Boys Who Use Pacifiers Grow Up to Be Heartless Creeps (Sort Of)

Say What!? 88

pacifierWhen my kids were newborns, I hid all the pacifiers we received as gifts in fear that using them would cause nipple confusion. Plus, I really didn't need another thing to clean. Then my mom bought us some fancy ones most like a woman's nipples and whispered to me, "Just in case." We had one of those "just in case" moments and used them for half a second before my son decided he liked to suck on his foot better and my daughter found her thumb. Thank goodness for that because researchers just revealed that baby boys who use pacifiers turn out to be emotionless jerks who seem to have Botox faces without any expression or empathy for others. 

I wonder if that explains some of the guys I've dated.

Girls come out unscathed. And there hasn't been a study on baby boys who suck their own toes yet, so the verdict is out on my son. But no one wants their precious little boy to turn out to be an apathetic dolt. What the heck is this study anyway?

More from The Stir: Bottles, Sippy Cups & Pacifiers Can Be Hazardous to Your Kid's Health

Before all pacifier users start freaking out, I will let you know that the researchers say nighttime use seems to be okay. It can be damaging however when we plug our boys' mouths up in the daytime when they should be mimicking our facial expressions. We can shut girls up with the thing any time and we will still turn out to be emotional and heartfelt. I think I find this girls exempt part most fascinating. We're essentially bulletproof here. Perhaps that makes us sup -- okay, I'll stop. Back to the boys ... our poor indifferent men ...

The study was published in Basic and Applied Social Psychology and there were three experiments that yielded these findings -- so they checked them thrice! Those researchers tied "heavy pacifier use as a young child to poor results on various measures of emotional maturity."

Wow. Way to make moms who used pacifiers on their sons who turned out to be callous creeps feel even worse. As if no cards on birthdays, no smiles in the mornings, and years of enduring the cold stares weren't enough.

Paula Niedenthal is the lead author of the bad news that basically says boys who use pacis turn into Neanderthal-types (odd how those names are so similar). She said that mimicking another is an important learning tool for babies. "We can talk to infants, but at least initially they aren't going to understand what the words mean. So the way we communicate with infants at first is by using the tone of our voice and our facial expressions." A pacifier in a baby's mouth is going to inhibit that child's ability to mirror these expressions.

Niedenthal -- whose work is supported by the French, who of course know more than everyone else about raising babies -- put it simply: "What if you always had something in your mouth that prevented you from mimicking and resonating with the facial expression of somebody?"

C'est vrai. It would turn a guy into a robot. Quick! Get those pacifiers out now!

This whole thing just sucks. But parents, instead of feeling awful that you let your little guy pacify himself with a binky, let him watch some Charlie Chaplin movies or sing to any My Chemical Romance record on repeat -- mouth unobstructed -- and I bet he'll end up nurturing lost puppies, letting spiders out of the house instead of killing them, not breaking young girls' hearts, and truly showing love for his mother.

What do you think of this study? Does it worry you or make you want to help your son kick the pacifier habit?


Image via edenpictures/Flickr

baby development, in the news, pacifiers


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onefo... onefootcutiepie


I have two boys. The oldest never took a paci. The younger boy would walk around with 2 in his mouth. The paci boy is by far more campassionate and tenderhearted and emotional than the non paci boy....       :/

Heath... Heather.Rose

My boy used a paci and he is very loving. He is now 2. He shares great, and my biggest problem with his is he is to cuddly. Sometimes mom needs her space :)

nonmember avatar Rita Carlson

I think this "study" is a complete load of B.S. My now three-year-old son used a paci and he is such a sweet, thoughtful, tender little boy.

nonmember avatar Jenny

Oh that's bogus. My son who is 6 used a paci until 3 and he is such a sweet, endearing boy. He has a great deal of empathy for others, he still loves to cuddle and express his love for others. Maybe those kids also had moms who ignored them, hmm.

cassi... cassie_kellison

My first used a binky (paci) for all of five minutes! He is pretty emotional and empathetic. If I don't give one to my 4mo old I would NEVER get any sleep! It's not plugged in all day every day, just to sleep.

nonmember avatar Amy

I think this is crap. My 4 yr old took his all day every day til i threw them all away on his third birthday an he is the most loving compassionate lil boy i have ever met.

megab... megaboosmom

As usual, a bunch of moms screaming that the scientific research absolutely can't be correct because their sons are perfect. Anecdotal evidence means nothing.

Kate Tietje

I think it probably depends on a lot more than simply whether or not the boy uses a pacifier.  Using one very often may make communication and emotions more difficult, a skill that does not come as easily to boys as girls.  But if moms are still interacting with them on a regular basis and trying to keep the pacis out while they are playing together, at least, then it will probably counteract the effects.

My older son used a paci until he was almost 2, and was very attached to it.  We tried to keep it out of his mouth as much as possible during the day time although he still did use it.  And then it was gone, he began talking in earnest a few months later, and is a very sweet little boy.  Me connecting with him and holding him and helping him express his emotions helped, of course.

My younger son will take a paci if he's transitioning from nursing to bed while asleep at nap time.  Pretty much no other time.  He does not use it during the day/awake, he does not use it at bedtime, and he does not use it in the middle of the night.  He's never been a fan.  I can't say, so far, that either boy is "more" emotional or connected.  The fact that I co-slept with both, breastfed on demand, wore them, etc. I think has more to do with their ability to express emotion than whether or not they used a paci.  However, most moms do not parent that way so that would not have been expressed in the study.

Mrscj... Mrscjones

I call BS. You willing to believe that a pacifier in the mouth is the reason why some men are jackasses but it doesn't affect little girls who are sucking on the same pacifiers and unable to mimic facial expressions as well but are somehow immune. I think it have more to do with how men are raised not the pacifier they suck when they couldn't talk and more then likely don't remember.

the4m... the4mutts

Hahahahhaaaa how. Stupid.

Me = mother of 4. Oldest = 9yr old boy that would rather smile, nurture, and help out everyone around him, than almost anything else.

Again I say how, stupid.

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