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0-3 Months: Emotional Development

by Damaria Senne |

In the first months of life, your baby is quite helpless. She relies on you to relieve her stress, distress, fear, frustration and other negative emotions. She becomes conditioned to the idea that the people around her respond and behave in a certain manner. To her, to feel gratified when she needs and wants something is very important. Your providing for her needs builds trust between you, so that she sees you as the person who can ensure that she feels pleasure, and her fear and frustration is removed.

"While numerous studies link emotional disorders to genetics," says Rene Brummage of Mothers and Miracles and a child development specialist, "a child's environment plays a distinct role in how her personality traits come through. A nurturing environment can build pathways that encourage emotional stability, while repeated exposure to stress can create connections which trigger fear." Rene suggests that mothers avoid becoming consistently angry or frustrated with the child. "One outburst will not harm a child, but repeated experiences wire the brain's emotional circuits, so watch how you handle the stressful moments of parenting."

Damaria Senne is a freelance writer based in Phokeng, South Africa. Her work has been published in regional and national magazines in South Africa, as well as online magazines. She writes about parenting, work-at-home, career and women's issues.

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