Week 2

Discussion: Enhancing Social and Emotional Development in the First Year

As your textbook suggests, applying knowledge from the study of social and emotional development is applicable for parents, teachers, health care providers, policy makers, and many other types of professionals. Perhaps it is for the first group—parents—that this knowledge is of most vital importance, since they are the main individuals who interact with an infant in the first year and thereby set the early foundation for social and emotional development throughout the lifespan.

Returning to the topic of orphanages mentioned in this week’s Introduction, a great deal of research has examined the impact of being raised in an orphanage setting on infants’ social and emotional development. Generally, they have found that the effects of early deprivation depend greatly on the length of time that the child was institutionalized. Specifically, O’Connor, Rutter, Beckett, Keaveney, and Kreppner (2000) found that children who were adopted into loving families by 6 months old were able to make up most developmental deficits that they had when they were adopted. However, children adopted after the age of 2 had lasting developmental delays. These early years are a critical period for brain development, and interestingly, children who had spent a longer time institutionalized also had a smaller-than-average head size, indicating the effects of these experiences on the brain. Further research has found that children who experience early deprivation also experience chronic stress, as noted with elevated cortisol levels, more than 6 years after their adoption (Gunnar & Cheatham, 2003; Gunnar, Morison, Chisholm, & Schuder, 2001). This high level of stress is associated with a variety of outcomes, including physical growth limitations, difficulties with focus and attention, and challenges with controlling anger and impulses. All of this research points to the importance of proper interaction and care for infants in the first year!

In this Discussion, imagine you are a developmental psychologist asked to give a presentation to a group of parents expecting their first child. In this presentation, you explain to these parents several tangible ways that they could nurture and support their infant’s social and emotional development in the first year of life.

To Prepare:

· Review this week’s Learning Resources and consider social and emotional development in infancy.

· Imagine you must give a 5-minute presentation to expecting parents about how they might nurture, support, and enhance their child’s social and emotional development. For your intended audience, choose a cultural group or population different from your own.

· Develop a script for how you would present information from the literature and how the parents could apply it to their lives in tangible ways. Write the script using language actively directed toward your audience (e.g., “I would like to share with you several ways to…”). Practice reading your script aloud to ensure it could be presented within the time frame.

By Day 4

Post the presentation script that you would use to inform parents how they could nurture, support, and enhance their infant’s social and emotional development in the first year in a context that relates to their culture. (You do not have to record the presentation.)

Required Readings

Cole, P. M., Martin, S. E., & Dennis, T. (2004). Emotion regulation as a scientific construct: Methodological challenges and directions for child development research. Child Development, 75(2), 317–333.

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Halberstadt, A. G., & Lozada, F. T. (2011). Emotion development in infancy through the lens of culture. Emotion Review, 3(2), 158–168.

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Kochanska, G. (2001). The development of self-regulation in the first four years of life. Child Development, 72(4), 1091–1111.

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Lewis, M., et al. (Eds.). (2010). Handbook of emotions (4th ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

· Chapter 15, “The Emergence of Human Emotions” (pp. 272–292)
Handbook of Emotions, 4th Edition by Lewis, M. Copyright 2016 by Guilford Publications, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Guilford Publications, Inc. via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Required Media

Balmes, T. (Director). (2010). Babies [Motion picture]. France: StudioCanal. Available from Focus Features at http://www.focusfeatures.com/babies

Note: You will need to purchase the DVD or rent streaming access to this documentary. It is available through many online video distribution services. 

Please use at least 3 references