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    PARENTING, MOTHER & CHILD

 

                        IMPORTANCE OF MOTHERS TO EARLY CHILD TRAINING

 

Florence was 40 years old and desperately wanted a child. During her pregnancy, however, doctor warned her that her baby could be born with a learning disability. She refused to give up, and she gave birth to a healthy baby.

  

Shortly after the birth of her son, Stephen, Florence began reading to him and talking to him at every opportunity. As he got older, they played games, went out on outings, practiced counting, and sang songs " even during bath time we played something," she remembers. It paid off.

  

While still in his mid-teens, Stephen graduated from the University of Miami with honors. Two years later, at age 16, he finished law school, and according to his biography, he later became the youngest lawyer in the United States. His mother, Dr. Florence Baccus - a former teacher and retired guidance and counselor - has devoted much time to the study of early learning. She is convinced that the attention and stimulation she gave her in his infancy changed his future.

 

From the above inference and intense research by renown child psychologist it is now clinically known that "the experience the child is exposed to in early years of his life influence how that child's brain develops" explained by child development expert Dr. J. Fraser Mustard.

 

BRAIN DEVELOPMENT - MOTHERS ROLE

 

What a person learns or does not learn during childhood can affect his future abilities.

  

Advances in brain-imaging technology enable scientists to study brain development in a greater detail than ever before. Such studies indicate that early childhood is a critical time for developing the brain function necessary to handle information, express emotions normally, and become proficient in language. "Brain connections are being wired at an extraordinarily rapid rate in the early years, as the landscape of the brain is shaped by moment-to-moment interactions of genetic information and environmental stimuli," reports Nation Magazine.

  

Scientist believes that the majority of these connections, called synapses, are made in the first few years of life. This is when "a baby's potential future wiring for intelligence, sense of self, trust and motivation for learning is laid down," according to Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, a professional in the field of child development.

  

A baby's brain grows dramatically in size, structure, and function during the first few years. In an environment that is rich in stimulation and learning experiences, synaptic connections multiply, creating a broad network of neural pathways in the brain. These pathways make thinking, learning, and reasoning possible.

  

It may be that the more stimulation an infant brain gets, the more nerve cells get turned on and the more connections are made between them. Interestingly, this stimulation is not merely intellectual, acquired through exposure to facts, figures, or language. Scientists have found that emotional stimulation is also needed. Research indicates that infants who are not held and touched and are not played with or stimulated will form fewer of these synaptic connections.

 

MOTHER'S NURTURING AND POTENTIALS OF THE CHILD

Eventually, as children get older, a sort of pruning takes place. The body appears to discard synaptic wiring that may be unnecessary. This could have a profound effect on a child's potential. "If a child does not get the right kind of stimulus at the right age," says brain researcher Max Cynader, "then the neurological circuits will not develop properly." According to Dr. J. Fraser Mustard, the result can be lower IQ, poor verbal and mathematical skills, health problems as an adult, and even behavioral problems.

  

So it seems that the experiences a person has as an infant can have a definite effect on his adult life. Whether the person is resilient or fragile, whether he learns to think in abstract terms or is lacking in this ability, and whether he becomes empathetic or not can be influenced by his early childhood experiences. So the role of parents especially the mothers is very important. "One of the most critical aspects of this early experience," notes a pediatrician, "is a sensitive parenting figure."

 

YOUR ROLE AS A MOTHER

 

"If you make a child feel loved, connected, purposeful and inquisitive, brain development will follow," says Peter Gorski of Harvard Medical School. "Our role as parents is not to perfect brain circuitry but to foster the development of healthy, sane and caring human beings."

  

How rewarding it is for you as a parent to see your child grow up to be morally upright person who is considerate to others! For you to achieve such an outcome, much depends on the initiative you take in being an example, companion, a communicator, and a teacher. Although all children are born with basic capacity to act morally, parents must progressively impart moral values as their children mature.

  

Experiences later in life and peer influences complement a child's early growth. It is important that children be shown compassion and understanding in the family setting. They also need to be taught how to cope with their feelings in a mature way. Children who receive such assistance are generally better prepared to work cooperatively, compassionately, and empathetically with others.

