Early Childhood Development

Introduction

Early childhood is the most critical time  of  a  person’s life  when  it  comes  to  the  question of  creating a foundation for psychological, social and  biological perspectives. Therefore, early childhood requires  a  proper developmental  process  which  would  give the  child a sense of safety and  affirmation for betterment of later  life stages. In the  childhood  development  factors ,nature and  nurture play an important  part therefore both the  nativists  and  empiristic  theories are  applied  to child  development. With the  help of  nature and  nurture the adults or the  parent  would affect or  influence  the  cognitive  development of children. The nature versus nurture debate can differentiate the  actions  which  were expected to  be  executed  in childhood  by others from the current  behaviours  of the individuals  during  their  different life stages  towards adulthood.  As a result, both the differences would help to improve the factors in better identification of the actions. In this writing piece, the debate of nature vs. nurture has been analysed with references to some real life activity-oriented concepts.  It has been observed that the UK government has launched a fun activity, which is known as “Hungry little minds”. The activity depends on the perceiving factors in children, which can help them to imitate all kinds of acts, and plays around them. The intended audiences of the campaign were parents. On the other hand, gender stereotyping is common among the population and society therefore, the adults especially treat the child as a part of the stereotyped aspects, which makes standards for the concept of beauty, emotional expressions, consumerisms, dealing with situation and communication also. The concept of gender discrimination affects the society very much so that the cognitive and psychological reasoning are influenced critically among the children. However, un the  post-structuralist and feminist perspective the  concepts of  gendered orientation and  the development of better representation of  different gendered  roles  have been  analysed  properly. Different  social and commercial  factors decided the  roles of  different genders in the  society therefore the  concepts of  gender role  specifications were conveyed to the  children as programmed  manners. Therefore, the second representation has analysed the effects of gender discrimination in the children’s behaviours and how the differentiation would affect the cognitive and social aspects. If the representation of children in Jacobean and Elizabeth portraits could be analysed, the effects of gender discrimination would be understood. Moreover, book named “Kamala’s Hair picture book” was another representation of gendered discrimination in the development of children (University of Toronto, 2022). With the help of different theories and real life examples, the conceptualsation of gendered discrimination has been analyzed in the essay. The mind set for gender roles have been converted to better and more positive factors in the development of a child. Therefore, parents and adults should be more insightful about the concept of gender roles and stereotypes. The essay would critically analyse the factors associated with nature and nurture aspects in early childhood development with the references of different real life examples and explanations. In addition to that, the essay would analyse thee factors I the

Representation 1- Nature and Nurture in child development

Nature versus nurture debate is a constant phenomenon, which evaluates developmental science with emerging theoretical and practical perspectives of neuroscience, psychology education and social awareness. Developmental pathways of the human mind cannot be programmed in a fixed path or pattern as it is influenced by the external stimulus. Neurobiological processes are triggered by both external and internal environments, which in turn are interpreted by the individual ways of the persons. Interrelation of time along with substance and processes good health the dynamic interaction between gene and environmental experience in life therefore a child’s brain is adopted with what it perceives. The plasticity of a child’s brain can be reacted with the help of predisposition in genetic uniqueness and external environment interaction as a result; the vulnerabilities and feelings of a child would affect the mental health.

Nature and nurture are the concepts linked with philosophy. Empiricist’s support the best ultimate source of concept is the experience and knowledge gained through life. On the other hand rationalists think that knowledge can be surpassed by the experience and consequences of life but the genetic predisposition also and the information about the world in the human mind. Contrariwise, the psychology continuum observed that the nativists and empiricists have different opinions on nature and nurture. While nativists support the natural significance of a person’s psychological and behavioural tendencies, empiricists consider the sense of experience as the source for psychological and physiological factors. Social learning theory is directly related to the experiences bi anuran different physical and psychological personality traits. Genetic and hereditary influences cannot be discarded when it comes to the examples like identical twins’ similar sleeping pattern and behaviouralism of an individual.

