factors affecting the development of a child

Topics: Infant, Developmental psychology, Infant mortality Pages: 6 (2014 words) Published: December 22, 2013
ANALYSE THE FACTORS THAT CAN AFFECT THE DEVELOPMENT OF BABIES IN THE FIRST YEAR OF LIFE. ‘Neuroses are only acquired during early childhood even though their symptoms may not make their appearance until much later. The events of the first year are of paramount importance for a child’s whole subsequent life’. (Freud, 1902) Regardless of age, nationality, gender or ethnicity every human has something in common; we are all born as babies. This essay will examine and research factors in depth in order to simplify the complicated process of identifying key factors including scientific data as well as theories and methods derived from experts of different fields. A diverse view will be analysed of the developing process in order to understand the intricate events underlying these factors from the first beat of the heart to a moment by moment development and co-ordination of thousands of biological events of the nervous and endocrine systems of the new-born will also be monitored. Our research will engage in a holistic approach, reflecting on the nativism versus empiricism debate. After looking at a broad spectrum of topics, issues and views and their implications on certain theories and methodologies, this evidence will guide us to conclude a hypothesis on factors that relate to the effect of the development of a baby in its first year. Looking from an evolutionary perspective, biological explanations suggest that the bond of attachment occurs naturally as a result of innate urges on the part of their baby and their carer during a critical period (Bowlby). In support of this, Lorenz carried out an experiment on geese that had just hatched and been removed from their mothers, only for them to see humans and sure enough they imprinted the scientist instead of their mothers. Similarly, this lead Bowlby to hypothesize that both human infants and mothers has evolved an innate need made in an optimal time which propelled them towards their mothers. For this reason he also predicted that young children who do not experience a warm and continuing attachment in the first year would fail to develop a healthy relationship in the future. In other words Bowlby claimed that ‘mother love in infancy is as important for mental health as are vitamins and proteins for physical health’. In contrast, a longitudinal study conducted on a large number of boy’s aged 9-12 years found quite a few who had been separated from their mothers as infants but seemed well adjusted as they entered adolescence (Rutter, 1933). However, causality is difficult to determine making it difficult to disentangle the effect of maternal separation on later behaviour as there may be other confounding factors that may contribute or even cause the final result. By far, the most critical blow to attachment theory comes from ‘reversal’ studies which show early disruption followed by complete recovery (Clarke and Clarke). Similarly, recent research has shown that babies are much more flexible and resilient than Bowlby thought and the bond between the mother and child is not irreplaceable or irreversible but babies are capable of forming attachments to several adults and have been revealed possible and successful e.g. adopted children (The Tizard study of adopted children). Still, much of this information is based on retrospective data and so may not be accurate in drawing firm conclusions to maternal attachment being an exclusive factor that can affect the development of babies in their first year of life.

Additionally, the human givens approach also asserts the view that there are biological needs which when not met lead to severe distress in humans such as an infant growing up in a socially deprived environment. This has also been positively correlated to poorer health and thus weaker cognitive development in young children (DCSF, 2009) which may be because living in a low income household or deprived area makes it more likely that infants will be exposed to risk factors that...
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