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Early social relationships and their impact on adulthood

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The early environment, and particularly early social relationships, are crucial shapers of a child’s early development. Although the parent/infant bond has existed naturally for generations, the modern science behind babies’ psychological development is very complex—Lynne Murray

In an article by medicalxpress.com, June 19, 2014, the author discusses a new book, The Psychology of Babies: How Relationships Support Development from Birth to Two. The book was written by Lynne Murray, Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Reading. Professor Murray is internationally recognized for her work in childhood development.

Her work centers on infants whose mothers are depressed or struggling either economically or psychologically. The effects on the infants is of main concern to Professor Murray. The lack of attention these babies get from their mothers can have a detrimental effect on these babies throughout their lives. Professor Murray has found that reading to a child, having a day of just pretending, and even cooking can have a positive influence on children as early as the age of two.

She feels that face-to-face play as infants, pretend games around the age of two, then conversations concerning people and their feelings with older children help the child grow in a more emotionally mature manner which helps them make better decisions and cope with life through adulthood. She also feels that aside from parent/child relationships, the child becomes more cognitively and socially developed through childcare and interaction in social groups. She does warn that this is better in countries where the daycare system is regulated.

The findings of Professor Murray are strong indicators that children need social interaction from infancy to cope better with life’s challenges. She believes that watching television together does not create the time type of bond that turning the television off and reading a book would create.

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