Education & Culture

Children mirror actions

Published : 27 Apr 2019 06:14 PM | Updated : 06 Sep 2020 05:54 PM

A child’s cognitive ability as soon as it is born is to mimic. Children try to reflect what they see through performing actions themselves that is essentially trying to mirror and reflect images of what takes place in their surroundings. In addition to sharing the genetic makeup of the parents, they reflect the gestures, language and interests of the adults in their lives.

All around us, we may notice children trying to hold colouring pencils or any similar looking object like the way father holds his pen or uttering phrases or sayings that he/she hears repetitively. The behaviours or habits which children are exposed to when they are very young tend to carry over into their adulthood.

A research states that the human brain does 80 percent of the nurturing in the first three years after being born. Genetics necessarily take a part in the role of creating blue prints. However, genetics doesn’t completely design the brain instead they make the brain ready for experiences and adaptability with the environment. 

As experiences and environment have direct effect on the brain development of any child, there is risk of negative experiences having an effect in hampering the positive growth of the child’s psyche in the first important years. 

Observing violence can alter behaviour

According to researchers more than 60 percent of children in North America are reported to being witness of violence in the recent year. Out of these, in some extreme cases, the child may have been the victim. 

However, kids can also be affected by being exposed to violent ac t or even hearing about violence experienced by friends or family members. Violence can come in many forms, from complete physical brutality to verbal abuse, threats of violence, and damage to property and possessions.

Experts in early childhood education say that young children often exposed to violence can develop behavioural characteristics which they’ll carry throughout their life, compromising their academic, social, and professional abilities.

Research also shows that a child’s sense of mutual respect for and dependence upon others is compromised when exposed to violence early in life. They begin to perceive relying on others as a sign of vulnerability, and see violence as a key element to interactions with other people in their lives.

Kids require encouragement

While there is no place for physical violence in any home, this isn’t to say kids should be shielded from all arguments and conflict. As long as the adults in the situation are staying in control of their emotions, anger and frustration can present important learning opportunities. An argument between mom and dad is frightening for a young child, but seeing them carve out a solution through dialogue and compromise can teach important lessons about human interactions.

If you're a parent, you're probably conducting a swift mental review of your own behaviour for similar, if less dramatic, inconsistencies. The parent does not have to say "Watch this" or "This is how you carry yourself in the world." The child just learns by observing. He does not have to understand what the parent is doing in order for the learning to take place.

Brain research has demonstrated that there are special cells called mirror neurons. When we watch someone do something, our mirror neurons become active in the brain as if we ourselves were engaging in the same behaviour we are observing. 

This suggests that learning consists of making connections not only in a figurative way (as we assemble sequences of behaviour) but also in a literal way, as observation of behaviour forges the same neural connections made from practicing that behaviour.

Sometimes the differences are large—for example, when one parent lives on junk food and the other inveighs against this habit. This is a normal level of inconsistency for family life. It gets more complicated when you add to the mix other relatives in the home, but children have to cope, and they usually do. After all, doing one thing but saying something else to your child is the important tip of a larger iceberg, a larger set of common inconsistencies that go far beyond child rearing. It's only human.

Grownups cannot appear to children as saintly imaginary characters who form moulds of only desirable behaviours, but an admiration of the effectiveness of modelling can help us set an example for them with a little more rationality and efficiency.