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Infancy and Early Childhood Development Samantha Trudeau PSY/375 June 27, 2011 Heather Harrison Infancy and Early Childhood Development An infant’s brain is something quite similar to a blank video tape. During infancy the child records everything he or she sees and hears. The things that are recorded are stored for later use in life. The way that people behave with the infant as an individual and a family greatly impacts the development of the infant. It is for this reason that it is extremely important to raise children properly the first time around and to provide a safe and caring environment.

After an infant is born the brain begins to go through developmental changes right away. The development that the brain goes through is caused by genes and the surroundings that the infant is born into and this begins his or her experiences. Experiences that an infant have can be divided into two different categories. The two categories of an infant’s experience are experience-expectant and experience-dependant. Experience-expectant is where the nervous system is expected to develop a particular manner. The right cognitive growth is reliant on the right environmental exposure.

In order for the experience-expectant to be in the proper range of growth is there shouldn’t be any kind of fetal damage to the brain. For example, if an infant is exposed to light he or she should respond the way that is expected. This is called an expected cognitive response. On the other hand, experience-dependant is the learning of different things and new experiences that happen in life. This allows new brain growth and paired with constructive family environment, it can be the growth can be enhanced. Lack of either of these can greatly hinder a person both emotionally and cognitively.

The parents are very important in the early stages of development for infant. If the parent of the infant raise the child in a neglectful environment, the infant will be likely to have long lasting damages due to the neglect. There are several things that an infant needs in order to develop at the best. A few of the most important things are care, affection, attention, and intellectual stimulation. The parent’s role in the infant’s life not only guides the psychological development, but it can also affect the child’s biological development (Belsky, 2008).

If an infant does not get enough stimulation for a long period of time, the infant may have trouble developing correct sensations, motor skills, and perceptions. There are four main styles of parenting; authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved, and authoritative. Each of these styles of parenting has their own characteristics which apply to how the parent raises the child. The authoritarian style of parenting generally means that the parent is overbearing and does not feel the need to explain anything to the child. In this type of environment the child does not receive much freedom at all and is not able to make decisions on his or her own.

This approach to parenting can generally do more harm than good because eventually the child will find it necessary to rebel against anyone who is an authority figure (Livestrong, 2010). The permissive style of parenting gives the child too much freedom in all areas of his or her life. The parents that use this style of parenting do not generally set any rules or boundaries for him or her. Children raised in this environment grow up with very little idea of what responsibility is. The uninvolved parenting still pretty much explains itself. This type of parenting style is similar to the permissive style of parenting.

Uninvolved parents have no interest in the child’s growth and development. This type of parenting style has pretty much the same outcome of permissive parenting (Livestrong, 2010). The Authoritative style of parenting combines both permissive and authoritarian styles of parenting. The parents that use authoritative parenting set rules and guidelines, while at the same time giving the child freedom to make his or her own choices. A child that is raised in an authoritative environment generally develops good responsibility and is very self-reliant.

The authoritative parenting style appears to have the most advantages and less negative influences on the child’s behavior than any of the other styles. A child that is brought up in an authoritative can overcome changes in his or surrounding environment with little trouble. These types of children have a better sense of who they are and what their purpose in life is. Authoritative parents are able to balance leniency and overbearing. These parents play an active part in their child life while giving the child the space to grow into his or her own individual person.

The cognitive development of a child is reliant on both intellectual and social stimulation. Early childhood education is usually the first time that a child is introduced into the learning environment. The learning environment is a very socially and intellectually stimulating environment. A child is developing in a cognitive manner regardless if he or she is playing with other children or learning their numbers. Many children play make believe activities like playing house or cooking without the use of the real items.

In these instances the children will use objects and toys that are around them in their environment. When children are playing like this they are using symbolism from things that they have experienced in life. Children also become more alert to the way that other people react to them when they are in an educational environment. When learning new things in a classroom children usually work close together. This is how most early childhood programs are. These establishments are very interactive and require communication and collaboration of the students.

It is this area that aides a child in developing social skills as well as encourages his or her ability to recognize emotions and reactions of other students around them. Because of this interaction, the child will begin to realize what is considered socially acceptable behavior (Seifert, 2004). The distinct difference that exists between the child’s home and educational environment is another very important area of the early childhood education programs. Even with an uninvolved home environment the child is exposed to a totally different environment.