Social constructionism depicts the theory of knowledge and communication for development of different shared and gained knowledge about reality. As per the social construction theory and behaviours of a child can be analysed with the relationship of nature however if the behaviours are considered based on social constructionism it might seem endearingly uncivilized. Therefore, it can be said that the nurturing factors are required to adopt the social construction aspects. The vulnerability and innocence of a child is its natural features therefore to make them more competent for the world, nurturing is very important. As per the concept of Lupton, four dominant discourses are related to the infant in body movement, which can be expressed with the representation with precious, uncivilized, vulnerable and pure. As per Lupton, babies are not always related to these dominant discourses but are emphasized by the media and social representation, which affects the thinking of surrounding adults. The mood of representations is also related to the viewpoint of others towards the child (Lupton, 2014). Therefore, the scientific explanations related to nature might not be effective in the case of nurturing implementation. Sleep specific oscillations and physiological factors might be related to the nature of a child but visual representation and social symbolism make doors factors as precious and pure. As a result, the not showing factors in some cases get affected. For example, if a child is a messy eater the parents might consider his or her actions as an act of innocence.

The nature versus nurture debate can also be related to the intervention of neurodevelopment disorders like. The coping mechanism can reduce the symptomatology of different genetic predisposition related conditions. Therefore, both nature and nurture are important to manage the life actions of a child. An example initiative was taken by the UK Government with a hungry little mine campaigning where the children were communicated with music, sound and other symbols. As a result, they are able to understand the factors related to their daily lives.

Nature of a child is integrated in the social and media centre presentations. Therefore, it might affect the mental health of a child for a long time. For instance if a child has dark skin colour and it is represented in media for his or her social life on a daily basis it would definitely affect their mental health. Moreover, the over-inclination of society towards whiteness of skin can affect the psychological viewpoint of a person. As a result, the child can get affected with that also. The representation of a child is restricted to a specific parameter in the media and social platforms as a result the north earring factors might be changed and altered in a negative way (Galen, 2019). For example, in Ukraine during 1990 and 80, a trend was present which made the children dressed in different professional outfits like doctor, firefighters, astronauts or socially reputed personalities like king and chief of justice to make a desire among them for becoming the character in future (We Present, 2022). This is how social structure influences a child’s mind with its desire manipulation. This is another example of nurturing which has its ethical dilemma. Postcolonial era was a critical time for different minority people as a result racism evolved in that time critically (Houston, 2018). The political and social ideas affect the children with a high intensity; as a result, the ideas for conflicting political and social senses can be prevented by the proper nurturing attitudes. For example, tamarind books were published for making the black and South Asian children more visible. It showed that black social movements are required to save their culture. On the other hand, there are controversial representations of a black girl in the UK as an ambassador of Cocoa.

Nurturing can help to improve the factors associated with the behavioural disorders in several children. If  a child  with  ADHD  or aggression issues can be supported with proper training and  management, a positive effect of  nurturing  would be  observed  among them. Moreover, parents and the supportive adults should be aware of the facts, which might affect both the mental and physical health of their child (Tistarelli et al., 2020). Therefore, in critical situations they can show proper intelligence instead of aggression and other negative emotions.  Nurturing is not only dependent on the social and psychological factors but also the parents’ understanding. The parent and primary caregivers can provide the child with adequate information about a sustainable environment. It would be easier for them to cope up with society and adverse conditions in life. A fine example of social constructionism as well as nature versus nurture debate has been represented in the movie called “Finding Memo”. In this movie, a father clown fish went on the journey to search for his only son Memo who had been lost in the ocean. Throughout this journey, it was observed that the father not only understood the external world’s factors and conditions but also how or overcome it. Therefore, in that film, the nurturing was implied on the father more than Nemo. The film showed that Nemo also analysed different situations and gained diverse skills to survive outside of his familiar world in the ocean. Therefore, the nature vs. nurture concept analysed the factors in the development of a child’s growth with the reconceptualisation of different real life experiences. It was observed that the social and parental concerns not only affected their lives with long-term impacts. Thus, it can be said that the social actions and other adverse effects might not be stopped but can be; prevented with proper measures or nurturing factors in the course of lives.

Representation 2-Behavior of childhood development in light of gender discrimination

It is significant to understand that the early childhood period remains one of the most crucial and strategically important for the overall enhancement and the growth of a person’s life. It not only is focusing towards cognitive, social and emotional skills development, but also is focusing towards influencing a lifelong educational achievement, health and wellbeing (savethechildren, 2022). Moreover, the factors of denial of access to the opportunities care and other services that they are requiring in order widening the scope for thriving and developing their full potential.

