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Infancy and Early Childhood

Development begins in the womb and continues throughout the lifespan.  During each stage of development, milestones are meant causing the evolution of the individual.  Infancy and early childhood are vital periods of information absorption that leads the child to independence for later life.  There are many elements that aid in the development of an individual from the family unit and parenting styles to early education that influences cognitive development.

Family Affect

During infancy, all interaction influences the growth and development of feelings and emotions (Parent-Child, 2014).  As the child cries for their needs, the parents fulfill the desire in turn causing a bonding connection with the infant (Parent-Child, 2014).  The bond is the creates an attachment that is central to the infant’s development.  Those who identify with a secure attachment to their parents or caregiver tend to demonstrate healthy, happy, and competent relationships, not only in the family unit, but also builds the foundation for future relationships in a social setting (Parent-Child, 2014).  Additionally, a secure bond helps develop an emotional balance and ensure that disruptions of life are easier bounced back from (Segal, 2014).    Any disruption in the bonding process may have difficulty relating their emotions and feelings with others inhibiting their ability to develop healthy, loving, and positive relationships in the future (Segal, 2014).

The development of a secure attachment in an infant develops pathways in the brain that allow the infant to develop self-confidence later, deal with conflict in a positive manner ultimately resulting in a creative, optimistic, and hopeful adult (Segal, 2014).  Disruptions in the bond create an adult who has insecurities, developmental deficits, and feelings of aggression and anger, all of which hinder intimate relationships (Segal, 2014).  During infancy, development is primarily an emotional and security bond development, but as the infant enters into early childhood, that bond develops into a tool for teaching socialization.

During early childhood, the primary caretaker becomes a teacher to the child, as socialization is developed (Parent, 2014).  The responsiveness and amount of demand emphasized by the caretaker are the precursors to the child’s social development.  Responsiveness indicates warmth and acceptance allowing for open-mindedness from the parent who supports the child’s individuality, creativity, and confidence (Parent, 2014).  A demanding parent exhibits consistency in guidelines promoting a stable foundation for the child to grow from (Parent, 2014).  An unresponsive parent indicates coldness, feelings of rejection and insensitivity which supports feelings of reclusion and being unwanted (Parent, 2014).  A parent who inflicts little demand on a child supports an excess of freedom, minimal control, and tend to give in to their child’s demands offering little guidance (Parent, 2014).

During early childhood, autonomy becomes the primary desire (Parent, 2014).  During this stage, the child takes risks and challenges their parents, not necessarily misbehaving or acting out, but in an effort to start their evolution into individuality (Parent, 2014).  During this time, the parent is relied on for proper guidance and structure to provide a solid foundation from which they can grow (Parent, 2014).  The learning necessary will stem from the initial attachment developed in infancy (Parent, 2014).  The parenting style used is the precursor to the child’s development throughout life beginning in infancy.

Parenting Styles

Parenting styles tend to be precursors for the academics, socialization, and psychological well-being of the child (Darling, 1995-2014).  Parenting styles reflect the responsiveness and demand imposed on a child and represents, the values, beliefs, and behaviors of the family unit (Darling, 1995-2014).  Successful parenting requires a mutual balance of response and demand combined with consistent practices.

An authoritative parent exhibits both responsiveness and demand.  The parent sets high expectations of the child while adhering to the child’s emotional and social needs, but also imposes fair and consistent discipline when the rules are broken (Darling, 1995-2014).  They encourage independence and promote opinion and options discussions in an effort to build the independence (Daring, 1995-2014).  Additionally, authoritative parents demonstrate flexibility as the child attempts to justify decisions and will adjust the consequences accordingly if the child proves their case (Darling, 1995-2015)

An authoritarian parent exhibits demand, but little responsiveness.  The parent sets high standards of expectations with very strict rules, but responds minimally to the child’s emotional needs (Darling, 1995-2014).  Parents expect the child to obey all rules with no exceptions and imposes consistent discipline with little to no explanation.  Additionally, the child is not encouraged to discuss options or opinions, and there is little flexibility from the parent (Darling, 1995-2014).

An authoritative parent seems to be the best parenting style.  The child is encouraged through love and understanding to develop into an independent individual who is capable of making decisions and has an understanding of the consequences they may face.  The parent is nurturing, but strict solidifying the child in the foundation created for them.  Promoting a child to discusses opinion and options and justly present their case allows for the child to feel important and that they hold a meaning to life.  Discipline, a child for every action with no explanation, may hinder decision making and social skills.  A child parented in this manner will probably grow to be confident, content, and socially adept leading them to a stable, promising future.

Early Education on Cognitive Development

            Early childhood education enhances cognitive development and increases intelligence (Berger, 2011).  There are several types of early childhood education that promote behavior, creativity, individuality, independence, language skills, and social development (Berger, 2011).  There are child-centered programs aimed at teaching the child to follow self-interests in lieu of adult-directed interests.  The program promotes the child  to become independent in their  right through the promotion of creativity and pride of achievements (Berger, 2011).  Teacher-centered programs set the child up with a curriculum that teaches academics through a reward system.  Positive and negative reinforcements are used to encourage the academic learning and to promote good behavior (Berger, 2011).  Children with developmental deficits or delays can attend an intervention program, such as Head Start, which focuses on the areas in deficit.  Behavior, language, and social skills are the primary aim of an intervention education in early childhood and taught through special one on one learning, nurture and praise, and separation techniques (Berger, 2011).  Education is vital to the development of a child.  A successful education promotes a continuance of education throughout the lifespan (Berger, 2011).

Conclusion

Development begins in the womb with the physical aspect of life.  Learning begins in the womb as the fetus takes in sounds and words and the brain develops.  As an infant, building a bond and attachment sets the foundation for a relationship that will later develop into a learning tool.  Through response and demand, a parent who sets the trust and emotional well-being for the child will benefit socialization and learning throughout life.  As a child is a sponge, the parenting style utilized will allow the child to know his or her boundaries and promote healthy development that will lead to stability and further learning.  Through education, the child increases socialization and academic learning increasing cognition that will be utilized throughout life.

References:

Berger, K. S. (2011). The Developing Person Through the Life Span (8th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database..

Darling, N. (1995-2014). Community Counseling Services, Inc.. Retrieved from http://www.hsccs.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=1947&cn=82

Parent-Child Relationships – Infancy, Toddlerhood, Preschool, School age, Adolescence, Adults Read more: Parent-Child Relationships – Infancy, Toddlerhood, Preschool, School age, Adolescence, Adults – Experimental Group, Emotional Development, Parents, and Children – JRank Articles http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/472/Parent-Child-Relationships.html#ixzz3DRXt16kE. (2014)NetIndustries.org, (), . Retrieved from http://<a href=”http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/472/Parent-Child-Relationships.html”>Parent-Child Relationships – Infancy, Toddlerhood, Preschool, School age, Adolescence, Adults</a>

Segal, Ph. D., J., & Laffe, Ph. D., J. (2014). Attachment and Adult Relationships. HelpGuide.org, (), . Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eqa_attachment_bond.htm

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