All previous research has suggested that certain ‘good parenting’ practices like reading a bedtime story to your child or having a meal together at a table increases a child’s IQ scores later on in life.
However, a recent study by Florida University has given scientists and parents a bit of grit to chew on.
In the controversial study entitled “A closer look at the role of parenting-related influences on verbal intelligence over the life course: Results from an adoption-based research design (Intelligence, 2014; 46: 179 DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2014.06.002) the participants studied were all adopted children who had no genetic link to the parents who raised them.
Good parenting practices appeared to make no difference on the children’s long-term IQ scores and Beaver, the lead researcher believes that this data suggests that children inherit their intelligence genetically and not socially as thought.
"In previous research, it looks as though parenting is having an effect on child intelligence, but in reality the parents who are more intelligent are doing these things and it is masking the genetic transformation of intelligence to their children," Beaver said.
In other words, parents with higher IQ scores are more likely to put their children to bed, read them bedtime stories and have evening meals together. These actions are signs of good parenting and will assist with bonding and improved social skills… however they will not make them smarter as measured by an IQ test.
“The way you parent a child is not going to have a detectable effect on their IQ as long as that parenting is within normal bounds," said Beaver.
The good news is that most parents are raising their children (whether biological or adopted) with the ultimate goal of being a good citizen – someone contributing to the world over a lifetime rather than merely achieving a superior score on an IQ test.
Now don’t we all wish there was a standardised test to measure that?
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