AdoptResources's Blog

blogging about adoption, attachment, parenting & family life

The Importance of the Early Years

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Children’s early experiences give them an understanding of their world, the people in it and themselves. From this they build their sense of self, trust in others and start on the building blocks that will help them learn. Language skills develop, along with the ability to form relationships and interact with others. Physical and motor skills develop, along with sensory awareness. A huge number of seemingly small steps occur equipping the child with key skills to function and thrive in our society.

There has been a lot in the news recently about parenting, from the three main parties in the UK competing for the family friendly vote, to the debate surrounding a horrific crime committed by two young boys who have been on the receiving end of some spectacularily poor parenting.

‘Good enough’ parenting provides children with the right environment to grow and develop emotionally and physically. There will always be the odd bad day where some of our parenting choices might not be the best, but on the whole, most parents are motivated to do the right thing for their children and this can only be a good thing. The parenting section of any bookshop is a testament to the efforts we go to to get it right for our children. But neglectful parenting, where even a child’s most basic needs go unmet, can have a deep and lasting negative impact on children.

The importance of the early years is universally accepted, but our response to poor care in the early years is not just about improving the current situation for the children involved (through parenting support or finding alternative care – whatever response is appropriate in the individual situation). Our response also needs to accept that the effects of neglect will not necessarily be wiped away with committed parents, a good routine and a few sticker charts. We need to look at different strategies and approaches that might help fill in some of the gaps, and at ways of helping children to make sense of their story and build a true and positive sense of themselves. With appropriately targeted information and support, there are things that can be done to repair some of the damage caused by neglect.

So some of the current media focus needs to stretch a bit further to reach those who have suffered neglect, recapture some of the magic of the early years and improve outcomes for their future.

Written by adoptresources

February 3, 2010 at 8:14 pm

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