Believe it or not, it took a rogue, outcast scientist to prove that it was okay, in fact necessary, for parents to hug their children.

Less than 50 years ago, psychologists, pediatricians, even the federal government warned parents against hugging their children. Government pamphlets were given out that said things like “Never kiss a baby, especially in the mouth” and “Don’t rock or play with children.”

Harry Harlow set out to prove that love is important to the development of a child, and that it plays the crucial role to bonding a mother to her child. He tested his hypothesis in a series of experiments using insanely cute baby monkeys:

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Harlow's experiments convinced many people that a baby doesn’t bond simply from the need for food, but the need for security and reassurance that in turn develops a healthy sense of curiosity and confidence.

The next time you pick up your little monkey, don't take that loving embrace for granted.

girl with monkey

Photo by Cutglassdecanter.