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00Jan19a A cuddle a day...

Express Newspapers, 18.01.2000. For your information, Frits


A cuddle a day can keep a life of crime at bay

By Kirsty Walker, Social Affairs Correspondent

CHILDREN who are not cuddled when they are young are in danger of turning into violent adults.

New research has shown parents who starve their children of physical affection are damaging them emotionally and physically.

Leading psychologists say they have also found a strong link between high levels of crime and societies where touching is frowned upon.

Fears about claims of sexual abuse and the threat of lawsuits have made parents and teachers increasingly nervous about touching children in public.

Researchers watched physical interaction between parents and children sitting in restaurants in France and America.

The French, who have a strong culture of openly displaying physical affection, were found to touch their children 110 times in only half an hour. Whereas in America, which has a higher rate of abuse and adult violence, the parents only made contact with their children twice in 30 minutes.

Researchers also watched children and parents together in playgrounds and found that youngsters who were not touched very often were far more violent and aggressive towards other children.

Dr Tiffy Field, who presented her research at the American Psychological Association conference in Boston, said: "There is a clear link between violence and low levels of physical affection. In the French playgrounds the young children were frequently seen to leave their climbing, swinging and lunch-box activities, and run to their parents for a hug and a kiss.

"This sort of affectionate touching occurred a quarter of the time but only seven per cent of the time in American playgrounds.

"But aggression between children occurred 37 per cent of the time in US playgrounds and only one per cent of the time on the Paris playground."

Dr Field added: "There are some schools in America where a child may have fallen over, be bleeding and screaming out for help, and yet the teacher will not touch them either to clean them up or to comfort them.

"They are scared they will either lose their job or be thumped with a hefty law suit.

"It is extremely damaging to our children and studies have also shown that children who do not receive basic stimulus of touch, also grow at a slower rate than children who are touched."

Dr Field added that modern fathers were especially afraid of touching their children for fear of being accused of sexually molesting them.She also said that people who are starved of cuddling when they are young are also more likely to grow up with depression and anxiety because they feel unloved. Express Newspapers, 18 January 2000 ---


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