birth and will stay the same throughout life.
Claim 4: Unborn babies are not influenced much by the environment outside the mother’s body.
Claim 5: As the date when her child will be born gets closer, a mother-to-be needs to be more careful about alcohol and drugs because the risk of birth defects increases throughout pregnancy.
Claim 6: Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) offer reliable ways for couples to have healthy children in spite of fertility problems.
Claim 7: Genetic relationships are a powerful factor in social and emotional interactions, so people recognize and are attracted to blood relatives even if they have never met them before.
Claim 8: Babies work hard to be born.
Claim 9: When a baby has genetic problems, there are no pre- or postnatal methods for treatment.
Claim 10: Except for their reproductive organs, there are no differences between boy and girl babies before or soon after birth. Gender differences occur as a result of different experiences for boys and girls.
Part II: Infants and Toddlers
Claim 11: Parents need to have contact with their babies right after birth so that they can bond with them.
Claim 12: Babies are born with emotional attachments to their mothers and can recognize their mothers at once.
Claim 13 : When mothers of young babies are depressed, the problem is caused by the changes in hormones they experience after the birth.
Claim 14: It’s been proven that it’s always better for parentless children to be placed in foster care rather than in orphanages or other institutions.
Claim 15: A baby’s sleeping position can cause or prevent sudden infant death syndrome.
Claim 16: Parents should not talk baby talk to their children because this slows their language development.
Claim 17: Being exposed to two different languages is confusing for babies and interferes with normal language development.
Claim 18: It’s a problem, and probably means autism, if babies don’t make eye contact in the first few weeks of life.
Claim 19: It’s harmful to preschoolers’ psychological development if they make overnight visits to estranged parents.
Claim 20: Toddlers drop food on the floor because they want to make their parents angry.
Claim 21: It is important for parents to work with babies and teach them how to walk.
Claim 22: It is a good thing for an infant or a toddler to have experience with many caregivers, not just one or two.
Claim 23: Screen devices provide excellent resources for encouraging infants’ and toddlers’ mental development.
Claim 24: Parents who were abused as children are likely to abuse their own children.
Part III: Preschoolers
Claim 25: Having kids listen to Mozart makes them smart.
Claim 26: The time between birth and age 3 years is the most important period of development and learning in a person’s life.
Claim 27: Children need to develop basic trust and show it by their confidence in other people.
Claim 28: If a child is able to complete a task with an adult present, he or she is able to do it alone.
Claim 29: Preschoolers who hold their breath when angry are trying to upset their parents and get their own way.
Claim 30: Vaccines and heavy metals cause autism.
Claim 31: Autism rates are rising rapidly, especially in certain parts of the country, so something must be happening to cause more cases of this serious developmental problem.
Claim 32: Preschool children who lie are developing along dangerous lines and need to be corrected severely in order to stop this bad behavior.
Claim 33: Preschoolers who try to bargain with their parents really want to manipulate and control adults, and they should not be allowed to negotiate.
Claim 34: A young child can tell when someone is just teasing.
Claim 35: Children with attachment disorders must be treated very sternly and differently from typically developing children-- even in ways that are ordinarily considered abusive.
Claim 36: Spanking should never be used to discipline a child, because it is ineffective and causes children to model the aggression they experience.
Part IV: School-Age Children
Claim 37: Girls who get their first period early are also likely to mature quickly in other ways.
Claim 38: Children have different learning styles, depending on whether they are left brained or right brained.
Claim 39: It’s healthy for children to be a little on the chubby side.
Claim 40: Birth order is an important factor that determines children’s intelligence and personality.
Claim 41: When a child is mentally ill, any psychological treatment is better than no treatment.
Claim 42: Bullying is a natural behavior of children, and there's nothing you can do to stop it.
Claim 43: Sugar is a major cause of hyperactive behavior.
Claim 44: Adopted children have many more social and emotional development problems than do nonadopted children.
Claim 45: If a child is sexually molested, he or she will probably repress the memory.
Part V: Adolescents
Claim 46: Regular experience of shared family meals is critical for children’s academic and behavioral development.
Claim 47: Children are more likely to become delinquent if their fathers are absent or uninvolved.
Claim 48: Violent television programs and video games cause increased aggressive behavior.
Claim 49: If parents are not strict enough, children will behave badly and may become criminals.
Claim 50: Marijuana use by adolescents causes long-term problems in brain and cognitive functioning.
Claim 51: High self-esteem makes children perform better in school.
Claim 52: Single-sex schools give better outcomes of academic achievement than do coeducational schools.
Claim 53: The DARE program is an effective way to prevent children and adolescents from dealing or using drugs.
Claim 54: Children and adolescents learn bad behavior from their peers.
Claim 55: Young teenagers should be tried and sentenced as adults if they commit serious crimes.
Claim 56: Adolescence is an emotionally dangerous time when teenagers are likely to attempt or commit suicide.
Claim 57: Punishment is an effective way of changing children’s and adolescents’ undesirable behaviors.
Claim 58: Children are reaching puberty earlier with each generation.
Claim 59: Psychological treatments like “conversion therapy” can change a person’s same-sex orientation to a heterosexual orientation.