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A child's development has nothing to do with parenting

(37 Posts)
Reallytired Thu 10-Sep-09 20:31:41

My son's development was really slow as a baby/ toddler. He had physio to help him walk and he also had glue ear which delayed his speech. We are fairly confident there is nothing wrong neurologically with my son. He had orthopedic problems.

However at the age of seven he has now caught up and is enjoying school and has loads of friends. He can ride a bike and swim.

My five month old daughter development is quite advanced. She is sitting well without support and making attempts at crawling. She certainly wont be needing the child physio.

However my children both have the same father and have been parented in exactly the same way. It goes to show that development is luck and nothing to do with how good someone is at mothering.

It has been a surprise how different two babies are.

Scottie22 Thu 10-Sep-09 21:10:19

I have a daughter with a brain injury and have been told at numerous meetings with consultants and physios that pro-active parenting makes all the difference to prognosis. I do believe strongly that our huge efforts are making a big difference to her development. Whilst I agree that for children without difficulties development is generally down to genes and 'luck' you can still enhance a childs development through positive parenting,love and nurture.

HerBeatitude Thu 10-Sep-09 21:15:28

I don't believe that any child is parented in exactly the same way as another child. If they were, parents would be robots.

Our children are individuals and we therefore respond to them as individuals - what we do with one child isn't the same as wht we do with another. For example, DS was born and went to sleep for 8 hours. DD was born and fed for 8 hours. Their parenting was different right from the start.

chegirl Thu 10-Sep-09 21:16:37

I agree and disagree smile

I work on a Child Development Team and I would say that the vast majority of children are parented absolutly fine. The children I work with range from those with some developmental delay to those with complex and multiple needs.

BUT I have also been involved with children who have suffered neglect and that sort of parenting definately affects development, no question.

I think the problems arise when the causes/reasons for developmental delay become muddled and parents feel judged by others as bad parents.

My son has developemental delay and TBH I have felt professionals assumed he came from a bookless, tv addicted, not bothered home until they met us and our other kids. Not all but certainly some teaching staff and HCPs. Its not nice to feel you have to prove you are not a pleb in order to get your child's needs met.

CarGirl Thu 10-Sep-09 21:18:02

I disagree too. Parenting can influence a childs development.

What if you had 2 children very similar to your son, one set of parents pursued treatment for his problems the other set didn't bother? I think there would be a different outcome.

Also a parent never has 2 pfb, they have a pfp and then subsequent children and you do parent them differently and they have different needs etc.

colditz Thu 10-Sep-09 21:20:25

So if you'd dumped them both in a playpen for the first four years of their life, they'd both be as fine as they are now, would they?

Doubt it. It's your parenting that has made them who they are, building on what was already there.

MrsMerryHenry Thu 10-Sep-09 21:21:25

ReallyTired, I can't help thinking that your experience has led you to an utterly bizarre conclusion. Your son had physical difficulties which impaired his development. Your daughter did not. Why do you make mothering/ parenting the focus of your conclusion, rather than physical impairments??

If you had neglected your daughter emotionally but given your heart to your son, you would most definitely notice a significant difference between them in self-esteem, courage, intellectual development, social skills, etc etc (I could go on for miles). That is down to parenting.

<<baffled>>

DaisymooSteiner Thu 10-Sep-09 21:22:26

Really? Excellent news, I'll stick them in front of the TV all day tomorrow and Mumsnet instead grin

wannaBe Thu 10-Sep-09 21:26:06

of course parenting has an impact on development. But that's not to say that a child who has developmental delay is so because of parenting.

If you never spoke to your children they would not learn to speak. Children of deaf parents for instance often do not learn to speak until they are much older and they start to mix with others who speak - they will learn to sign before then.
At my school we had a lad who was born blind but had no other disabilities. However his parents were so afraid to let him do anything for himself, for fear he may hurt himself, that they carried him until he was five. As a result his leg muscles were severely underdeveloped, and even when he did learn to walk he had severe difficulties. A clasic example of how parenting affected development..

wannaBe Thu 10-Sep-09 21:29:25

I also think that you sound as if you're in denial about your ds's impairments, as if you don't really want to acknowledge that they're there.

also, what does development have to do with the fact he now has loads of friends? Do children who have development issues not have friends then? hmm

Wonderstuff Thu 10-Sep-09 21:34:25

If you ds's problems hadn't been picked up on then he may not have caught up. Parenting definitly key, some kids have issues to over come that they are born with, but children neglected in the early years have permanent delay.

ilovesprouts Thu 10-Sep-09 21:36:13

my son has gdd ,my other two did not its all in the genes !!and yes he has lots of friends !!!

Reallytired Thu 10-Sep-09 21:44:24

I have had people "congratualate" me on my parenting as my daughter is so physically advanced. I find this strange as I have done nothing out of the ordinary. Its nothing that I have done.

I think that I deserved more congratulations last time when I had to really work and do stetching exercises with a stroppy two year old.

If you have two medically normal children and one child walks at 9 months and one child walks at 18 months, it is more often genetics that makes the difference rather than quality of parenting. I am sure that children like baby P's development do have delayed development.

