Washington: The best teacher for a young mother is her baby, contend experts who train social workers to interact with first-time moms.
"We like to think of babies as `ordinary miracles`," said Victor Bernstein, research associate at the School of Social Service Administration (SSA), University of Chicago.
"Mothers are not only important to their kids, but kids are really important to their mothers," Bernstein said, according to a Chicago University statement.
For instance, a social worker may ask permission to pick up a newborn, ask the mother to call out the child`s name, and then watch as the baby turns to her voice, Bernstein said.
This hands-on experience can show a young mother the importance of talking to her infant, much more vividly than any discussion could.
Bernstein and others at the school have done extensive research on the needs of young mothers, particularly unwed teens.
Their work shows that a wide variety of parenting styles can be effective in rearing children, but helping a mother focus on her baby and make the baby a priority is key.
Early attention to children`s needs is becoming an increasingly important part of the work of social workers, said Sydney Hans, professor at SSA.