Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 18 of 20

Thread: Child Development discussion

  1. #1
    paradise lost Guest

    Default Child Development discussion

    Just opening this following on from the other thread that went a bit (lot) o/t about eye contact...



    Bath i hope you don't mind, i thought i'd copy your post and answer it a bit here:

    MODS - please move if this is in a bad place. Thought if i put it here it'd be more clearly a discussion of theory and not a comparison of individuals. I thought we could talk about concepts, not WITHOUT relating them to ourselves, but perhaps at most doing so in a removed way to discuss the theories, rather than in a more subjective way. Of course it might not work out, but here goes anyway....

    I hear so many parents attribute emotions/needs to their children that the child is absolutely NOT capable of having and it drives me nuts! Eg. the parent who claims their newborn is being "manipulative" by settling well to sleep in the day and not at night. A newborn is just not capable of that degree of sophistication in their relationships. Why do parents feel the need to do this? Can they (the parents) not relate to another human being that has a vastly different reality to their own? I agree... I don't think my newborns "needed" eye contact to settle but I never actively avoided it... who knows, their might have been a few times... say they heard a strange noise like a loud sudden bang and briefly needed my eye contact to see that I am calm thus everything is ok... maybe babies don't react that way... just guessing. I'd love to read more about the reality of being a newborn (life from their perspective not ours)! Robin Skinner (British psychologist, written many books) touches upon it but only in a mainstream kinda sense.
    Bath as far as i know newborns have no sense of self seperate from their carers until they are 2 or 3 (when they start to say "me" or "i" and begin to show compassion). Until then it is pointless to work from the basis of manipulation because all manipulation which occurs (and it does - lots of kids will respond to "don't touch that" by putting ONE finger on the forbidden item to see what will happen) id subjective - like pinching your own leg to see how much it hurts. Until they develop their conscience you ARE their conscience and a mere externalisation of an internal mechanism to them, they cannot hurt you without hurting themselves and thus they have no inborn desire to do so, they just want to get a grip on how they work and you, until they learn to separate themselves, are just an extension of them.

    Newborns especially have very poor spatial awareness. We all know the marker of development when a child who has dropped their toy actually LOOKS for it, because it marks a special realisation that things out of sight have not ceased to exist but are still there, elsewhere. Their understanding of our shared reality and how it works is growing and it's exciting. Unfortunately many fail to join the dots on that. If you leave your newborn alone in a room it has no concept that you are in the next room unless you sing loudly and constantly so it can hear you. Many many babies who cry in their cots are doing so simply because nature is saying "you are alone. you will die. summon help. you are alone. you will die. summon help" over and over and all they can do is scream. If left long enough the instinctual level of their mind seems to switch off because conserving energy and not attracting predators when one's parent is obviously so far away it cannot even hear your cries becomes the focus. At this point CC has "worked" - the baby ceases crying to summon help. Unfortunately the long-term lesson is one of helplessness. Having shown the baby his or her ONLY tool for communication doesn't work, this tells him that HE cannot change or improve his situation. The world is full of adults who believe they are only helpless victims of their situations. It also i think can lead to problems with interpersonal relations since it teaches the baby nothing about how it relates to its parents or how they relate to it. If you do not know how to communicate your needs how can you meet the needs of others?

    As for the eye contact thing - in GENERAL eye contact is stimulating to new and small babies. It is kind of like an urgent tap on the shoulder and makes them go "what!?" physiologically. BUT some babies are very laid back and do not panic as much and some (like mine ) are so desperately worried about missing anything while they sleep that they cling DESPERATELY onto consciousness, and i think for those babies eye contact can actually be more distressing/harmful if given when they need to sleep. Lots and lots of babies find it hard to break eye contact themselves and NEED the other person to glance away every few seconds so they have the option of not maintaining eye contact, but you will see many mothers do this without conscious thought. In terms of body language this gesture is like the mum has "sticky eyes" where it appears that whatever else distracts mum her eyes are drawn back as if stuck to the baby and then away again and then back. You see it also between lovers and if you deliberately use it in a social situation you can pretty much ensure that whoever you want to talk to will come talk to you (very jaded of me i know!).