I am sure that parenting of my son was not inferior. I think my son was just very unlucky. There were plenty of people who thought I was a bad/ stupid/ incompetant mother. It was really irratating when unqualifed people tried to give me advice.

Having a child who development is unconventional really knocked my confidence to pieces. It has taken having a second child to know that my parenting skills are OK.

MaggieVirgo Thu 10-Sep-09 21:48:51

I would agree with you.

I feel, that a lot of it is pot luck, or genetics, which is pot luck in its own way.

My dc2 is on the spectrum, and I thought dc1 was my normal child. Turns out she has concentration issues and too much energy. Dc2, can concentrate on a task and I've been told his concentration is good.

Reallytired, I know what you mean, because I used to think to myself, thankgod I had dc1 first, if dc2 had been my first child I would have found it harder.

as it turns out, she may have ishooos as well! but,,, from my perspective at the time.

MrsMerryHenry Thu 10-Sep-09 21:51:42

I can see what you mean now. However, even physical development is affected by parenting, ReallyTired - in the classic Romanian orphanage settings, the most astonishing observations were made. In one home children flourishrf physically (growth, strength, etc) simply because of the introduction of a bit of attention. Other children in the same home, on the same diet, who had a 'carer' that couldn't care less, were smaller and weaker.

This is not meant to be a reflection on your specific situation, but simply an indication of how far-reaching are the effects of our role as parents.

And by the way, from what you've said about your dedication to your son, you sound like an amazing mother.

You should read this. She was also on Woman's Hour around the same time - most likely they'll still have the interview on their website archive if you want to listen.

Wonderstuff Thu 10-Sep-09 21:52:29

I totally see what you are saying and I agree. I guess very poor parenting can cause delay. If a child is adequatly parented then early development much more down to genetics.
DD was an early crawler and walked at 11mo. I had mums ask me how I got her crawling - I didn't do anything, and would have much prefered her stationary for longer grin

There was some research that showed very young childrens development to be not influenced by socio-economic status of parents, but by 5 development was massivly influenced by parents socio-economic status.

MrsMerryHenry Thu 10-Sep-09 21:52:40

poo. I meant 'children flourished'. But then you all knew that, didn'tcha? wink

MaggieVirgo Thu 10-Sep-09 21:53:56

mrsTH, I am taking it as a given that the level of parenting meets a more than adequate standard, but that the style of parenting may vary a lot.

Chegirl, I know what you mean about feeling you had to prove you weren't a pleb. I'm a single mum, and when I got a letter home saying that dc1 had been identified as needed extra support at school, I wrote out a letter detailing my thoughts and observations. I wanted to make sure they realised that I was not just sitting at home chain-smoking watching my 42" plasma screen saying "dem teachers have in in for my chardonnay"

MrsMerryHenry Thu 10-Sep-09 21:55:07

Well, if you will call your child 'Chardonnay'...

grin

MaggieVirgo Thu 10-Sep-09 21:58:05

She's called "Margot".

I have severe delusions of grandeur, but when I named her, I didn't know i was going to end up on benefits and a single mum!!!

Being a single mum, I am terrified to do things I might say ah fek it go on to otherwise. LIke, wearing a puffa jacket for example. I'd be so scared, that one thing which in isolation means nothing, when combined with being a single mtoher will damn me and my kids ot hell in the eyes of the stalwarts of the community!!

I know, I need to work on my rhino hyde a bit.

Reallytired Thu 10-Sep-09 22:02:52

"My son has developemental delay and TBH I have felt professionals assumed he came from a bookless, tv addicted, not bothered home until they met us and our other kids. Not all but certainly some teaching staff and HCPs. Its not nice to feel you have to prove you are not a pleb in order to get your child's needs met."

chegirl, your last paragraph sums up exactly what I mean.

My son had a lot of help when he was little. He is fine now, thanks to our local child development centre. Our community paediatrian made a huge difference to our lives.

I never had any problems with the child development team making me feel bad, but there is no doult that other health professionals assumed it was my parenting at fault or I was mentally ill. I had to fight to get him help.

I am sure that child abuse does affect development. However I hope that such children are the exception rather than the norm. Certainly families I met at the local child development centre have all been lovely people.

Prehaps being on maternity leave is giving me too much time to think.

Overmydeadbody Thu 10-Sep-09 22:05:44

Development is shaped by nature and nurture. To argue otherwise is just foolish and ignorant.

Overmydeadbody Thu 10-Sep-09 22:11:27

some children's developmental delay is down to the poor parenting and neglect they have suffered though, so you cannot blam e professionals for not ruling that out until they have met the parents.

piscesmoon Thu 10-Sep-09 22:17:26

I agree that it is both nature and nurture. The important thing to remember is that it isn't a race-slow but sure can do better in the end. When you have 3 teenagers, no one can tell which walked first, talked first etc-and it really doesn't matter-no one wants to know and they don't care!

TheFallenMadonna Thu 10-Sep-09 22:24:56

I think you're defining development in physical terms. Which is going to limit your argument a bit.

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