That will affect the entire life of the children. Gender discrimination in such frameworks remains one of the most crucial and significantly important phenomena that ultimately results in the lower status of women and delivery of limited sets of autonomy and of the denial of their rights to health and bodily integrity. Such frameworks are in such respect not only becoming a major issue of concern, but also challenging aspects for widening survival, health growth and developmental strategies. In a number of community’s gender discrimination and the lower status of women remains, the most crucial and challenging issue of women’s limited autonomy and the denial of childhood development. From an another framework, it is also crucial to understand that the gender discrimination, together with son preferences is also becoming a much challenging issue of concern for the decision makers (plan-international, 2017). This not only hampers the quality of childhood development of girl child, but also receives less nutritious opportunities for playing and accessing early learning than young boys receive. Furthermore, the issues related to women suffering from poor mental and physical health and limited decision-making power. This not only affects negatively towards childhood development, but also the children’s survival, healthy growth and development. Such frameworks are certainly becoming a major factor to ensure childhood development and the enhancement of the children’s education in a much detailed and accurate manner. 

It is also significant to understand that despite worldwide progress, gender inequalities remain the most crucial and challenging frameworks to ensure positive childhood developmental opportunities. For too many girls, especially those from the poorest sections of the families are still facing significant number of challenges and issues related to gender discriminations in education, child marriage and pregnancy, sexual violence and unrecognized domestic works. Such issues are negatively hampering the overall growth and the enhancement of the child’s mental, physical as well as cognitive development in a much appropriate and efficient manner (savethechildren, 2022). In such challenging frameworks, it is the responsibilities of the parents and the family members to protect their children from criticism and exclusion due to their gender and chords of professions. Instead of pushing children to conform to such pressures and to limit their scopes of lifelong development, will certainly provide a comfortable environment for the children to enhance and to progress in a much appropriate and effective manner. From another perspective, it can be said that, if the children are not that much interested in excelling in sports, w\there will still be a number of other opportunities lined up, where he or she can thrive. Hine, it is in the hands of parents to nourish and to nurture the child against any odds of gender discriminations that might at times hamper the natural growth of the children.

It has been observed that in many communities and in countries, boys are given special privileges from early childhood and prepared for their future roles as provider and protectors. Girls on the other hand, get less attention as well as nourishment those results from working on household activities as mothers and caregivers. Such gender based discriminations that prevail still in many communities and in countries are hampering the rights and privileges being enjoyed by girls (Comminute, 2017).

There are different theories associated with gender discrimination and ideas in society. Post structuralism is one of the most renowned theories, which can analyse the truth behind the unchangeable patriarchy, and discourse of society. Structuralism theory null and void the preliminary theories of gender roles set in pre industrial era (savethechildren, 2022). Therefore, the functionalist argued about the gender roles, which were set in preliminary errors to limit women with their physical restraints like pregnancy. Social and economic climate changed during industrial error, the family structure also with the modification of gender roles. The conflict theory showed that the   male counterparts are   predominant in the females in the society therefore; the gender roles are restricted in the social structures. If the  view  is shifted to child development  it would be  observed that the domestic environment  of the  children is mostly  dominated by the  male  counterparts. Therefore, they are also accustomed to the domination and inequality. Moreover, they might not get the knowledge and the urge to know about equality (open.edu, 2022). Cases like infanticides and deprivation of girl Childs are the examples of gender inequality and oppression. On the other hand, post-colonial feminism theories analysed that both the government or colonial power and society were oppressing the rights and the preliminary requirements of females and women (Barbary, 2018). For example, lesser pay and cutting off the job roles or restricting job roles for different genders are the   effects of inequality in the society for females and third gender.  In the post structural situation, the concept of third gender arises publicly and their rights are still struggling in different countries across the world (Esposito and Rumens, 2021). Therefore, the representation of heterosexuality has become extreme in the post structural situation.

