The first answers are safety; basic biological needs like food, shelter and health; and attachment to a consistent caring adult. If you have the resources, supplying them takes work, but is fairly straightforward. These things all come from outside the child. If you are reading this, you’ve probably got those things covered.
Resilience? Freedom from anxiety? Confidence? Good relationships? Success? The ability to focus, to learn, to be curious, and to say “No?” These are “People Skills” – the mental abilities that make for a successful life.
These things come from within.
These social, emotional and cognitive abilities can’t be commanded into a child. Thinking, how one sees oneself in relationship to others and to the world – these all form in the first few years of life – through the child’s experiences as she interacts with her environment.
This doesn’t mean parents can’t cultivate them. Once basic needs are met, the parent is the most powerful force in the child’s environment. The child will always be the most powerful force in his own life – but he will form himself from what he learns from his environment.
You create your child’s mental growth environment, whether you want to or not. Unfortunately, trusting your instincts and habits and what you’ve seen others do is not always a good idea. (See my post: “What’s Wrong with Habits and Instinct?”
The Strong Start™ system is built on the idea of “Envirocasting”:
- 1) being conscious of how your words and actions are choices that create your child’s environment, and
- 2) managing yourself to develop habits of interaction that will support your child’s social, emotional and cognitive development, giving them independence, resilience, confidence, and the ability to know themselves and work well in relation to others.