Essay: Human Mind

Pages: 7 (2288 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Children  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] At this age these working models are a part of non-declarative memory (Perry, 2002). Such working models, once established in the brain, are enduring and relatively resistant to change even though they can change through changes in parental style and experiences with new relationships. However, such change becomes increasing harder to do after childhood as evidenced by the actions of children removed from abusive parents and placed with foster parents who continue to behave in ways that appear to evoke abusive responses from their foster parents (Lyons-Ruth & Zeanah, 1993). The working models can be changed slowly, but such change requires painstaking care and slow and steady work. Given this, their impact during childhood and many aspects of later development is enduring. One of the premiere theorists of human attachment theory, John Bowlby, believed that working models of attachment tend to persist throughout life and are activated by parenthood (Bowlby, 1988). For instance, Benoit and Parker (1994) reported that a parent's attachment classification prior to the birth of their child predicted the infant's attachment classification at one year in 70% of infants studied. Thus, the behavioral differences in the individual that are attributable to the early environmental influences typically shape the entire course of later life in many important respects (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008). Since a child a one-year-old is unable to learn via verbal instruction, logic, reading, etc. It is clear that the actions of the parents have been internalized by the child. Parents who are supporting and nurturing will have a much better chance of having children with the same qualities. In addition, the children will be better adjusted and able to develop and deal with their life's issues.

It is then very important from a developmental perspective that children receive a supportive and nurturing environment in their early years (Brehony, 2000). The effects of the lack of such an environment can be seen in animal studies, studies of infants deprived of support and contact, and in the human attachment literature. Nurturing supportive environments foster more stable development and facilitate genetic potential by enhancing the changes in the child's brain circuits that occur during development and especially during critical periods of development. The stimulation provided by parents via active, responsive, playful caregiving is what children need to develop; without it children will not thrive. It is clear that brain circuits and functions maintain their vigor with reinforcement and continued use. There is less evidence that extra stimulation or support will lead to denser brain circuits and smarter, better-adjusted children, and in fact too much pampering might be counterproductive (Perry, 2002). Overindulgence to children beyond age two or three can have its own set of negative consequences which have been recognized as far back as Freud (Siegler, DeLoache, & Eisenberg, 2006).

The research on the effects of support and nurturance in children continues to yield useful information. By continuing to study the specific elements and types of interactions in the early environment that are conducive to optimal psychological and behavioral development, it is possible to identify ways to best nurture and support infants and children. The goal is to provide each and every individual the opportunity to maximize the opportunities for successful relationships and personal happiness within the natural limitations of biology and inheritance.

References

Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: Parent-child attachment and healthy human development. London: Routledge.

Benoit, D. & Parker, K.C.H. (1994). Stability and transmission of attachment across three generations. Child Development, 65(5), 1444 -- 1456.

Brehony, K. (2000). Montessori, individual work and individuality in the elementary school classroom. History of Education, 29(2), 115-128.

Dennet, D. (1998). Consciousness Explained. New York: Little Brown & Co.

Gerrig, R. And Zimbardo, P. (2008). Psychology and Life. New York: Allyn & Bacon.

Harlow, H.F. & Suomi, S.J. (1971). Social recovery by isolation-reared monkeys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America 68(7), 1534-1538.

Jones, P.E. (1995). Contradictions and unanswered questions in the Genie case: A fresh look at the linguistic evidence. Language and Communication, 15 (3), 261 -- 280.

Lyons-Ruth, K. & Zeanah, C.H. (1993). The family context of infant mental health: I. Affective development in the primary caregiving relationship. In C.H. Zeanah (Ed) Handbook of infant mental health. New York: Guilford Press.

Perry, B.T. (2002). Childhood experience and the expression of genetic potential: What childhood neglect tells us about nature and nurture. Brain and Mind, 3, 79-100.

Pinker, S. (2002). The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. New York: Penguin.

Richardson, K. (2000). The Making of Intelligence: Maps of the Mind. New York: Columbia University Press.

Siegler, R.S.,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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