psychology, the Brain, bio-developmental issues, infant mental health, infant human rights and parenting, intercultural aspects of child rearing, neurobiology, child development, attuned, intentional, attached & connected parenting,educational psychology, digital learning, internet addiction vs. internet/computer addiction, importance of physical activity, marijuana use and abuse in teens, global issues, consequences of first-time drug use
global human rights of infants perspective -- ground-breaking Human Rights Document presented May 2016 in Prague --
WORLD ASSOCIATION OF INFANT MENTAL HEALTH (WAIMH)
position paper on rights of infants
WAIMH Position Paper on the Rights of Infants
Edinburgh, 14-18 June, 2014 (amended March 2016)
© World Association for Infant Mental Health (13th May 2016)
Preamble and Rationale
We, as professionals and members othe World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) who work with infants and parents within different cultures and societies, affirm that there is a need to recognize specific Rights of Infants, beyond those which have already been specified in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, adopted 1990). We fully support the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child, and the subsequent document from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment Number 7, published in 2005, concerning the implementation of children’s rights in early childhood. We affirm that the UNCRC in addressing the rights of children, does not sufficiently differentiate the needs of infants and toddlers from those of older children, in that infants and toddlers are totally dependent upon the availability of consistent and responsive care from specific adults for the adequate development of their basic human capacities. There are unique considerations regarding the needs of infants during the first three years of life which are highlighted by contemporary knowledge, underscoring the impact of early experience on the development of human infant brain and mind.
Drawing attention to the particular needs and rights of the child in the first years of life is needed for several reasons. An all- too-common view is that the baby is “too small to really understand or to remember” and thus the baby’s perspective is often not appreciated by health professionals and even by parents. Infants have unique nonverbal ways of expressing themselves and their capacities to feel, to form close and secure relationships, and to explore the environment and learn – all of which require appropriate nurturing since they are fundamental for building a lifetime of mental and physical health. Moreover, infant needs and rights are often overlooked in the midst of conflicted priorities for rights of older children and parents (such as in custody disputes). Further, specifying the unique needs and rights of the child in the first years of life is needed in order to motivate infant oriented actions and policies at both community and societal levels. In spite of the existence of the CRC, many societies around the globe still pay insufficient attention to infants, especially in times of stress and trauma.
Additionally, consideration of infant needs and rights could guide policies of supports for mothers, fathers and caregivers, and in giving value to babies in contexts of risk and violence.
As indicated in the WAIMH by-laws, our aims include “...to promote education, research, and to promote the development of scientifically-based programs of care, intervention and prevention of mental impairment in infancy”. Our forming a Declaration of Infants Rights represent a significant step WAIMH Board has actually decided upon, that is to be action-oriented and to take explicit ethical stance and advocacy positions.
This Declaration is divided into two parts: the Infant’s basic rights, that should be endorsed everywhere, regardless of society and cultural norms, and the principles for health policy that are more sociocultural context- dependent.
I. Basic Principles of Infant Rights (Birth to three years of age)
1. The Infant by reason of his/her physical and mental immaturity and absolute dependence needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection.
2. Caregiving relationships that are sensitive and responsive to
infant needs are critical to human development and thereby constitute a basic right of infancy. The Infant therefore has the right to have his/her most important primary caregiver relationships recognized and understood, with the continuity of attachment valued and protected-- especially in circumstances of parental separation and loss. This implies giving attention to unique ways that infants express themselves and educating mothers, fathers, caregivers and professionals in their recognition of relationship-based attachment behaviors.
3. The Infant is to be considered as a vital member of his/her family, registered as a citizen, and having the right for identity from the moment of birth. Moreover, the infant’s status of a person is to include equal value for life regardless of gender or any individual characteristics such as those of disability.
4. The Infant has the right to be given nurturance that includes love, physical and emotional safety, adequate nutrition and sleep, in order to promote normal development.
5. The Infant has the right to be protected from neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, including infant trafficking.
6. The Infant has the right to have access to professional help whenever exposed directly or indirectly to traumatic events.
7. Infants with life-limiting conditions need access to palliative services, based on the same standards that stand in the society for older children.
II. Social and Health Policy Areas to be informed by these Principles:
1. Policies that support adequate parental leave so that parents can provide optimal care for their infants during the crucial early years of life.
2. Policies that minimize changes in caregiver during the early years of development.
3. Policies that promote the provision
of informational support to parents regarding the developmental needs of their infants and young children.
