Development Physical & Emotional

Can Babies Sense Negative Emotions? (Stress, Anger, Bad Energy)

It might be a cliché but babies are like sponges, with the ability to soak up and take in what’s happening around them.

From around the age of 4 months, babies become more aware of their surroundings, and this gradually increases as they progress through their developmental leaps.

Parents may therefore wonder if their newborn baby, infant or toddler can sense negative emotions such as stress, anger, or other forms of bad energy.

Studies show that babies can indeed pick up on the energy that is being projected from others, and can therefore sense when someone is stressed, depressed or in a bad mood.

Can Babies Sense Negative Energy or Bad Energy?

Babies spend a lot of time observing and taking in the world around them.

After all, everything is new and exciting, so by using their powers of observation, a baby is able to learn more about the fascinating world they’ve recently entered.

And there’s no prizes for guessing who babies are most emotionally attuned to – it’s the people who are closest to them, and that usually means mom and dad.

So when a parent or caregiver experiences and shows negative energy or bad energy, there’s a strong chance these emotions will be sensed and picked up by the child.

As a point in case, have you every noticed that by merely using a calm and soothing voice you may be able to settle your crying baby?

Or when someone who is “good with babies” tries to calm an upset their baby, the mere presence of this calm, relaxed person can be enough to calm your little one?

Scientists believe babies are endowed with compassion from birth, and this enables a baby to have a sense of empathy which leads them to later develop their sense of good and bad, and right and wrong.

Can Babies Sense Anger?

Nobody is perfect, and there’s nothing like a bad day at work, an argument with your partner or the compounding effect of a lack of sleep to put you in an angry mood now and again.

But as a parent, you’re probably wondering whether your baby can actually sense your anger.

As we saw above, babies can pick up on the emotions of those around them, and in particular the emotions of those who they spend the most time with.

So the answer is yes, babies can sense anger, and this applies both to anger directed at them and anger directed at someone else.

But according to experts, there is no need to worry if you accidentally shout in front of your baby, especially as these are normal emotions, and your child will display these same emotions themselves throughout life.

If you do happen to show anger or some other negative emotion in front of your baby, the best thing you can do is show them how you have regained your composure using techniques like taking a deep breath, before apologizing and moving on.

See Also: Navigating Your Child’s Early Development

Can Babies Sense Evil or Death?

Some people also wonder if babies have the ability to sense other negative things like evil or even death.

According to experts, babies (and toddlers for that matter) have no concept whatsoever of death.

So while a baby may be able to pick up and sense the emotions of those around them if a death of a close family member has occurred, they will not be able to understand the real significance of this event.

Babies cannot understand terms like “death” and “forever”, so while they can sense the feelings and emotions that a death might cause for those nearest to them, they cannot sense or comprehend the loss or true significance of what death really means.

Interestingly, studies do however suggest that babies can tell good from evil, and even more interestingly, there is research to suggest that babies as young as six months can distinguish between good and bad people.

Signs of A Stressed Baby

As we covered in a recent article, babies can experience stress, and it is often caused by a wide range of factors, including:

  • Frustration
  • Physical pain
  • Negative home environment
  • Separation anxiety
  • A change in other important areas such as starting daycare

While babies cannot verbally tell you how they are feeling, they can communicate their stress in other ways, particularly via:

  • Reduced eye contact and looking away
  • Crying more than usual
  • Sleeping less
  • Overeating or a reduced appetite

See Also:

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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