Did you know about some severe outcomes of neglect experience at a young age?
The absence of responsive relationships (which means active and positive interactions with the parents of caregivers) poses a serious threat to a child’s development and well-being. Severe, frequent stress experienced early in life redirects the focus of brain development toward rapid response to threat and away from planning and impulse control.
What does it mean?
The developmental process is fueled by reciprocal, “serve-and-return” interactions between children and the adults who care for them (could be parents or other caregivers). The more we interact with children they faster their brain develops and the more intricate the connections are.
Later on these connections will be responsible for the planful and goal-oriented behavior as well as for controlling emotions and making more rational decisions – now to get angry, not to do illegal activities, not to hurt people, give thought to important decision making, etc.
Moreover according to Harvard Center on the Developing Child, “the environment in which one develops before and soon after birth provides powerful experiences that chemically modify certain genes in ways that then define how much and when they are expressed”. Which is absolutely crazy! Just how we interact with the child can change his or her genetic structure. That sounds like an irreversible process.
No wonder that every dollar invested in early childhood programs returns from $4 to $9 to society!