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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

30 Day Writer's Challenge | Day 3

In my Life-span Development class I have to put together 8 projects based off of certain important developmental stages in a person's life.  From birth to death.  To help inspire me with ideas, I've been reading a lot on child development.  Different stages and how children are affected by them.  This is what I ultimately want to do with my education.  I came across an article in Psychology Today, a popular magazine and website. To sum it up, it researched a correlation between children in the United States that are not nurtured the way children in other countries are and their decline in morality.  Pretty big theory, right?  But what if it's true?

The Center for Disease Control did a study on maternity practices in hospitals and birth centers.  More frequently we see doctors interfering with the practice of breastfeeding in the earlier days after birth and often discourage it.  In other countries around the world, mothers are known to breastfeed their children up to the age of five or six, which in America is seen as a completely appalling and unnecessary practice.  But studies have linked not just longer term breastfeeding, but just basic touching alone to be a very positive comfort to a child's growing psyche.  And what about picking up a baby every time they cry?  Is it so damaging to the child to show comfort and care?  Parents in America have this idea that if we constantly come running to a crying baby, it will damage them more.  In a book written by Dr. Anni Gethin, she talks about sleep training and it's negative effects.  Sleep training is the aim to teach children to fall asleep on their own by letting them "cry it out."  While waking up every time your baby cries may be a frustrating time period for the parent, that close touch and comfort may in the long run help the child's moral development.

As children start to enter into adolescence, parenting does not seem to get any better.  Americans are seen as being spoiled and lazy and all we are doing is passing that on to our children.  What if that spoiling is what is ultimately affecting our children?  I believe that the nurturing neglect of parents, both mother and father, are what lead them to giving their now adolescents whatever they ask for.  We have become a society where our children grow up in day care or they spend more time in front of a TV, computer, or game console.  And to make it up to them, we give them whatever they ask for completely neglecting their need to learn responsibility. 


As we continue to grow in an age where everything is handed to us, except the nurturing that is needed, where does the responsibility lie for moral development?  If we look around to other countries and cultures, do their family systems really seem so foreign and unreasonable?  We bring in strangers, not family, to take care of our children.  Do we hope that they are teaching them right from wrong?  Sure, but who should be teaching them these principles?  Should we leave it up to the schools and the care-givers or take the responsibility for ourselves?  I spent most of my "maturing" period living with my mother and my grandmother.  In American culture, this is not a norm.  But at least I was in my home, with a family member to care for me.  I'm not saying that I am morally sound because of it, but I do believe that it did play a significant role in my life.  We pride ourselves on being progressives, but in the end, when it comes to our families and our children, we should be looking to the "ancient" cultures with an open mind.  We may need to be retaught the "old ways".

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