  

Child training from infancy is hard work. For you to be successful - especially if you are new parents - it is the course of wisdom to seek guidance from others who are more experienced and then to follow a definite course of action. Also, consider acquiring books on child development written by experts. Consider the following practical directions in positive child nurturing:

 

        BE GENEROUS IN EXPRESSING LOVE: Children are like young plants that develop and thrive when nurtured with regular, loving attention. Water and sunlight nourish a young plant and stimulate healthy growth and stability. Similarly, parents who shower their children with verbal and physical expressions of love will nurture their children's mental and emotional growth and stability.

 

        SPEND TIME IN ENJOYABLE RECREATION WITH YOUR CHILDREN: The affection you show, the bedtime stories you read, and even the games you play are crucial elements of your child's development. "Everything the child is doing, " says Dr. J. Fraser Mustard, "is an experience that he develops. If a child is learning to crawl, how you give encouragement and respond is important." Parental love and attention lay a firm foundation for your child to develop and to become a responsible and mature adult.

 

        BE A COMPANION AND COMMUNICATOR: Spending time with your children creates a bond. Furthermore, it promotes communication skills. This closeness - in the home and elsewhere and at any suitable time - is of very high benefit. Child-development experts agree that the time parents spend with their children is much more important than fancy toys or any specific activity. Inexpensive and everyday activities can allow for such periods with your children. For example, simply going to the park with them to observe nature can provide an ideal occasion for parents to ask meaningful questions and promote communication.

       

Yes, carefree play is essential to a child's developing intellectual, emotional, and social skills. According to Dr. mustard, play is not merely valuable but absolutely essential. He says: "children develop the wiring of their brains for a full variety of functions primarily through play". The toys a child uses in unstructured play can be very simple, such as an empty cardboard box. Safe, everyday household items are just as intriguing to infants as expensive high-tech toys.

      

Experts believe that over-scheduling children with countless adult-led activities could stifle their imagination and creativity. Moderation is recommended. Allow your child to explore his own little world and test his own resourcefulness. Often, a child will find something to do to entertain himself. This does not, however, relieve you of the responsibility of knowing what your child is doing and where he is playing so that he does not harm himself.

 

TIPS TO PLAYING WITH YOUR INFANTS: Infants have an extremely short attention span, so play only when they seem to enjoy it. If toys are used, make sure they are safe and stimulating to the child's senses. Play games that makes things happen. Infants delight in making you do something over and over, such as picking up a toy that they drop.

 

        MAKE TIME TO TEACH YOUR CHILD: Teaching an integral part of nurturing and raising well-adjusted children. Many parents set aside time each day to read aloud to their children. This provides an occasion to teach lessons about acceptable behavior, as well as to impart to child moral values. Reading to your infants can stimulate his synaptic connections. A key is that the reading be done by an attentive, caring human. Linda Siegal. A professor of education, cautions regarding the content of what is read: "It should be at a level that children enjoy." Also, try to keep the reading regular and at the same time each day. That way the child begins to look forward to it. You can balance reading with complimentary activities - drawing, painting, playing YOUR CHILD: music, camping, or family visits to places such as zoo. These occasions can be used as opportunities to teach lessons and instill good moral values and behavior in a child's impressionable heart and mind.

 

    HOW TO READING TO YOUR CHILD: Use good diction and pronunciation. A child learns language by hearing parents speak. With very young children, point out and name people and objects depicted in storybooks. When the child is older, choose books that focus on his current favorite topics.

 

        DISCIPLINE WITH LOVE: Teaching includes discipline. Little ones can benefit from loving discipline. Remember, however, that discipline involves many things. For example, it can take the form of correction by the spoken word or denial of privileges or other forms of punishment. Dr. Brazelton, quoted earlier, says that discipline is "about teaching a child how to manage feelings and out-of-control behaviors. Every child is looking very hard for limits. After love, discipline is the most important thing you give.

 

     You as a parent can determine whether your discipline is effective? For one thing, your children should understand why discipline is being administered. When you give correction, do it in such a way that your children sense that you are a supportive and loving parent.

 

IN CONCLUSION: is all the effort worth it? Parents who do their best to apply the foregoing practical guidelines in a peaceful and secure environment are far more likely to see their children develop a positive attitude. If in their early years you nurture intellectual and communication skills in your children, you will contribute greatly to their moral and spiritual character. Centuries ago the Bible clearly stated at proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child according to the way he should go; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it." Parents - Mothers surely do play an integral role in child training. Be generous in expressing your love for your children. Spend time with them, nurture them, and teach them. Doing so will bring happiness to them and you.

 

SOURCE REFERENCE: AWAKE MAGAZINE OCTOBER 22, 2004

 

 

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