    In terms of sleep, babies do not have a concept that they will wake up again. This is something they learn. This is another reason some babies fight sleep so hard - wouldn't anyone fight death, especially when they don't know it's only "the small death"? Again, in terms of personality some babies learn quicker and worry less, others go on fighting sleep well into childhood (i was one). Often these individuals find it hard to "switch off" whatever age they are, and they can be challenging infants to care for because they tend to fight sleep, sleep briefly, wake frequently and find re-settling difficult. For THOSE babies a lack of eye contact during loving settling can be especially useful as their madly inquiring minds are LOOKING for a reason to keep them awake and learning. Babies like that, if cherished and understood, learn fast and excel in academia but tend to find hand crafts and so on difficult because they lack patience. Being understanding and loving while maintaining semi-strict routines can really assist such children in developing their abilities in different areas to the maximum as it TEACHES them the patience they lack. I see so much of me in DD and am constantly amazed that even the MEMORY of being her age and struggling with the same concepts and emotions she struggles with in fact does very little to assist me in parenting her.

    Bx

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Cairns
    Posts
    1,788

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hoobley View Post
    Again, in terms of personality some babies learn quicker and worry less, others go on fighting sleep well into childhood (i was one). Often these individuals find it hard to "switch off" whatever age they are, and they can be challenging infants to care for because they tend to fight sleep, sleep briefly, wake frequently and find re-settling difficult. For THOSE babies a lack of eye contact during loving settling can be especially useful as their madly inquiring minds are LOOKING for a reason to keep them awake and learning. Babies like that, if cherished and understood, learn fast and excel in academia but tend to find hand crafts and so on difficult because they lack patience.

    Bx
    Bec, fantastic thread!!

    You've also described me to a T here - I remember reading all night under the covers at the age of four or five, and my mum coming in in the morning to find me still awake. She had a wonderful approach, she figured that I wanted to read and learn, and that if I was tired I'd eventually sleep. It worked, but I have always found it hard to switch off, and probably always will. I don't recall fearing sleep, but found the world way too interesting to want to sleep. I have also lacked patience in skills that require hand eye coordination and repetition. I too see such similarities in my son, who is only five months old but who shows definite signs of following the same sleep patterns.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    In Bankworld with Barbara
    Posts
    14,235

    Default

    Hoobley, we're just going to move this to the Parenting and Family Life forum.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Melb - where my coolness isn't seen as wierdness
    Posts
    4,379

    Default

    Bec,

    You've raised loads of points I want to respond to but don't have the time to right now. I'm getting a little behind my self-imposed schedule with uni work, so unfortunately that takes precedence.

    Some of the things you mentioned though, such as cognitive development, morality, personality etc are pretty big areas to discuss, and could probably fill their own threads. But I'm sure with some back and forth, a particular tangent will evolve and I hope when I have the time to be able to come back and participate, add my 2 cents worth.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Aust- Nth Beaches
    Posts
    403

    Default

    O-Kay - not sure what's gone on before - but SUCH an interesting post Hoobley!

    I know scientifically that it can be shown via brain scans that eye contact on the whole is stimulating and tiring for a baby , however if they are tired they tend to look away - a good sign to watch out for. Certainly, unfamiliar and active faces (similing, talking) are more tiring, - But I wouldn't not look at them for that reason! Anecdotally, I'm sure many bfeeding mums would tell you about gazing into their babies eyes as they go off to sleep. (baby and/or mum!!)

    The links between child hood events and behvaiour is quite hazy, and hard to define even scienficially (ie. statistically) but certainly the studies on stress levels of babies when they are cyring is enough to indicate that there is certainly an attempt to communicate a need for help as you said Hoobley, as the stress levels reduce when the baby is comforted. However, I'm not convinced that those effects of controlled crying couldn't be reduced or even removed if the child was supported and loved etc. in every other way? There are just so many factors in what makes people behave as they do (nature/nurture) and so few studies done.

    They should do a study on stress in the home during pregnancy/early infancy and later issues those adults face - that would be fascinating to see if there was a link.

    Susee is right though, personality (the nature bit anyway) seems to be inbuilt from day one - actually sometimes even in the womb you can see signs of what your child is like, and some people have difficulty settling themselves at any age. Then again look at me, it's 4.30am in the morning, I've been up since 3am due to insomnia which tends to be related to a chemical imbalance - maybe some kids are born with that too? which would be awful then to be left alone and crying.

