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Mind-mindedness is a term used to measure responsiveness within the parent-child relationship. A parent who is “mind-minded” recognises their infant as an individual with thoughts, desires and preferences and not just a creature with needs to be met. Mind-mindedness is related to several positive child outcomes such as, secure attachment, better emotion regulation and improved social understanding.

Most parents infer that their babies' behavior (at least for some of the time) is governed by things going on inside their heads: desires, emotions, likes, dislikes, thoughts, beliefs. However, the key difference among parents is how accurate they are when “reading their babies mind”.

For example, if a child becomes overstimulated during a game – turning away, zoning out or making jerky movements – a “mind-minded” parent accurately interprets these signals and responds appropriately by pausing the game, allowing the child to recover. A less attuned parent, might misread these signals, think the child is getting bored and take the interaction up a notch.

Taking the time to really tune-in, learn our child’s cues and be conscious of our responses helps them learn to better recognise and manage their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

References: Meins et al. (2002)

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