A book by Sally Goddard Blythe, a child development expert, called “The Genius of Natural Childhood” published June 2011 is now widely regarded as an authority on the problems faced by young children today in terms of early childhood development.
The view of the author essentially is that sedentary lifestyles, lack of play, and quality interaction with both parents is not only robbing them of their childhood but hampering their growth, and natural development. Every child has a potential to be a “genius” in the unique place that each child has in the world – modern day living is robbing children of the opportunity to fulfill their individual potential.
“Up to half of five year old’s are not ready for school as working parents abandon traditional games, nursery rhymes, bedtime stories and lullabies” reports The Telegraph”
Ms Goddard Blythe says that growing numbers of parents were turning to electronic toys and automatic baby walkers or rocking chairs to keep their toddlers occupied.
Evidence is that children who do not go through the normal stages of crawling, sitting up and learning to walk also miss out on important triggers for emotional and cognitive development.
Another childhood development expert Dr Thomas Armstrong lends support to the content of the book with a recognition that genius is derived from the same root as genesis – to give birth, rejoice – to be joyful and zestful.
Armstrong notes that there are strong forces in the world today in the home, in schools and throughout the wider community that directly and indirectly subdue the natural curiosity, wonder and awe of the child.
Factors such as poverty, anxiety, rigid ideologies that ferment fear and hatred, the dead hand of materialism. Schools also tend to fit children to the mold.
Armstrong cites the broader culture,and a mass media given to hype that provides a constant onslaught of violence, mediocrity – and repugnant role models.
In a book review by Steiner Books that calls Ms Goddard Blythe “an inspiration”, it is recorded that around half of parents today never read to their children, that the average child watches 4.5 hours of television every day, and that there is epidemic obesity, and failure to thrive, to be ready for school in young children.
Young children need good role models, and need movement, energy and life – not to be stifled indoors, eating fast food, energy drinks, entertained by robotic games.
Sometimes it needs one person to come forward, with the necessary experience and expertise, to be able to speak up for us all. Depression among youth and adults today is endemic, basically because, whatever the issue, the rights of individuals are generally denied in favor of the prevailing social “order”.
The good news is that both parents and teachers can improve outcomes for children simply by starting, as soon as possible, a more natural and healthy style of living. Best of all the natural things that can be done to get children more extroverted and into living – don’t need to cost you any money. Games can be played without membership of expensive and exclusive clubs, good food can be returned to the table instead of high calorie takeaways and children can get a hug from their parents instead being dosed with kiddie codeine or Ritalin.
Current statistics throughout the world show that substance abuse is rife among the up and coming generation, and youth suicide. Failure to meet milestones for school will often indicate a somewhat lost and alienated child. Lack of maturity, poorly developed motor skills and unco-ordinated physical function in young people often lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment and inferiority, resulting in drug use and social dysfunction.
Now society is getting a glimpse, through the media, of the plight of many young girls and boys who are set up by their parents to take part in baby beauty pageants. Although there is much public opinion against what might look like exploitation, the dedicated mothers and their tots claim that they enjoy the thrill of frocking up and competing in baby beauty competitions.
The baby pageants are expensive as a hobby, a single dress can cost thousands of dollars – and then there are the accessories, make up and hair do’s, together with accommodation costs. Top prizes attract, and a successful baby beauty can have money to spare in their bank account before their first day at school. The lure of the baby beauty pageants is that they are a means to fame and fortune – not only for the successful child, but also, by proxy, the parents.
Some see these pageants as being merely parental wish fulfillment carried out to excess, and at the expense of the child being free to develop their talents and energy in their own unique way - in the freedom of play, in the environment of the child.
A natural childhood used to be something to be taken for granted – children were not feted as potential consumers, with an emotional hold over parental purse strings, nor were they regarded as fodder for an ever increasing drug market, both in terms of prescription medications and illicit street drugs.
In order to save the children of today, to promote good health and well being, children need to be encouraged back to a natural way of living – together with their parents.