Apart from social and colonial perspectives on gender development, Kohlberg’s stages of gender development are effective in analysing gender representation. The theory has analysed deep learning on gender labelling, gender stability and gender consistency. In the first stage, children identify themselves in comparison to the surrounding people and their styles (such as hair, clothing and choice of colors) (Goldschmidt et al., 2021). After that, the child recognizes his or her gender roles and grows with the intention to become what roles are preferred by them… In many cases, the girls dressed with non-feminine clothes are considered tomboy (Stephens, 2013). On the other hand, softness in attitudes is not considered as the masculine factors or presentations. In addition to that, the choice of colour is also stereotype do with gender discrimination. For example, it is expected that boys would like blue colour while girls like pink. On the other hand, the beauty specifications are also restricted by gender bias. Body image and presentations are also affected by gender inequality. The beauty standards are different for different genders. Therefore, the acceptance of one’s own body is critical for young children.

In the book named Kama’s Kes, body positivity among the young children has been emphasized with positive mental health. The cultural conditioning of a girl was affecting the sense of body positivity for her natural hair. In this book, it was observed that Kamala was confronted with her concept of the meaning of beautiful. In the research of Jóhannsdóttir (2019), it has observed that Iceland, which has a better position in gender gap index, is also struggling with the indication of body hair and body positivity among genders. It has been observed that both men and women suffer from body dissatisfaction due to the social sciences and perception of physical beauty (Quetta et al., 2019). In the picture of is a bit and Jacobean paintings the gender specification when not observed however it was more focused on showing off the cultural and royal legacies in minuscule adults. With those paintings, the concept of power was reflected but the innocence of childhood was suppressed (Cox, 2018). The power and masculinity when not equalized in the picture but the style of clothing were very much significant. Therefore,  it can be said that the gender discrimination not only based on the social perceptions about male and female and specific gender roles explained by the sociological experts but also to enhance the respect in society and show off power. The gender inequality and discrimination is not only affecting the girls or third gender but also the representation of over masculinity affecting the mental health of young boys (Chan, Fung. and Thomas, 2017). Therefore, one should understand that gender inequality and discrimination is not limited to a population but is a greater problem for developing stages of children.

Conclusion

In the first representation, it was observed that the nurturing ability of adults is the key factors behind understanding nature and improvising those into positive ways for the children. According to Piaget theory, developmental psychology is to some extent based on the social cognitive and learning factors. Therefore, it can be said that the children need to be understood by considering their position and situations. Their mindset and viewpoints should be understood as well as the physiological changes they are facing. On the contrary the adults are not that much aware of social constructionism and representation of children in front of the entire society. Therefore, the racial discrimination and nice interpretation of emotion and frequent among the young children. In case of nurturing children, parents play a greater role to improve their security and trust in the social framework. However, interpretation of different symbolism and representation of an individual might affect the self-respect and esteem of a child. For an example, the racial discrimination in different media affects the health of a child. During the postcolonial situation, affinity towards white skin colour increased among the countries, which led to the condition of severe racial discrimination among the communities. Moreover, the nurturing might be influenced by political, social and parental opinion. In that case, the children are forced to think in order to meet others ‘ expectations.

Gender discrimination is also a critical factor in the developmental stages of a child. Therefore, the children are affected with different social expectations and influence on their gender identity. According to different gender theories, it could be observed that the gender roles and appearance are identified and determined by external influences. Over the psychological factors and physiological differences, the gender bias can have an impact on emotion and development of a child. Moreover, there are various factors, which might affect the expectations and awareness of different individuals due to gender discrimination. The beauty standards and expectations are also predominantly influencing body image and acceptance. As a result, the behavioral changes and different expectations might exclude a child from regular discourse of society. However, not only operation and domination to women and third genders but also showing off power and social standards are also the reason behind gender discrimination in many cases. For example, paintings of the Elizabethan era showed representation of power through art. The paintings were not intended to analyse the gender differences but more on the power representation, which typically dominated the normal and natural representation of a child.

References

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Chan, K., Fung, M. and Thomas, T., 2017. Perception of physical beauty among boys and girls in Hong Kong.

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Cox, A., 2018. The representation of children in Elizabethan and Jacobean portraits: 1560-1630 (Doctoral dissertation, Birkbeck, University of London).

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Goldschmidt, L., Langa, M., Alexander, D. and Canham, H., 2021. A review of Kohlberg’s theory and its applicability in the South African context through the lens of early childhood development and violence. Early Child Development and Care, 191(7-8), pp.1066-1078.

Houston, G., 2018. Racialisation in Early Years Education: Black Children’s Stories from the Classroom. Routledge.

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