Barriers to Childhood Development
Children experience several stages of cognitive, physical and psychosocial development, which are typically marked by developmental milestones. However, several barriers pose significant challenges to those developmental processes, including parental abandonment and poverty. Nonetheless, barriers are challenges that can be overcome through early intervention, access to resources, and parental education and involvement.
According to the American Psychological Association, socioeconomic status is typically measured as a culmination of several factors, including education, income and occupation 1. A low socioeconomic status, as noted by the APA, often leads to poorer health and poverty, diminishing a child and family's overall quality of life. The APA reports that lower levels of socioeconomic status are also associated with higher rates of attempted suicide, and higher levels of emotional and behavioral difficulties, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorders and higher levels of aggression.
Behavioral and Emotional Barriers
Behavioral and emotional problems in children often affect the quality of their social relationships, thus posing significant barriers to healthful social and emotional development. Children with behavioral disorders such as oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder often have difficult relationships with others because of their aggressive tendencies, notes pediatric researchers at the Healthy Children website 2. Furthermore, unhealthy emotional coping, according to family physicians at the Family Doctor website, can lead to a weakened immune systems and somatic symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches.
Chronic physical inactivity can lead to several developmental concerns in children, including obesity, lower academic achievement and fewer social interactions, according to research compiled by the Mollen Foundation. A significant contributor to childhood obesity, as the health professionals and educators at the Mollen Foundation note, is a sedentary lifestyle. Physical activity is especially important for infants and toddlers who are still developing and strengthening their gross motor skills.
Issues of child abandonment and parental neglect can cause emotional and behavioral barriers to development in children 4. Claudia Black, an addiction and codependency specialist and contributor to "Psychology Today," notes that children who do not have their physical and emotional needs met develop the belief that the world is an unsafe place, where no one is to be trusted. Parents can redirect these beliefs by showing sincere interest in their child and consistently providing them with emotional support.
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- American Psychological Association: Children, Youth and Families and Socioeconomic Status
- Healthy Children: Disruptive Behavior Disorders
- Family Doctor: Mind/Body Connection: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health
- Science Daily: Parental and Societal Values May Present Barriers to Outdoor Activity for Children in Child Care Centers
- Psychology Today: The Many Faces of Addiction -- Understanding the Pain of Abandonment
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