Are childhood years the most important in one’s life?

September 07, 2019

Are childhood years the most important in one’s life?

“We become what we learn and experience”. A lot of people will agree with this statement as what we learn and experience through our life plays a great role in who we become and how we change our lifestyles and behaviors. However, from the different stages of our lives, I believe what we learn and experience in the childhood years has a great impact through our whole life as it prepares us to the adulthood physically and emotionally. And for this reason I totally agree that a person’s childhood years are the most important years of one’s life.

According to Erik Erikson (1950), from the ages 0 to 6, a child develops the basic trust, autonomy or independence and initiative. Hence, parents and teachers play a significant role preparing the child through these aspects. The child learns and follows what they see around them and how they are treated in certain things. Therefore, parents should give utmost importance to give the child a safe and secure environment to meet their basic physical needs as a child is fully dependent of the parents on this stage.
In addition, if the parents encourage their children to use their own imagination and reassure them when they make mistakes and help them to know the right way of doing things, by doing this, the child will grow up to be a confidence and independence persona, who knows how to make his own choices and how to control future situations. And if the child lacks the basic trust, independence and initiative, which he needs in the childhood, he will develop mistrust, shame and guilt while growing up. Thus, the child will feel ashamed and doubtful which will affect his behavior and in his abilities too. Therefore, in order to build a confidence and well-disciplined person, the children must grow in a happy environment which encourages their development, ensures comfort, health and safety and provide support with disciplined manners.  
Providing such environment for the children is to help them to grow up to be a responsible and confidential person. Hence, we see people with disturbed and troublesome personalities and the first thing we find to blame is the childhood trauma they had to experience. This affects the person’s way of thinking and how they behave in times of hardship and difficulties thrown into them through life. How they deal with the problems they face in a daily life is certainly different from the people who had experienced a healthy and supportive childhood.

Moreover, in the childhood age, the brain develops at a very high rate compared to other stages of life. In this stage, the child learns appropriate behavior, boundaries, empathy and other important social skills, that will remain with them for life. Scholars say that the first five years of a child are the most important as this is when a child becomes what they are going to be.
According to Dr. Madeleine Port Wood (2015), the children of today’s generation are missing out on these vital skills and the main reason is that the technology is replacing human interaction. Due to this, children face significant changes in language development and social skills compared to the children who are more engaged with human interactions. In addition, researches show that the language skills of children of school-starting age have been gradual declining and lessen over the past few years and children are less well-engaged in the lessons and other activities. It also shows that the children are becoming more hyperactive and have more behavioral difficulties.
Thus, it is important to note that the first five years of a child are crucial to the development of social, cognitive and thinking skills, the child’s personality and behavior and their ability to concentrate. Therefore, parents should give the children an environment with more human interactions rather than a life reliance on technology.
In accordance with Erik Erikson (1950), after the first 5 years, at the age of 6 to 12, the child develops competence and schools or any other educational institutes play an important role at this stage. Children learn to do things on their own, how to use tools and obtain different skills which makes them successful in certain fields at a very young age. Such as, most children who find interest in gymnastic starts their career at a very young age as of 3 years old and becomes successful in the profession.

As children need a healthy and balanced diet, they need physical activities too.  Nowadays children are actively engaged in technology, spend most of their time sitting on the sofa or laying on the bed with a tablet or watching TV. This is the biggest issue that leads weight gain and different diseases which may last for adulthood as well. In addition, it also effects child’s social, intellectual and physical development as well as relationship between family members. As we give importance to our children’s education and better conduct, in the meantime we must give that much importance to their physical development by providing safe environment for physical activities. For example, parents can take them to park, let them involve in household activities, according to their age level and let them participate in extra-curricular activities held in school too. In our society majority of parents are unaware of the importance of physical development. They just believed that participating physical activities or spending time on playing, lacks time to spend on learning or they may get less marks. “The executive skills children acquire on the playground may transfer to academic tasks and real-world conditions that involve behavior inhibition, working memory, and strategy” (Trudeau and Shepard, 2008) . Therefore, parents must be aware of this matter, the importance of physical activities during childhood for better tomorrow.

 “Children with divorced parents continued to score significantly lower on measures of academic achievement, conduct, psychological adjustment, self-concept, and social relations” (Amato and Keith 1991; Amato and Booth 1997 as quoted in Amato 2001). Parental separation may ruin a child’s childhood and adulthood as well. Hence, to shape a productive child, children needs so much love, care and a safe environment from their parents as well as most importantly parents togetherness.
Childhood is the Golden time of our life which flies away without giving any sign and never comes back. However, we all must be aware of the important realities about the childhood. Because, this is the period a child is shaped as a different for the rest of his or her life. Moreover, what the child will acquire and appreciate from his or her family, teachers, peers as well as neighbors is what he or she will absorb in the forthcoming. In recent years, researches have showed that the human brain advances the immense popularity of its neurons, and children are most open to learn between the first three years of age. In actuality, the opening of firsthand evidence is acute to the development of self-motivated impartial trails (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000). So, there is no doubt that the childhood years are the most important in one’s life.
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