    However, it's certainly not good for a baby if the mother holding them is stressed and going insane with tiredness - which opens another can of worms regarding our culture and lack of support for mums - and isn't that why controlled crying came about? Mother's desperate for sleep so they can continue operating in our society which means you have to look after your own home, your own kids, and be up and running 8am to 6pm (minimum) which means they need the baby to sleep too?

    sorry, that IS getting off even your topic...

    My question is, at the end of the day, is it better for a baby to be held by a sick, tired, stressed, resentful, sad parent or cry themselves to sleep? and have a mummy who at least feels a bit more in control and is getting some sleep (as you said eventually the baby will "learn' to sleep and to give up tring to communicate. Not a nice choice, but I know I have felt at times that is the choice I was facing.

  6. #6
    paradise lost Guest

    Default

    Sorry i'm not arguing the rights or wrongs of CC or AP, i was just chucking about the few theories i've heard/read on how early experiences can shape the brain.

    I certainly agree that the if the effects if terrible cruelty (i.e. abuse) can be reversed then OF COURSE something like the learned helplessness one might potentially take from CC can be overcome. And i totally agree that the exact same treatment of one personality might have no effect while on another it might spell disaster. But i also know that when under stress many individuals seem to "unlearn" later lessons and revert to the initial one - i personally ALWAYS put the wrong password (the one i used when i first set up the account) into my email when i'm stressed. I type the first letter wrong and then correct, but i DO have to "remember" the change. I'm positive (looking only at myself) that this is the case in emotional areas as well. For many many years i had terrible trust issues which i have mainly overcome but put me under stress and they all come crowding back in.

    The eye contact thing i think has become muddied. It is not that eye contact is a bad thing, it is that in trying to settle an infant who is IN FACT stuggling to settle and sleeping poorly, reducing the stimulation of eye contact at specific times (i.e. when walking the floorboards at 3am trying to help them fall back to sleep) can be beneficial. I too gazed into DD's eyes while BFing her when she was calm and snoozy during the part of the day when she easily napped, but i avoided it when she was screaming at 11pm when she was obviously already overstimulated by a too-long day.

    As for the question you asked - i don't know. I only know what MY choice was. I cannot answer on either what anyone else should choose or how anyone else should think about that situation. I'm a single parent, i know how tough it can be and i do not question ANY parent who acts out of love, even if their action is driven in the moment by desperation. I have left DD to cry for 10 minutes a few times (twice) when i was, as you say, going insane. I needed a break and there was no-one to give me one so i took it anyway and thought to myself that in that situation both DD and i had to live with the situation and family we are both a part of. I don't think that a few one-offs like that are the same as CC, which is more of a "programme" and which many parents find doesn't really work even after a few weeks of trying it.

    To be honest i'm not sure this should become too personal. People are quite rightly defensive about their situations and decisions and no-one should feel judged for acting, as all parents do, out of love. I think basically i was hoping this thread could be about the concepts of early experiences/later impacts and not about the rights/wrongs of individual decisions or situations.

    Being a parent is too hard. You're sitting an exam every day. You're not allowed to study and you get all your results in 20 years when it's too late to do anything about your mistakes.

    Bx

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Forestville NSW
    Posts
    9,031

    Default

    ohhhhh.... Wow such a topic close to my heart.

    Often these individuals find it hard to "switch off" whatever age they are, and they can be challenging infants to care for because they tend to fight sleep, sleep briefly, wake frequently and find re-settling difficult. For THOSE babies a lack of eye contact during loving settling can be especially useful as their madly inquiring minds are LOOKING for a reason to keep them awake and learning. Babies like that, if cherished and understood, learn fast and excel in academia but tend to find hand crafts and so on difficult because they lack patience. Being understanding and loving while maintaining semi-strict routines can really assist such children in developing their abilities in different areas to the maximum as it TEACHES them the patience they lack.
    There have been times when I have emotionally blamed myself for Matilda's developmental issues. I say issues because some of it could be normal, and some could be abnormal. We are going to a developmental clinic in a month for an assessment.

