Topic 106: Do you agree with the following statement? A personís childhood years (the time from birth to 12 years of age) are the most important years of a personís life. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
I agree that a person's childhood, the time from birth to twelve years old, are the most important years of a person's life. One's childhood is composed of different stages that prepare him into adulthood. This stage is crucial for everyone's physical, emotional and social development.
From ages 0-6, according to Erik Erikson, achild develops the basic trust, autonomy or independence, and initiative. During this stage, a child depends on his parents for his basic needs. Parents play a significant role during this period. If parents encourage their child's use of initiative and reassure him when he makes mistakes, the child will develop the confidence needed to cope with future situations that require choice, control, and independence. Likewise, if parents are supportive, but consistent in discipline, children will learn to accept without guilt, that certain things are not allowed, but at the same time will not feel shame when using their imagination and engaging in make-believe role-plays. If a child won't get this basic trust, independence and initiative, they will develop mistrust, shame or doubt and guilt. He may begin to feel ashamed of his behavior, or has too much doubt of his abilities.
At age of 6-12, again according to Erik Erikson, achild develops competence. School is important at this stage. At school, children learn to make things, use tools, and acquire skills. And they do all these while making the transition from the world of home into the world of peers. They also learn to talk about emotions and feelings, which is crucial for children's mental health. If children can discover pleasure in intellectual stimulation, being productive, seeking success, they will develop a sense of competence. If not, they will develop a sense of inferiority.
To sum up, the first few years of oneís life is very important. What a child learns during this critical period in his life will determine what kind of adult person heíll grow up to be.
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