Essay on Parent-Child Interaction: Key to Child's Development

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1484 Words
Date:  2023-03-02

Interaction between the parent and child is essential in the overall growth of the child (National Research Council 1993). The parent initiates the parental communication with the child, and this should be intentional. If the interaction is not intended, the child becomes unable to maintain the relation in the future. Intentional implies that the parent should be at the forefront of initiating communication with the child. The essence of the interaction between the parent and the child indicates that the parent loves and cares about the child. It promotes confidence in the growth of the child as well as build the parent to child relationship (National Research Council 1993). The need for the formation of a connection between the parent and the child is as well implicated in the proper mental health of the child (Bee & Boyd, 2003). Children who are on the demand where they fail to connect with the parent are at threat of developing adjustment disorders such as dissociative attachment disorder or social disinhibited engagement disorders (Schafer, Morton & Ferraro, 2014). The importance of the interaction of the parent to child relation can, therefore, not be undermined because of the benefits it confers to the child.

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I observed an interaction of a 28 years old lady with her three-year-old son as they were walking along the way. So the son saw another child being given a snack, and he as well demanded to be given the snack. It is not clear whether he was hungry, but I doubt so. The mother was angry with the demand of the son after noticing that the child's desire to acquire the snack came after he saw another child with the snack. She addressed the child harshly. However, when the child started to frown the face, the mother decided to discipline him by aggressively scolding him and pinching his ears.

In the above case, the mother presents practicing the dominant paradigm in the observed interaction. In such an example of the parent to child model, the mother believes that he is the one who is right over the child. The mother is the dominant person in this interaction, where her ruling stands. She does not want to be challenged by the child; neither is it to understand that the child wants the snack out of curiosity prompted by the other child. Believing that failure to discipline the child leads to the propagation of bad habits, makes her choose to teach her son when she sees him frowning the face for not being given the snack. She believes that if she does not discipline the child, he will grow with unapproved habits, which are not right.

To show as well that the mother practiced the Dominant model, she feels the need to discipline the son because she perceives the son does not approve of what she has told him. The dominant paradigm encompasses the child following the rule that the parents give (National Research Council 1993), which is evident in the scene where the mother feels angry when the son does not approve of her not giving him the snack. The mother believes that providing the child's attention is meant to spoil him. To this, she feels that by buying the snack to the child, the child will be ruined. She believes that the child as well appears frowning and sad in an attempt to manipulate her to oblique towards his demand in which she perceives as wrong. She proves that disciplining the child is vital towards eradicating such a tendency as she is evidenced by pinching his ears.

Similarly, the mother does not unconditionally demonstrate love to his son. One way of conditional demonstrating love is by buying him the snack so that the child can feel happy. Such action gives the impression that she is the one to demonstrate love to the child at her own will. It is referred to as conditional love, which is based on child behavior. The unconditional life is irrespective of the child's behavior. By exemplifying the conditional love that depends on the child's behavior makes her practice the dominant paradigm of the parent-child model (Bee & Boyd, 2003).

In conclusion, most parents tend to practice the dominant paradigm as compared to the peace of mind paradigm. The belief that the children are untruthful and have malicious plans to manipulate them to obtain what they want. However, the children are who they are in terms of behavior because they are yet to grow and most often than not act out of curiosity. The interaction between the child and the parent should be based on the foundation of unconditional love, as evidenced in the peace of mind model.

Effects of Childhood abuse/maltreatment

There is a correlation between childhood treatment and the long term effects during later life (Kim & Maguire-Jack, 2015). Since development starts at an early age, the nature of childhood treatment affects the growth and development of the child both physically, cognitive, and social domain.

Erick Erickson, in the psychosocial theory of development, presents the various stages of life in human life. At the age of childhood, he describes that imbalance in the different stages of development leads to the child having a problem in that particular stage of development (Ginsburg, 1992). This affects his mental and social health later in life (Schafer, Morton & Ferraro, 2014). The imbalances can be brought about by childhood abuse and maltreatment. In the first stage of development, trust verse mistrust, child abuse cause the child to be impaired in developing trust in the people (Ginsburg, 1992). In the long run, they end up lacking the confidants in life. This risks those developing personality disorders and well as turn to substance use as the solace of their problem.

The child abuse and maltreatment hinders effective interaction with the people as they learn to be disappointed and maltreated (National Research Council 1993). They also end up developing psychiatric adjustment disorders such as dissociative attachment disorders and social disinhibited engagement disorders (Kim & Maguire-Jack, 2015). In both cases, the child at the year age due to inability to connect with the care provider due to abuse, they may either lack the ability to communicate with any other person leading to dissociative attachment disorder (Schafer, Morton & Ferraro, 2014). In this case, they fail to confide in any person apart from themselves. However, they may as well learn to quickly form an attachment with people, including strangers, as exemplified by the social disinhibited engagement disorder.

The physical consequences include brain injuries and physical injuries. Following the abuse and maltreatment like beating or slapping, a child may develop transient brain injuries such as concussion or contusion in the process (National Research Council 1993). If the brain injury is severe enough, they may even develop a deficit in a particular function (Schafer, Morton & Ferraro, 2014). Apart from brain injuries, maltreatment like extensive beating may cause multiple traumas, especially to the limbs. This could lead to fractures, bruising, and bleeding. Worse consequences than all are the development of the trauma that can result in death. These physical injuries can lead to even adverse consequences t persists later in life, such as mental retardation, physical handicap, and scars following the maltreatment. Sexual abuse causes a heightened sense of sexuality and even the development of depression, especially in female children.

Cognitive and intellectual consequences

The development of mental retardation following brain injury leads to impaired thinking capabilities (National Research Council 1993). However, there is documented evidence of the cases where the child develops poor academic performance following the maltreatment and abuse (Kim & Maguire-Jack, 2015). It is also associated with a cognitive deficit, such as poor memory, attention, concentration, judgment, and abstract thinking. Language deficit and poor in the interpretation of visual and language stimuli affect the cognitive and intellectual capabilities of the child later in life (Schafer, Morton & Ferraro, 2014). The impairment in cognition and intellectual is attributed to the central nervous system damage following the abuse or maltreatment.

Social consequences

The studies have demonstrated that following childhood abuse, the child is at risk of developing social problems. They may be unable to interact with other people appropriately since they have not acquired the proper interaction while they were children. They may as well develop emotional instability, which negatively impacts their social interaction with other people. Similarly, others tend to create physical aggression and antisocial personality.


Bee, H., & Boyd, D. (2003). The developing child. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Ginsburg, H. (1992). CHILDHOOD INJURIES AND ERIKSON'S PSYCHOSOCIAL STAGES. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 20(2), 95-100. Doi: 10.2224/sbp.1992.20.2.95 v

Kim, B., & Maguire-Jack, K. (2015). Community interaction and child maltreatment. Child Abuse & Neglect, 41, 146-157. Doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.07.020

National Research Council. 1993. Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect: Chapter 6. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Schafer, M., Morton, P., & Ferraro, K. (2014). Child maltreatment and adult health in a national sample: Heterogeneous relational contexts, divergent effects? Child Abuse & Neglect, 38(3), 395-406. Doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.08.003

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