The family is the basic social unit of society. It follows that strong, stable families will help make a more harmonious society. We see that the young people who have grown up in broken families are much more likely to engage in self-destructive and anti-social behaviors.
We recently watched a program on TV that in one segment touched on early childhood development (including information from child neuroscience). The main point made is that the first 5 years of life are critical in constructively socializing children, and developing their sense of empathy with others. We think many of us (perhaps most) suspect or sense intuitively that this is true.
Developing empathy in the child takes place in the home with both mother and father present and involved, and with the help of siblings if there are any. This early social development in the child occurs prior to the time of attending pre-school or being dropped off at a daycare center.
The importance of loving touch, skin to skin, was noted in the program. Holding, hugging, and caressing your baby, infant, toddler is of great value.
When a nurturing, loving environment is absent or lacking, and when parent(s) do not put in the effort and time needed to bond and connect with their children, the children are not likely to develop empathy for their fellow human beings. Expecting the child to be socialized at school years after birth is unrealistic, and failing to properly parent in the very early years of the child’s life is detrimental to his/her long term development.
We must stress here that it does appear that the best environment for properly and successfully nurturing children (future adults) is the traditional nuclear family with the wife/mother and the husband/father both actively engaged with their young children, and with the mother in the home, at home, during these first 5 years of life. Daycare centers are a poor substitute for the mother being with her child during the day in those early years. Collective human experience over the centuries and across cultures supports this conclusion.
Our feature image is of a spot in both sunlight and shade along a trail in Canyonlands National Park in Utah.
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