Carlo Schuengel - 200x200These are the reasons why we started the Generaties² project in 2009. This wide-ranging research project began by asking how pregnant women prepare for motherhood. The next step is to consider the child. The child is something new for the mother, but everything is new to the child, who rapidly learns from its parents and later from other people what life is and what its own place in life is. The first children who took part in this project are six years old now, and have started going to school. Do children at school consciously or unconsciously make use of skills at school that they learned at home?
We are certainly not the only researchers in the world who follow children in their development. There are however very few who pay such close attention to mothers, in particular to what happens to them at a physical and mental level during pregnancy. And we are also unique in the special efforts we have made to recruit mothers who had problems themselves during the early stages of their development as children. We have also begun a trial of an intervention that can be applied to parents who found out during the pregnancy that their baby would be born with a disability. We hope that the insights we gain from this study will enable us to give parents-to-be useful support in preparing for the important, but sometimes difficult, task of bringing up their child.  

I would like to see this study continuing for a very long time, as there is still much to be learned in this field. The fact that we will be able to profit from one another’s knowledge and skills in the new faculty will be a great advantage. Students and researchers from different disciplines will be able to challenge one another here to explore new fields together. For example, some children are very good at expressing themselves through movements and gestures. It would be very interesting to investigate, in cooperation with researchers from the department of human movement sciences, whether parents and children influence one another consciously or unconsciously in this respect, and how parents and teachers can help such children to make the most of their skills. To be continued, I hope.