Family And Child Development

The main engine of development of a child is the accumulation of human values from the family. Human values broadly defined, has several aspects, including love, respect for elders, kindness, cooperation, honesty, politeness, patriotism, sympathy and empathy are considered to be a key determinant of developed personality. The personality of a man is depended upon the family in which he lives. Better formation from the family generates the child’s mental growth and there by benefits the society.

“Education which does not teach us to discriminate between good or bad, to assimilate the one and eschew the other is a misnomer,” said Mahatma Gandhi. The purpose of education is not only to make our children literate and merely develop individual skills but to make them appropriate human beings with positive and integrated elements of their respective societies. Thus such values as punctuality, cleanliness, respect for elders, helping the less fortunate, team work and discipline, give the socially integrated citizens a better place to live on this earth. We know the process of social integration begins in the family. Researchers observe a positive relation between family and society. As family is the cradle of social life, we can say that good social beings come from good families. A person’s character, skill and social awareness are determined by the family which he or she lives. The training from the family should be a means drawing out the best of the body, mind and spirit in a child. The experience in the family should be joyous to the child. Then only the child can develop a positive attitude towards society. On the other hand a child who experiences any kind of hardships from the family has a chance to develop negative attitude towards him and society, which may end up his or her life as anti-social or unscrupulous. Here the role of family to bring up the child in the proper channel can in no way be under looked.

Milton in his ‘Paradise Regained’ has said, “The childhood shows the man as morning shows the day”. Wordsworth expresses the same fact though less poetically but more cryptically when he says “child is father of the man”. Both the poets positively assert that childhood lend itself to prediction that tomorrow’s man is there in today’s child just as the future tree is there in today’s seed, invisible to the naked eye. If the skills and capabilities in the child be properly channelized we witness great personalities who challenge the dynamic world. The lives of much great man illustrate this point of view. Napoleon had built forts of snow as a child, Nelson as a child never knew what fear meant, Macaulay talked printed words even as a child of two years. These people and many such kept up their childhood promises and became great men in later life. We can undoubtedly say that such personalities will derive only from a better home-environment.

But we also see a number of boys and girls who score brilliant ranks in schools and colleges and show great promise, but soon vanish in the wilderness of shapeless future. Nobody knows what had happened to them except perhaps their own near and dear ones. Like drops of rain that falls on desert sand they disappear. The complexities of life, the problems that face them perhaps overwhelm them. Their facilities disintegrate by degrees and they move to obscurity. They are the people who need guidance. Better home-environment would keep their inner light burning.

The mind of a child is something like a piece of wax which can be easily fashioned into any shape we want, the only thing is, and it needs the skilled hand of a master artist. The virgin mind that is not ravaged by the complexities of life is ready to receive; whatever is planted will grow; thorns or flowers; gardens or grasslands. Give it to a Jijibai or Moropanth. The world will witness ‘Sivajis’ and ‘Lakshmibahais’ give it a Dhritarshtra, the world will be plagued with Duryodhanas and Dussasanas.

This brings out the importance of the family-environment that shapes the mind of a growing child. A happy home with loving parents will definitely contribute the healthy growth, while a suffocating atmosphere in the family might crush the fair promises. The fast disintegrating family life, as a result of pseudo-civilization which has rung a death knell to many time tested values is at the root of the crisis of character and growing unrest all over the world. In short the role of parents in a child’s overall development is definitely a crucial one. We have lots of tips for taking it further. Don’t criticize or compare the child with others, encourage the child in any of his or her creativity, praise the child in success, provide honest answers to the child, be patient to the child, parents should try to build a genuine relationship with the child, try to understand the feelings of the child, share the happiness and sorrows, satisfy the child’s social and psychological needs and we will witness challenging personalities.