    Anyway.... somewhere on my journey I have read heaps about the crying issues. I blamed myself for Matilda's development for her sleeping session. She refused to go to sleep in our arms. She had to be put down. If I held her in my arms, she would scream for up to 2 hours; if I put her down & walked out in a black room, she was asleep in 40 minutes. So which is more stressful for her, for me ? I prefered to hold her but it was demoralising holding a baby who was pushing me away and arching her back for such a long time. When I had to be away from her I would sit outside the door and sob. Neither way was beneficial for my stress levels, but the less time the better.

    SOOOO... bringing a totally personal note to the debate.... which I know isn't about how bad parenting causes things..

    Anyway... in my jumbled thoughts (with a few crash tackles from Matilda for cuddles)... I just have to say maybe even some of those developmental issues such as stimulation (i.e. eye contact) may come from birth. I spoke with one child psychologist who said that the birth itself could be the cause of developmental issues, another told me that the time of birth (prior to EDD, pre EDD etc etc) has a huge say in the development of the mind of children. Matilda was 17 days post EDD and he said that children born after 42 weeks are known for being flighty, escape artists, etc etc until a stage of development where they catch up. Sometimes its 5 years, sometimes its puberty (I hope its 5 years for my grey hair count ).

  8. #8
    paradise lost Guest

    Default

    Christy i've definitely read that certain parallels exist between personalities and births and can see it in my own family. But it's hard to know if the personality caused the birth or vice versa. Did my brother come early and do poorly because he is impatient and raw in general, or did his early traumatic arrival cause him to be like that? Was it my sister's reluctance to move forwards in life and nostalgic world view cause her to be 4 weeks overdue and have a 4 day posterior labour? Did my arrival by elective c-section at 39 weeks allow me to, as my mum put it, "always learn the lesson without hearing it first", or did i arrive that way because i was that sort of person anyway.

    That takes us into the metaphysical in some ways...

    Bx

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Melb - where my coolness isn't seen as wierdness
    Posts
    4,379

    Default

    Interesting tangent. My children are all quite different from each other, but 2 were born on their EDDs, one (Charlie) one day early and DS1 was 2 days early. My ob said he could have set his watch by me. It raises the question as to whether the time of birth could be linked to the mother, not the child, too.

    Okay, I said I wouldn't comment until I had more time, but just to throw something else into the mix.
    Last edited by sushee; May 11th, 2009 at 10:48 AM.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Rural NSW
    Posts
    7,100

    Default

    Great thread Lots of very interesting things to consider. I agree with Nickel that parenting today does suffer from the unnatural way our society/extended families are set up leaving the (mainly) the mother feeling very isolated.

    How interesting about settling and personality. I agree with the examples given. My eldest was a very active baby that found it hard to settle. To this day (as a 13yo) she is very active, very social, talks a mile a minute and lack patience to complete tasks such as craft. My 4yo was a dream baby... self settled very easily... these days demands to go to bed (often before he has even had dinner!) loves his sleep and enjoys his own company quietly drawing or doing jigsaw puzzles for very long periods of time. My third is like my first... DH finds it hard to "switch off" and delays coming to bed until he is exhausted... he is very sharp academically... I love my sleep, rarely lose sleep worrying about stuff (find it easy to switch off) and enjoy tasks that require patience like craft. So the theory is proven in our family as we are either one or the other in style.

    I also agree that it's good to be able to discuss development objectively without getting personal... but I couldn't resist confirming that particular example Hoobley gave.

    will return to discussion after kinder drop off!

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Melb - where my coolness isn't seen as wierdness
    Posts
    4,379

    Default

    The funny thing is, Charlie is definitely the most active child of all my kids, and definitely on the higher scale of activeness compared to other children (as those who have met us IRL will attest to) but was not at all hard to settle. He too asks to go to bed, and on Christmas Eve with a huge party going on in our house, grabbed my hand at 8.30pm and said 'night night', and went quietly to bed while the party was in full swing and the other kids at the party were still going mental.

    During wakeful hours, though, he's like the energiser bunny. That's my parent's nickname for him. :P

    So I think personality is a very difficult thing to pin down. While I agree that general advice should be provided to parents who are looking to try something different to perhaps ease a diifcult situation, instructional 'you must do this' sort of advice is counter productive, esp to a parent who knows what works for them.

