Infancy and Early Childhood Development

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Development is the process of growth organically throughout a human being’s life span, i.e. birth to death. This process includes changes in aspects such as physical and mental growth, intellectuality, social life, and development in one’s personality (Adams, 2001). Under development, we are going to focus mainly on infancy and early childhood development. Infancy is the period time when the process of development is extremely fast-moving, it’s the first year of life, during this time, and in a healthy infant, the weight is likely to triple the weight at birth. Early childhood is also a process of development in human beings start, at the age of 1 year to 8 years (White. F, 2005). In this essay, we are going to combine the two stages. We will look at how families affect the development of infants and young children; we will also evaluate different parenting styles and their influence on parenting during infancy and early childhood and lastly, we will talk about education on early childhood education and its influence on cognitive development.

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How do parents and family members affect the development of infants and young children? Under this subtopic, we will discuss the benefits of the family to the child, the effect of parent involvement, effective approaches on parent involvement, and the challenges that they face. Early childhood is the age bracket of birth to 8 years, in this time children go through a high rate of growth. In the growing period, the environment acts as the key factor. Changes and challenges that are faced by grown-ups can be traced back to their childhood and the parenting style they had. These challenges include; health issues, poor literacy, and numeracy, obesity, use of drugs, and criminality. Psychologists and medical researchers have stated the early childhood to be the most vital part of human development throughout his life. Therefore, the involvement of the parents and the family, in general, contributes a lot and is very vital in the facilitation of children’s development. For instance, in a family where is a strong parent-child relationship, the parent is likely to be aware of the child’s activities. By so doing he or she is able to shape the child to a better adult (White, 2005). In addition, in a situation where family members intervene in the child’s education at school, the child is likely to perform better. Those are the benefits to the developing children.

Researchers have found that family members who involve themselves in the development of their children developments develop positive attitudes toward the children and in themselves too. The effective approaches to parents’ involvement include visits to their schools and parent meetings. The problems faced by these family members in their participation in the children’s development include, they question themselves whether they will keep the commitments and promises, on the other hand, they tend to blame the external factor such as the schools or the children caretakers for the child’s behavior(White, 2005).

There are different parenting styles namely; authoritarian parenting, authoritative parenting, permissive parenting, and uninvolved parenting. These styles and their impacts shall be entailed below. Authoritarian parenting style entails children’s expectations by children to strictly follow the instructions and rules that are put down by their parents for them. Punishment is the outcome of failure to follow the rules.this style is accompanied by rudeness and high demands by the parents to the children. They expect the orders to be followed in the absence of explanations or questions. Secondly, the authoritative style of parenting is similar to the authoritarian style since there are rules and guidelines; the only difference is that it’s more democratic than in the authoritarian parents. In this style, parents listen to their children’s questions and explanations. In case of failure, parents do not opt for punishment as the first choice but are more forgiving and understanding. This parenting entails parents who first access before restricting a behavior or conduct and the disciplinary technique is more supportive and encouraging than punitive. In this case, they act as friends rather than parents, this is due to the fact that they communicate to their children in general and avoid confrontation by allowing self-regulation to their children. Lastly, the uninvolved style of parenting entails little or no demand of the parent to the children since there is little communication between the parent and the child. Rejection and neglect of the role of the parent to cater and provide for their needs are common in this uninvolved parenting style (Michaels, 1999).

Each style has a different impact on the children, in the authoritarian style, the children grow being honest and obedient but lack aspects such as self-belief, self-confidence and esteem, happiness, and low participation in their social life. In the authoritative style, the children develop self-confidence and happy adults. In permissive parenting, the product of the children is defined by a lack of happiness and parental love. Lastly, uninvolved parenting is the worst applied style of parenting in early childhood. These children do not see the importance of life and lack self-drive (Michaels, 1999). From my own point of view, Authoritative is the best parenting style in early childhood since it allows the child to express his views and thoughts, the style also installs discipline in children who result in happy, successful, and innovative individuals.

The UNESCO ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Foundation) unit defines early childhood as the best time for learning since the brain is at a good development rate. It’s important not to include daycare and childcare in the education of the child. Early education is mainly about the relationship between the teacher and the children to facilitate learning. This means that a teacher has more work to do rather than delivering learning; he or she needs to show more appreciation to these children. For instance, giving presents for actively participating in the work, acts as a motivation to the children. This is what makes an early childhood educator or teacher. Therefore, it’s evident that early childhood influences the cognitive development stages which include the sensorimotor stage (between birth and 2 years), preoperational stage (2-7 years), concrete operational stage (7-12 years), and the formal operational stage (12 and beyond) (White, 2005). Cognitive skills in early childhood education are of much value and therefore teachers are encouraged to use them.

We can conclude by saying that the development of a child depends much on the environment that he or she was brought up in, the type of family, and the parenting that the child received. In addition, the outside environment i.e. the peers also play a role in the behavior of the child through influences.

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References

Adams, M. (2001). The psychological development of the child. New York: Guilford Press.

Michaels, E. (1999). Parenting and child development in “nontraditional” families. New York: Oxford University press.

White, F. (2005). Developmental Psychology: From Infancy to Adulthood. New York: Diane publishers.

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