4. Policies that recognize the importance of facilitating emotional support for mothers, fathers, and caregivers, as an important component of fostering the optimal development and well-being of the infant.
5. Policies that promote access to evaluation and treatment of risks to development by trained professionals who are culturally sensitive and knowledgeable about early development and emotional health.
6. Infants with life-limiting conditions need access to palliative services.
7. The provision of adequate circumstances, including time for mothers, fathers, caregivers to get to know their infants and become skilled in providing for their infant’s care and comfort, throughout the support of their family and community. The right for parental leave, and its duration, should be valorized by the society, in a way that fits its contextual reality.
8. The provision of access to relevant early educational and psychological opportunities and programs that promote good-enough relationship experiences and thus, enhance cognitive and socio-emotional development.
9. Policies that ensure the provision of prompt access to effective mental health treatment for mothers, fathers, and caregivers that alleviates infants’ suffering and insure optimal development for the child.
10. Policies that allocate resources for training and supervision for caregivers in babies’ institutions, foster care professionals and foster parents, as well as resources for assessing and treating foster care infant’s emotional and developmental status.
WAIMH endorses the 10 principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children (as passed by the General Assembly of UN in 1989, and activated in Sept. 1990 with 54 Articles in total) that is:
1. The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.
2. The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
3. The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.
4. The child shall enjoy the benefits of social security. He shall be entitled to grow and develop in health; to this end, special care and protection shall be provided both to him and to his mother, including adequate pre-natal and post-natal care. The child shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services.
5. The child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.
6. The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from
his mother. Society and the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children without a family and to those without adequate means of support. Payment of State and other assistance towards the maintenance of children of large families is desirable.
7. The child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. He shall be given an education which will promote his general culture and enable him, on a basis of equal opportunity, to develop his abilities, his individual judgement, and his sense of moral and social responsibility, and to become a useful member of society. The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents. The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purposes as education; society and the public authorities shall endeavor to promote the enjoyment of this right.
8. The child shall in all circumstances be among the first to receive protection and relief.
9. The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form. The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.
10. The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.
Additionally, WAIMH endorses the points published in 2005 by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child as “General Comment No. 7”, that emphasizes the need to include all young children i.e. at birth throughout infancy, during the preschool years, as well as during the transition to school. Through this general comment, the Committee made clear that young children are holders of all rights enshrined in the Convention and that early childhood is a critical period for the realization of these rights, where parents and state parties play a major role. Assistance to parents is also mentioned as a right of the young child.
A special section is dedicated to young children in need of special protection.
As a background for the Declaration of Infant’s Rights, WAIMH also endorses the United Nations Millennium Development Goals that include:
1. The eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.
2. The achievement of universal primary education.
3. Gender equality and women’s empowerment.
4. The reduction of child mortality.
5. Improvement of maternal health.
6. Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
7. Ensuring environmental sustainability.
8. Ensuring global partnerships for development.
Key documents underpinning the Declaration
Bartlett, S. (2005). “An Alternative Model for Responding to Children in Poverty: The Work of the Alliance in Mumbai and Other Cities.” Children, Youth and Environments 15(2): 342-355.
Bernard van Leer Foundation (2009). Early Childhood Matters.
Child Rights Connect: formerly the NGO group for the CRC (2013). Retrieved 06/07/2015, from http://www. childrightsconnect.org/. Committee on the Rights of the Child (2015). “Committee on the Rights ofthe Child.” Retrieved 06/07/2015, from http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/ CRC/Pages/CRCIndex.aspx.
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights (2014). Retrieved 06/07/2015, from http://www.coe.int/en/web/commissioner Irwin, L., et al. (2007). Early Child Development: A Powerful Equalizer. Final Report for the WHO’s commission on the Social Determinants of Health. Vancouver, Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), University of British Columbia.
MacNaughton, G., et al. (2007). “Young Children’s Rights and Public Policy: Practices and Possibilities for Citizenship in the Early Years.” Children & Society 21(6): 458-469.
United Nations (1959). Declaration of the Rights of the Child: 164-165.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989; entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49. Retrieved 7/3/16; http://www.ohchr.org/en/ professional interest/pages/crc.aspx United Nations (2005). The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s: General Comment 7: Implementing Child Rights in Early Childhood.
United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner Europe Regional Office (2011). Rights of Vulnerable Children under the Age of 3, Ending Their Placement in Institutional Care.
