Children’s early emotional experiences
a.) Describe and explain the impact on children of their early emotional interactions with others. Attachment theory provides a psychological perspective on this. There are also examples in the module materials (online and the Reader) of research studies that examine caregivers’ responses to infants and how this affects children. You may also draw on other materials in the course so far, e.g., on parenting.
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After birth children spend the majority of their time with their primary caregiver. In the past the primary caregiver would most commonly be the mother, but this concept has changed. As time has gone on, the idea of a ‘normal’ family unit has evolved along with social norms and expectations. Many psychologists have explored the impact that these interactions and relationships have on children’s development in all areas of life, as well as their wellbeing. Susan Golombok (2000) recognised the change in the family structure, with more single parents, less gender expectations meaning that mum or dad may be the primary caregiver and same gender partners. It has been suggested by various studies, that the particular individual that the bond is formed with, is not as important as the consistency and quality of the relationship between the child and the primary caregiver as they grow.
Research that looked at the quality of a mothers relationship between themselves and their child, investigated the effects of maternal responsiveness on their child. In postnatal depression the effects of attachments in the child’s early years was carried out as various different studies over a period of 20 years.
They concluded that postnatal depression can impact on an individuals psychological development with long term consequences. Studies used both male and female participants from birth to 2 years old using a longitudinal approach. The studies were following them throughout the first 2 years on their life, the impact was shown in different areas of development including social, emotional and behavioural.
Examples of behaviours shown include eating and sleeping problems and difficulties in forming attachments. It was also shown that boys often required more support than their female counterparts due to the impact of postnatal depression showing a more significant effect (Murray,1992).
A variety of long term effects of maternal deprivation have been discovered. These include reduced intelligence, which may be due to the fact that children are not given the support and stimulation that they need to enhance their learning. Increased aggression may also be displayed which could be for example because the child is struggling to manage their feelings and behaviour, and put their emotions in to words.
Researchers have contradicting views on the formation of attachments. One such view is the concept that children are a ‘blank slate’ from birth, and that their interactions with others cause them to acquire skills and make sense of the world around them (John Locke, 1632-1704). This could also be supported by the research and observations by Grossmann (2010) who discovered that babies recognise and respond to the faces and voices of those that are familiar to them, for example parents, which could suggest that they have learned that these people are significant because they see them more frequently.
The importance of attachments was observed and identified by Bowlby (1969) defining attachment as “A deep emotional bond that connects one person to another, which doesn’t need to be reciprocal” (The Open University (2013) E102, Page 77). Working with boys with problems adjusting, influenced the formulation of his theory and cumulated in the suggestion that children form either secure or insecure attachments. Ainsworth (1970) supported Bowlby's theory of attachment but identified three different types of attachment
The three attachment types were identified through observing children’s reactions to being alone, with a stranger and with the individuals mother in various combinations and situations. She identified children as either being secure, insecure anxious avoidant or insecure anxious resistant. These were identified depending on the behaviours shown in the various scenarios . Children who were avoidant displayed that they could be comforted equally from a parent or stranger. Resistant children display extreme anxiety when their mother leaves, but when she returns may be uncomfortable in her presence and less likely to explore their environment. Through later research, an extra attachment style was identified as disorganized attachment (Main, & Solomon, 1990). Children with this type of attachment often show extreme confusion and conflicting behaviours such as running to hug someone and then pulling away from them (https://www.psychalive.org/disorganized-attachment/).
Secure relationships can help children in various different ways. A stronger sense of personal identity and confidence helps children to have good self-esteem, and in turn helps them to develop relationships. Managing behaviour can be more difficult for some children than others, it is suggested that children who have insecure relationships find this skill harder and may be underperforming for their age and stage of development. This may influence their education because if they cannot control their behaviour to what is expected in the classroom setting they may miss out on valuable learning opportunities. Children who have secure relationships seem to be less impacted by change and stress that may occur in their lives than those with an insecure attachment (Tassoni , P (2014). Cache Level 3 Early Years Educator).
The need for an individual to have emotional support, rather than only being supported for just their physical needs was demonstrated by studies using rhesus monkeys (1950’s and 1960’s). The study used different scenarios, with some monkeys being isolated from their mothers, some with a surrogate mother made of either cloth or wire, with only some of them able to access milk, and some with no support but food. The monkeys showed a preference to spend time with the cloth mother even without food supporting the suggestion that emotional support is also important. It could be suggested that emotional support is potentially more important than food. (McLeod, S. A. (2017, Feb 05). Attachment theory. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/attachment.html).
Theories of attachment and the conclusions drawn from these studies have had a strong significant influence on various policies relating to childcare and guidelines for practice.
As an early years practitioner this has a strong influence on my role. All children have their own key person assigned to then when they first join the setting to allow them to build a relationship during their visits and help their emotional development by giving them the individual support that they need during this transitional stage and throughout their time in the setting.
