Betsy Hart

Mead goes on to lay out the overwhelming science for dumping the super-baby approach. But, she's not the first. In 2005, Marina Krakovsky reported in the "Stanford Report" from Stanford University that while scientists had discredited the claims that Mozart affects babies' brains, the belief in the "Mozart effect" had still exploded in popularity over the years, becoming a myth that couldn't be dislodged.

As Krakovsky points out, the original Mozart-makes-baby-smarter theory came from a 1993 Nature journal report. It found a small and temporary (15-minute) increase in a college person's IQ after listening to classical music. Babies were not studied.

Still, the Nature report _ along with other research that showed some major growth in a baby's brain in those early years of life _ essentially ignited the "baby brain" rage. The "findings" made the cover of Newsweek, and were the basis of countless news articles.

I know, because my mother used to send them to me.

Unfortunately, I don't think the baby-brain "wave" will end anytime soon. A new mom and dad don't want to hear: "Trust your instincts, and just enjoy your baby. Your natural, loving interaction with him in those first years is all the stimulation he needs."

Too many parents want to build a "better, stronger, smarter baby," and they believe there is an expert out there who can help them do it.

Sadly, it seems many of today's moms and dads want to believe that it takes an expert to raise a child _ maybe because, in a lot of ways, that's just so much easier than believing it takes a parent.


Betsy Hart

Betsy Hart is a nationally syndicated columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service. Her column on cultural and family issues, “From the Hart,” is distributed each week to hundreds of newspapers cross the country. Betsy’s first book, "It Takes a Parent: How the Culture of Pushover Parenting is Hurting out Kids – and What to do About It," was released in September, 2005, and was a top seller for its publisher, Putnam Books.