Talons gripping the edge of the nest
wings spread, gauging the wind
the young osprey pushes off,
With each practice flight,
the young bird returns to the nest
and places at his mother’s feet,
in the dark, bright, quiet
of the moonlight the young bird
While his mother,
taking his twig,
builds a nest in his heart
So when he flies away
wherever he lands
the young bird
Up here in Maine, the tides go out, and the rocky shoreline appears and then the water comes back in, right up to the shore. It may be a small thing in the grand events of the world, but there is such solace in that constancy—in knowing that as you watch the water go away from shore, you also know it will return. It is a twice-daily event, which adds to the experience and learning of the constancy that nature provides. The moon disappears from view and it comes back. The sun disappears from view and it comes back.
The very best of parenting is like the constancy of the tides. Children are their own force of nature. It is the sacredness of constancy that helps hold them and shape them. You are the tides for your children. You are the air. You are the sun and moon that their world revolves around.
Constancy isn’t cool, or hip, or sexy, or most importantly, marketable. “Hey, let me sell you a ticket to watch the tide roll back in over the course of hours!” Constant moments aren’t Facebook postings: The First Day of School, Graduation, Soccer Championships, Recitals. These are all wonderful and I personally love to see the pictures whether I know you or your kids or not: there is such joy and humanity in those photos. But these aren’t pictures of tides, they are pictures of special events: like meteor showers and rainbows—the colorful moments of life that occur, but you catch them and enjoy them when you can.
I can market Disney and make you feel great about being the kind of parent who takes their kid to the Magic Kingdom. But there is no equal marketing for you getting the 5th glass of water that night. Even if that 5th glass of water is actually the thing that will become part of the fabric of your daughter. Even if that act is the nutrient all children
Much like there is marketing for Sugar Cereal and Junk Food and not carrots.
The sacredness of parenting rarely shows up in pictures, it’s hard to share on Facebook, it’s hard to see when you are in it. The sacredness of the everyday—the mundane, routine, constant all-of-it—that is what makes the warp and weft threads that create a person. The sacredness of the everyday of parenting is what makes up the fabric of who a child is, the self and worldview they rest in, the blueprint for relationship they will carry with them.
There are no pictures of you putting a Band-aid on arm that actually doesn’t have a cut on it. Of picking up cereal, or socks, or Legos off the floor. The endless laundry, dishes, trash. There are no pictures of the hundredth viewing of ‘Frozen’ or reading of ‘Goodnight Moon.’ The seventeenth math problem. The tears after a fight with a friend. There are no pictures of bedtime after bedtime, and breakfast after breakfast. Of the wrestling matches of putting on socks and finding shoes and NO I WON’T WEAR THAT COAT. Your ability to shepherd all of these things are the tides that come in and out.
I have such a perfect image of my niece as a toddler, all wrapped up in a towel after a bath at night, sitting on my sister-in-law’s lap. She was just hanging out, her wet hair slicked back, pink cheeks, sucking on her fingers, her blue eyes looking out, but not all that interested in the grown-up conversation around her. This was one of those sacred moments of childhood—where it was nothing special—to the outside world--but it was everything special to her inside world.
This is the sacred everyday act of parenting. The absolute building blocks of safety and security and contentment and confidence. This was just the end of bathtime, the beginnings of bedtime, the transitions of the everyday. But they are the bricks of healthy capacity—put thousands of them together and you have a foundation that can hold anything.
The very definition of this constancy is that you can take it for granted.
You believe in its existence utterly. I don’t worry whether the tide will come back in. I know it will. I don’t worry that the moon will reappear. I know it will. And the constancy you provide your children is something that they can and should take for granted. I am not talking about material things or that they will never learn to pick up their own Legos. I am talking about the constancy of asking for help and hearing a response (even if that response is age-appropriately telling them they can do it themselves). I am talking about the constancy of nighttime after nighttime of good-night, and morning after morning of good-morning, of bath, books, and bed; of lunch boxes and walks to the school or bus stop; of someone who listens again and again to the same story, the same movie, the same knock-knock joke. Of whatever it is we will figure it out.
Your super powers are your indestructability and your ability to show up over and over again. What makes your work important are the thousands and thousands and thousands of small threads that you weave around their heart, their soul, their growing being. This is what makes constancy sacred. You are building a space in their heart for this constancy—for this ability to hold the world and themselves. You are building this constancy in them so they can hold the rest of the world--which so often isn’t constant.
Like the poem of the Osprey above with each mundane, routine, sacred constant act, you are building a nest in their hearts that they can return to for strength and comfort for the rest of their lives.
