Infancy and Early Childhood Development

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Infancy and Early Childhood Development PSY/375 December 19, 2011 Infancy and Early Childhood Development Humans are in a constant state of changing. From conception to birth, infancy to early childhood, puberty, and adolescence, and through early adulthood and beyond the senior years, adaptation to change takes place. The nature of development is a process by which individuals grow and change throughout lives. Early childhood is the most important phase of development in one’s lifespan as the experiences in this stage of development sets the course for later stages of development. The stages of development begin with rapid evolvement for the infant from prenatal to three years of age. According to Berger (2008), “All theorist agree that the first two years are crucial, with early emotional and social development influenced by the parents’ behavior, the quality of day care, cultural patterns, and inborn traits” (p. 199). Nutritional needs, medical needs as well as emotional well-being are crucial elements that require family support. Family involvement and its environment will always play a key role in health and development as the child grows. The Family Affect on Infant Development The relationship between an infant and his or her caregivers is crucial and is the starting point or groundwork laid for future relationships (Kowalski & Westen, 2009, p. 459). This relationship will have an influence on how the child senses his or her environment and ultimately the world. Kowalski and Westen state, “In the middle of the twentieth century, psychoanalyst observed that children reared in large institutional homes, with minimal stimulation and no consistent contact with a loving caregiver, often became emotionally unstable, lacking in conscience, or mentally retarded” (2009, p. 460). Not only is the structure of the family important, it is equally important
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