Development in Infancy
“The baby makes great strides in the first year of his life. From being a completely dependent being at birth he has become by his first birthday a restless, eager child about three times as heavy and eight inches longer, staggering about the room holding on to the furniture, almost able to feed himself, laughing at familiar friendly faces, distinguishing strangers, babbling happily most of the time, awake and energetic for ten or eleven hours out of the day’s twenty-four. He has learned more in this year than he will ever learn again in the same period” (Lee 5). The first year of a child’s life is quite possibly the most important. Not only does the child learn hundreds of new things every day, but there is also a lot of physical and psychological development that takes place. Paul Mussen calls the newborn a “remarkably capable organism” that has much more “cognitive ability” than realized (“cognition refers to all the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing remembering, and communicating” (Myers 107). He writes, “Almost from the moment of birth, the infant is able to learn, and some rather complex perceptual capacities and some kinds of understanding previously believed to be products of learning and experience now appear to be ‘programmed’ into the organism” (Mussen 20).
As infants, we are dependent on those around us. According to Harry Munsinger, “Early handling of infant dependence determines whether the child’s world is happy or sad” (Munsinger 392). They may not realize it, but the way that parents and adults deal with this dependency has a great effect on the child. “The infant’s early experiences tell him the world is a place where (1) you cry a little and get what you want or (2) you cry forever and get nothing” (Munsinger 392). The first stage of child development is crucial to the behavior and personality of the child. If the child’s needs are not handled delicately enough there...