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Trying Out RIE Parenting, Letting Babies Learn On Own

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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BOSTON (CBS) — Have you ever wondered just how much a baby understands? A group of moms and some experts believe it may a lot more than we think, and they are using that idea as the basis for a new style of parenting.

It’s called RIE parenting, which stands for an organization called Resources for Infant Educarers. It’s a philosophy that teaches moms and dads to do less while the baby learns on his own.

Julie Papadopolous is a RIE mom. When she serves a meal to her 17-month-old son, Elias, he is not in a highchair. Instead, he sits at a small table on the floor. He even drinks out of a glass.

“He has the freedom to get up if he doesn’t want to eat,” Papadopolous explained.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.

Kristen Eliasburg teaches parents how to work the RIE style of parenting into their every day lives. “The approach emphasizes a certain basic trust between the infant and the parent starting from day one,” she said.

At a playgroup of RIE families, mothers sit back and watch their toddlers play with simple items. They do not intercede unless there is danger. If a child falls or takes a toy from another, the children must work it out by themselves.

“We tend to baby babies, and that just doesn’t make sense to me,” one mom said. “They’re humans. Just because he can’t say complete sentences to me doesn’t mean I have to talk baby talk to him,” she added.

Some childhood development experts like the RIE approach, but Professor Catherine Tamus Lamondus says the RIE philosophy has no basis in research.

“If the baby is happy sitting in the high chair looking at you and splattering and playing with food, use the high chair,” she said.

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