© 2016 Gretchen L Schmelzer, PhD
from Gretchen Schmelzer♥ August 1, 2016
(from The Trauma Project:)
developmental perspective infant, child and parent, developmental, parenting & child/parent mental health.
at the initial stage, parenting is framed as creating, obtaining and maintaining the Nest (a safe haven, a secure base, nurturing the attachment system) and getting the education, the village, the ongoing support needed for parenting
infants and toddlers (zero to three), & preschoolers
see: the BRAIN
TED September 25 at 11:55pm https://www.facebook.com/TED TED has uploaded a new video: 5 Fascinating Facts About the Brain. https://www.facebook.com/TED/videos/10156084797100652/
and, How does your brain work? These fascinating talks explain!: http://t.ted.com/iDBNtkwf
"so many opinions, so much information out there, it's confusing, overwhelming, but so little support!"
latency age children, 'tweens, teens
tweens and screens: Ten year olds and Media- effects seen at age 16
Each extra hour per day spent watching TV, using the internet or playing computer games during Year 10 is associated with poorer grades at GCSE at age 16, according to research from the University of Cambridge.
Parents who are concerned about their child’s GCSE grade might consider limiting his or her screen time
Kirsten CorderIn, in a study published in the open access International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, researchers also found that pupils doing an extra hour of daily homework and reading performed significantly better than their peers. However, the level of physical activity had no effect on academic performance.
The link between physical activity and health is well established, but its link with academic achievement is not yet well understood. Similarly, although greater levels of sedentary behaviour – for example, watching TV or reading – have been linked to poorer physical health, the connection to academic achievement is also unclear.
To look at the relationship between physical activity, sedentary behaviours and academic achievement, a team of researchers led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge studied 845 pupils from secondary schools in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, measuring levels of activity and sedentary behaviour at age 14.5 years and then comparing this to their performance in their GCSEs the following year. This data was from the ROOTS study, a large longitudinal study assessing health and wellbeing during adolescence led by Professor Ian Goodyer at the Developmental Psychiatry Section, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge.
- See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/use-of-tv-internet-and-computer-games-associated-with-poorer-gcse-grades#sthash.WM73fis5.dpuf
parenting in reconfigured & reconstituted families; single-parent families
parenting through difficult times: parental conflict
the nature and effects of infant/child exposure to
high, UNRESOLVED (Mark E. Cummings) interpersonal/ inter parental conflict
on children at various developmental stages.
the adaptive roles children assume unconsciously over time
in an attempt to survive in the face of
chronic or perpetual-unpredictable/episodic terror:
victim, observer, rescuer. perpetrator? ingratiater? cycling between all ?
college age young people & young adults
parenting framed as coaching and supporting, advising generally only when asked. avoid arguing. . . . . dealing with individual differences in youth and handling sibling competition and rivalry . . .
acknowledging parenting mistakes and apologizing. listening without judging to the various stories maturing children hold of upbringing.
How are the stressors different than for their parents' generation? College mental health today. The issues of Gender, Harassment, Sex, Substance Use and Abuse, Mood Disorders and Suicidality, and Internet abuse. Why are are parents confused about how to deal with supporting young people who live at home and do not attend school or work?
Internet Addiction in Young Adults: Drug-like Withdrawal
Internet 'Addiction' Linked to Druglike Withdrawal, Deborah Brauser, Medscape
February 25, 2013 EDITORS' RECOMMENDATIONS
Functional MRI Reveals Neural Correlates of Internet Addiction
For this study: 60 adult volunteers (mean age, 24 years; 55% women) underwent the following tests:
Results showed strong associations between Internet addiction and depression on the BDI, autism traits on the AQ, and schizotypal impulsive nonconformity on the O-LIFE — and weaker associations between this type of addiction and long-standing anxiety, as measured by the STAI-T/S.
Compared with baseline, the high-Internet-use group showed a significantly greater drop in positive mood than did the lower-use group (P < .001).
"The immediate negative impact of exposure to the internet on the mood of internet addicts may contribute to increased usage
Dr. Reed noted in a release that for these people, the feeling is similar to "coming off illegal drugs like ecstasy."
"These initial results, and related studies of brain function, suggest that there are some nasty surprises lurking on the net for people's well-being," he said.
The researchers note that key reasons why many of these individuals use the Internet so much is to access pornography and gambling Web sites — which have been shown in the past to potentially lead to addictive states.
"It may be that any results relating to 'internet addiction' are actually manifestations of other forms of addiction," they write.
The study authors have reported no relevant financial relationships.
PLoS One. Published online February 7, 2013. Full article