Background Parents and paediatricians in partnership have a unique role in influencing the emotional development of young children. The opportunity presents when parents consult paediatricians about their child’s behaviour or developmental problems.
Discussion Infants and young children learn by interacting with and reacting to their environment. Early relationships with their parents foster feelings of trust and security, which influences their relationships with others as they develop and mature.
Paediatricians, through their knowledge of child development, are in a unique position to influence and guide parents in early child-rearing practices. They do newborn examinations and they assess young children through various stages of early development, preschool and school entry. They are often the point of contact in later transition periods such as high school entry and adolescence, particularly when behaviour becomes challenging.
The presentation will touch on theories of development, early experiences, resilience and cultural factors that influence emotional development. It will provide a clinician’s perspective on the management of behaviour difficulties and the partnership with parents in order to facilitate optimal emotional development in young children.
Conclusion Paediatricians have an opportunity to influence healthy and positive relationships between parents and their young children that will allow children to develop to the best of their ability and become responsible members of society in the long-term.