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A child's early years are widely considered to be crucial to its development, and that environment plays a large part.

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Introduction

A child's early years are widely considered to be crucial to its development, and that environment plays a large part. With improvements, in Modern Western Society, regarding health and housing, there has been great interest in the psychological welfare of children, with particular attention to the effects of deprivation and institutionalised children. It shall be illustrated that negative aspects of early childhood can be overcome. Research into the effects of maternal deprivation was carried out by John Bowlby (1955), to determine its social implications. He stated that maternal deprivation during a child's early life was likely to cause social, intellectual and emotional problems later, also that these effects were irreversible. His hypothesis on this subject, namely monotropy, was based on the idea that an infant forms only one firm attachment, and that is usually with the mother. He found that many children in care that had been denied 'motherly' love failed to develop the ability to form good attachments and relationships in later life, and that they were of an affectionless character, meaning that they had not learnt to love. ...read more.

Middle

In comparison, children from the same orphanage, who had not been relocated, generally worsened. He concluded that their improved environment was a major factor in their development, so much that they reached levels enabling adoption. Later work showed that these individuals went on to lead normal lives by comparison to those that remained institutionalised, who struggled in later life, both intellectually and socially. It has been found that even in extreme cases of deprivation those individuals can overcome the negative effects, and that they can be reversed. Koluchova (1972) conducted a case study on two Czechoslovakian twins who had been institutionalised at birth, after the death of their mother, for the first year of their lives. When their father remarried he took them home where they lived until they were around seven. During this time they suffered severe deprivation. Their stepmother kept them in a room apart from the rest of the family, receiving no social, emotional or affectionate contact and they were punished, at times, by being locked in a cellar. ...read more.

Conclusion

This would then turn to feelings of despair, outwardly appearing calmer, but behaving insular and despondent, with little interest in its surroundings. If at this stage separation continues, the child becomes more responsive but remains impersonal, and after this comes a period of detachment, when the child's anxiety levels appear lower. During this phase, if reunited with its mother, the child may actually reject her, angry at her leaving him. This is remedied by the gradual 'relearning' of the relationship and the trust and affection that were present prior to separation. An important definition of deprivation was made by Rutter (1981). He stated that deprivation was when a child forms a close relationship with someone and then is separated from the attachment figure. Privation is when the child has never formed these bonds with anyone; Rutter (1981) argued that privation and its long-term effects are much more serious and damaging. We can see that, according to evidence, when attachments are made, and broken, individuals are deemed to be suffering from deprivation and that the effects are apparent. However, with improved social conditions, intellectual stimulation and a secure, enriched environment, great improvement can be made regarding the child's development and quality of life. ...read more.

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