The Challenges and Problems of Hot Housing an Infant to Become a Super Baby

Creating an Early Learning Environment For Infants

The question is, can a "Super Baby" be created through "Hot Housing"? We are all aware that it's important to have a responsive environment and that we should match the environmental stimulation to the infant's current abilities. It is also a known fact that infants learn and make associations from the day they are born, and perhaps even before.

Having all this knowledge, you would think that it shouldn't be a problem for us to create the best possible environment, that maximizes the opportunity for learning! You would also think that is should be easy for us to create an environment that provides early training in academics and other skills, with the aim of developing a "Super baby."

However, several researchers have tried -- perhaps, the most well known is Glen Doman in his "Better Baby Program", and other courses designed to stimulate advanced mental development. The results of these training programs are rather interesting. There are also some remarkable case studies involving children ranging from the age of 3-4 who have been taught to read at a second or third grade level.

Some of these children were even able to play the violin at the age of four, but the results were found to be inconsistent, and there are even some notable dangers involved. However, based on the results of these studies, here are the conclusions:

  • It's believed that children who spend a great deal of time in tore learning have less time to explore the world around them, and to initiate activities with other children as well as with adults. As a result, there are few opportunities for discovery.
  • Another belief is that overemphasis on cognitive development can negatively affects social and personality development. This can lead to insecurity or cause children to become overly dependent on their parents. Because of the high expectation often placed on children at an early age, some of them may become very anxious.



Hot Housing

"Hot Housing" defined as the act of inducing infants to acquire knowledge that is typically acquired at a later developmental level(Segel 1987). The question is, how does most child development experts feel about this systemic stimulation and early learning approach? Professor Segel -- one of these experts -- used the term hot housing as a metaphor to convey what is happening to these children, simply because it reminded him of the tomato plant in the greenhouse, in an artificial climate, protected and sterile with chemicals that force growth out of season. He suggested that just as tomatoes grown out of season produce a flat taste, perhaps hot house children will be flat, unexciting individuals.

Most of these experts agreed that structured training of infants and young children too early in academic tasks tends to have serious negative repercussions on social and emotional development, as explained below.

  • Children not only lose play time but also experienced achievement anxiety and may have limited informal social skills.
  • Some may have limited cognitive development as well.
  • Despite rote memorization of complex definitions or advanced skills in reading, these children may encounter gaps in their their understanding of the physical world.
  • Early harvesting of hot house children may stunt full development, depress emotional range, and limit the ability to explore, create, and solve problems in new environments.

Suggestive Alternative to Hot Housing

Segel suggests these three alternatives to hot housing :

  1. Parents should instead, provide a rich and varied growth environment, complete with social supports.
  2. Parents should provide sufficient room for the child to self-select and self-pace cognitive development.
  3. Parents should also encourage social awareness, development of a strong self-concept, and positive methods of interacting with others.

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Conclusion

Not all children were born to be what we as parents sometimes would like them to be. Some were born gifted children in certain areas, while others weren't. As parents, there is nothing wrong in creating the type of environment that stimulates early learning, but when the resluts are far from our expecation, instead of trying to hot house an infant into a super baby, we should know when to quit.

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Comments 8 comments

ferotexphils profile image

ferotexphils 4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Just trained up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.


mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

Thanks ferotexphillis. You have brought me back to the days of Church/Sunday school..."Train up a child......"straight from the bible. We do need to instill a bit of teaching from the bible in our kids; this is very important in helping a child to be humble and also for self-acceptance.


ferotexphils profile image

ferotexphils 4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

I agree with mackyi that humbleness is very important and it is one of the teachings in the famous book called the bible. We have appreciated many writings only to find out later that all of them were derived from the bible. Life on earth could have been wonderful if and only if we all believe in that book.

Moreover that knowing where we came from is the start of self-acceptance. Knowing that we did not exist for nothing. We existed because of love. Love of yourself. Self esteem. Self acceptance. And just what is love? The book you mentioned also teaches a lot about love. The humbleness and self acceptance you mentioned have been taught a long time ago. We should not only instill those teachings but let our children wear them all the time.


mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

Thanks ferotexphilis,I do understand every single point you have made here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and these rather interesting points with me.


meditatio profile image

meditatio 4 years ago from North Vancouver

I think I would have liked to read what you meant by "a rich and varied growth environment". I am unsure how this environment can consistently be reached. After all, not all children are created equals.

My little one loves music so we have a tendency to select toys that will reinforce that aspect along with something else to work on. She's happy this way and seems to be a little bit in advance according to the doctor. However, I am not sure that I would get the same results with another kid who is not that much into music.

Interesting article though.


mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

Thanks for your feedback meditatio. You have mentioned that you would have liked to read what is meant by "A rich and varied growth environment", and that you are also uncertain as to how this environment can consistently be reached.

As far as the idea of a rich and varied growth environment is concerned, I think what the author is trying to say is that you should not limit the child's environment to only the things you want them to excel in. You should instead provided varied cognitive development opportunities and allow the child to choose what he/she is most interested in. Like you have said, your child loves music, and tends to choose toys that will reinforce that love for music. If you had bought only mathematical toys,maybe she would have shown no interest, even when you keep on pushing her. Eventually, you would have stunted that natural gift she had for music. So it's good to provide that varied growth environment so that the child can select what captures his/her interest most, because we all gravitates to something different in life.


meditatio profile image

meditatio 4 years ago from North Vancouver

Thanks Mackyi !


mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia Author

You are welcome meditatio.

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