Father Knows But Not The Best
posted at 8/16/2009 4:04 PM EDT
When a father asks a two year old daughter on the phone where her mother is and expects to get the kind of answer he's looking for he might be using egocentric thinking just as she is. Which of the two of them has the option of using critical thinking instead?
I am a student at South University, and the above question was asked of me, since we are in Psychology overview discussions regarding child development.
I am reminded that at such early ages, the idea that the child develops a brain as he or she grows is something that we've all accepted. What I think is news is the sensitivity of developing brain structure to the ongoing and ambient environment, both human environment, interpersonal environment and physical environment.
We didn't understand years ago that in order to grow a brain, a baby requires a human climate that is safe and warm, interactive, supportive and very responsive, based on what the baby needs each minute of each day. As well, the physical environment, in terms of safety, cleanliness, freedom from toxins and chemicals is another aspect of brain development. So what we are saying is all of these environmental influences, not only the physical influences but also what you might call emotional influences having to do with the family and the community in which the infant is embedded, those can actually affect the development of the brain?
My response is that the father is overthinking this scenario with a two-year-old. We do need to really think about what we say to our children, before we say it. We also need to realize that this is a two year old. What advice can I give this lad, from your perspective???
Re: Father Knows But Not The Best
posted at 8/16/2009 10:50 PM EDT
The idea that a brain's development is greatly influenced by the environment and ongoing human interaction is not new. I have read essays, studies and debates dating back to the late 1960's. My mother was in college the first half of the seventies for child development and then curriculum studies in early childhood through adolescence. Her texts are full of such theory. Not new at all.
Babies and children have developed well in a variety of cultures with different interaction styles.
" We do need to really think about what we say to our children, before we say it."
Yes, it is overthinking things to try to plan and program every interaction. Human brains, unlike computers, make many connections from randomly acquired information.
Children's receptive skills develop before concepts are fully formed. To never ask - where is ? once a child has even rudimentary object permanence, means never putting a label in words to a concept a child is learning. That they are forming the idea, Mommy is someplace and I can find her, is evidenced by a child looking for people and things in familiar places, like going to a room where that person is often found, even after a significant absence.
The child may not know, or may not express what is in mind yet. But withholding the questions would slow development, not prevent confusion.
The adult needs to know not to expect an extremely accurate answer. At 2 an answer might be Mommy go in the car from an early talker. Or repeating parts of what Mommy said. Or want cookie.