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Rural NSW
    Posts
    7,100

    Default

    I didn't mean to imply that people can be neatly divided into one of two catagories. Personality has too many variations but generally speaking I agree with the theory that a certain type of mental functioning can interfere with sleep patterns. Environment can play a part too. I found that when I was studying and working and had a lot on my mind that I was more unsettled when trying to drift off to sleep.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Melb - where my coolness isn't seen as wierdness
    Posts
    4,379

    Default

    And I think it's where personality is shaped by nature and nurture that there has to be allowances for the fact that we are all unique. No one concept will apply to everyone. Most perhaps, a fair proportion is more likely, but many won't adhere. Bath of course I know you don't expect we all fall neatly into catergories I'm just pointing out that the concept of personality has been dissected in so many ways and there is still no catch-all test to define it, so there can't be catch-all processes with the expectation that there will be catch-all outcomes when dealing with it.

    ETA I really have to run (Charlie's getting a flu shot) but hopefully will catch up later.

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Funky Town, Vic
    Posts
    7,082

    Default

    Has anyone here seen the 7 up series?

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Forestville NSW
    Posts
    9,031

    Default

    No! but Lulu I would be highly interested in it. That would be interesting.

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Funky Town, Vic
    Posts
    7,082

    Default

    It was very, very interesting. They interviewed about 10 or so kids at the ages of 7, 14, 21, 28 - last I saw was 42 up I think.

    The premise of the doco is to prove the saying "give me the child at 7 and I will show you the man". So pretty much by the time children are 7 (no matter what the circumstance) they are pretty much 'formed' by that age.


    ETA: Christy - we still have time lol!!

  17. #17
    paradise lost Guest

    Default

    Yes! I've seen 7 up! Steiner talked alot about phases of 7 years, and he says it isn't so much that changes CANNOT occur after the first 7 years, but that each 7 year period is a window of opportunity for certain things and once the time is passed we find it harder to make those changes. Seven is a useful number because 7 years is how long it takes for every cell in your body to have been replaced by a new cell, so you are a "new person" every 7 years, though obviously in infancy this isn't quite what's happening. 7 up did find that the "ways" people were or had at 7 seemed to continue to resonate but some of the people DID act against thier normal "way". I seem to remember a very cautious man who was in a dead end job setting up his own business. The business worked because he was very cautious and careful with it, so setting it up was out of character, but the way he ran it wasn't, if that makes sense.

    They started a new annual one with millenium babies and the differences in them has been incredible to watch. The parents are professors, ex drug addicts, working class, upper class, working, not working. One of the most startling things for me was the high levels of aggression in many (not all, but a higher proportion than you might expect) children who were in childcare from 12 months or earlier compared to those who were with mum or dad or a grandparent until age 3. There were 4 and 5 year olds still using biting to express rage. They don't know why really, but i thought it was interesting. You can also see the differences between cultures, between parenting styles and so on. It's very non-judgemental (doesn't point out "good" or "bad" techniques or anything but will put all the kids in the same situation and then in the results list common elements like "all the kids who hit the naughty doll are also smacked in the home" or "half of the children who chose to feed their doll from their "breasts" were bottle fed but saw breastfeeding with a subsequent sibling" or whatever) and scientific though on such a tiny scale it is basically anecdotal iykwim. Dr Robert Winston does it. There are kids who have special needs, kids with behavioural problems, all sorts of kids! Very interesting.

    Bx

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    In my Zombie proof fortress.
    Posts
    6,449

    Default

    There is an Australian version of looking at children. Last year it was a tv series called "Life at One" and for "Life at Two" it is a website. Not sure how they will be presenting "Life at Three", hoping it goes back to TV.

    Links here:
    Life at 1
    Life at 2

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. seriously risky dad - help!
    By doulamamma in forum Gentle Parenting
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: February 29th, 2008, 07:04 AM
  2. Rewards and Praise: The Poisoned Carrot
    By johT in forum Gentle Parenting
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: April 6th, 2007, 07:27 AM
  3. Child Articles on BellyBelly
    By Ambah in forum Teenager General Discussion
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: November 22nd, 2005, 10:29 PM
  4. Toilet Training
    By Rouge in forum Nappies and Toilet Training
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: November 25th, 2003, 09:35 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •