Child Development and the Environment

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Child Development and the Environment
Many key factors contribute to and determine the development of a child, be it positive or negative. However, in my opinion the most influential factor is the environment; it has the potential to enhance or interrupt both their early years and later development. In her poem, Dr. Dorothy Law speaks about the link between the environment and a child’s development.

When I read this poem for one point really stood out at me which was ‘if children live with hostility, they learn to fight.’ The first thought that came to mind was children that are exposed to domestic violence.

Living within an environment full of hostility, many children become vulnerable; they suffer from low self-confidence and esteem. ‘Children who witness violence are at a greater risk for developing anti social behaviours which in turn can lead to suicide or suicide attempts later in life ’since they feel useless and unworthy. So to them, suicide becomes a way out of the horrific situations that they must endure. Most children who grow up within a hostile environment learn from an early age to be prepared for anything. They learn to protect themselves and tend to become extremely aggressive and have violent outbursts. This is because they don't have a safe outlet for releasing their emotions. If they show emotion at home, they could suffer repercussions like being hit or punched. ‘Bullying and domestic violence are cyclical – those children who witness domestic violence are at a much higher risk of becoming both bullies and victims of bullying.’ This is what happened to a very close friend of mine. She grew up in a hostile environment with an authoritarian care giver. She always felt smothered by this constant control over her and needed a place to vent her emotions, so she turned to bullying during elementary school. It all began when one girl made fun of her in class. One day my friend put her hand up to answer a question and when she got it wrong,...
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