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b.) Describe and explain the potential impact on children’s development of variations in the parenting they experience. Here you should focus on Baumrind’s theory of parenting styles. You may also draw on other materials in the module so far to support your description and explanation.
The Education Act 1996 Section 576 implies the legal definition of the term ‘parent’ as:
• all natural (biological) parents, whether they are married or not
• any person who, although not a natural parent, has parental responsibility for a child or young person
• any person who, although not a natural parent, has care of a child or young person.
(The Open University (2013),Page 98)
In the past, there have been traditional strongly accepted gender roles and expectations. These have changed over time and this is shown in policies involving children, showing equality for both parents, although working fathers are not specifically recognised in the right to care for their children in by policy (Weldon-Johns, 2013). Poole et al (2011) also recognised that studies focusing on parenting styles tend to show mothers being primarily involved in children’s daily family activities, and are more involved in their children’s emotions (The Open University (2013),Page 104). This may all be important information to suggest why parenting styles differ between mothers and fathers, as relationships between the child and their individual parents are different.
It has been suggested that parenting is a subconscious process, and there are many different factors that effect the way that parents behave and act around their children. One such factor is their own experiences with their parents from when they were a child. Some people may, depending on their own opinion, follow on with similar traits to their own parents. Others may rebel and do things in a completely different way. Expectations and social norms within a persons culture may also influence parenting style. Some cultures have large family groups with grandparents in the same house, or may have lots of siblings that may influence the time they spend with their child. Parents who have long working hours may also differ in the way that they interact with their child. One important thing to consider is that every person is different, and that people who are more relaxed or get more stressed may bring this into their parenting style.
Parenting styles and the impact on children’s development was investigated by Diana Baumrind (1967). She studied children and parents of preschool age and identified two aspects of parenting. These aspects were; a parents demands on following rules and expectations of maturity, and responsiveness to the child’s needs .
Three different parenting styles were identified through these observations. Authoritarian parents are strict with strong expectations. Permissive parents have few rules and allow their child more freedom. Lastly authoritative parenting listens to the child and respects their opinions, but also has clear rules and expectations. (The Open University (2013),Page 106)
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a.) What were the key areas of academic or study skills development your tutor identified as needing to be addressed in TMA 01.
One of the areas of academic improvement required, was to make sure that I structured the assignment, so that the balance between the sections is appropriate. Taking sure that I use new paragraphs for each subject will help the structure to be more defined and make it easier to read. I need to make sure that the whole assignment is clear, and makes sense.
I also need to make sure that I am writing the information in a clear and concise way, making sure that I include the important details without going off on an irrelevant tangent.
By backing up statements with evidence it shows that I am understanding how the information that I have learned links together, and my own views and opinions on the theories and findings, can help to evaluate the validity of theories and conclusions drawn from research.
I had an inclination to be restricted on how I was applying ideas I was learning from the materials in this particular module when describing my motivations for study, and reflecting on my learning and activities that I had completed.
Although it was not required in TMA01 the referencing that I attempted showed that I need to make sure that my sources are all recognised and accurately referenced in both the main text and in my reference list. I need to make sure that all of my sources are included and recognised to prevent plagiarism through not giving someone recognition for their work.
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b.) Describe how you took the developmental points identified by your tutor into account in writing TMA 02.
I have made sure that I have improved the structure of this assignment by making sure that I am keeping the balance of the questions. I have tried to ensure that part 1a is accurate in its word count as this is the question is worth the most marks.
New paragraphs have been constructed each time the subject changes to make the assignment flow better and easier to read in a organised way. I have also made the paragraphs clearer by indenting them and not just starting a new line as I had done in TMA01.
I have tried to make sure that this assignment is more concise, but still includes the relevant information by making mind maps from my chapter notes. I found that because I was focusing on my chapter notes being written in my own words, I could then pick key theorists, studies and ideas I wanted to use, based on the question. I then used some of these points to use different sources to improve my knowledge and understanding of the subject.
I have made sure that I am backing up statements made by theorists by giving the supporting evidence from studies that relate to the specific concept. I am also backing up my own ideas by explaining how certain studies may be interpreted to support my own individual opinions.
I have used the resources given to me by the open university to learn how to reference in the required manner and have tried to practice this skill to perfect it.
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- The Open University (2013) E102 Block 2 Social and emotional development, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
- The Open University (2013) E102 Block 2 Parenting and Families, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
- McLeod, S. A. (2018, August 05). Mary Ainsworth. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/mary-ainsworth.html (Acsessed 30th January 2019)
- https://www.psychalive.org/disorganized-attachment/ (Acsessed 30th January 2019)
- Tassoni , P (2014). Cache Level 3 Early Years Educator for the work- based learner. : Hodder Education .
- McLeod, S. A. (2017, Feb 05). Attachment theory. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/attachment.html (Acsessed 30th January 2019)
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