Recent research revealed a way to help children as young as 12-months deal with and possibly overcome behavior problems. The study, from the University of Cambridge, looked at the effectiveness of a six-session program on 300 families with young children.

The children in this study were divided into two groups—one group received routine healthcare support and the other participated in a combination of healthcare support and a targeted behavioral program. All of the young participants had already displayed early signs of behavioral problems.

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Researchers filmed the participants via an experimental program called the Video-Feedback Intervention to Promote Positive Parenting and Sensitive Discipline (VIPP-SD). Each 90-minute video taped session included everyday family situations, such as a meal or play-time. The child behavior pros then analyzed the clips and discussed successes and challenges with the parents. This gave the parents the chance to identify cues or signals from their children.

Five months after the start of the program, the researchers found the children who participated in the VIPP-SD sessions had lower behavioral problem scores than the children who only got routine healthcare.

Paul Ramchandani, Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning at the University of Cambridge, said, “To provide this program in any health service would require investment, but it can realistically be delivered as part of routine care. Doing so would benefit a group of children who are at risk of going on to have problems with their education, behavior, future wellbeing and mental health.”

Ramchandani added, “There is a chance here to invest early and alleviate those difficulties now, potentially preventing problems in the longer term that are far worse.”

For more information, the full results of the research are published in JAMA Pediatrics.

—Erica Loop

 

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