If a baby can feel empathy at 4 months,(I 20.9.17John von Radowitz) why is it that we read of people who cannot feel empathy for anyone? Following a court case of someone who has committed a vicious attack on another human being, how often do we read in the papers that “the accused showed no remorse”?
We have recently been told that there are 4-year-olds arriving at primary school with developmental problems and exhibiting anti-social behavior; that 1 in 10 children experience mental health issues. Why? The arguments go backwards and forwards – the cause is poverty or body fascism; too much homework, exam pressure, social media, air pollution ……… but would it be more productive to go back to see what happened to these children when they were still too young to worry about their body image or their lack of A*s, or to find out how some children both from financially deprived and financially secure backgrounds develop into responsible adults with meaningful relationships, while others end up unable to interact with society?
Scientific research (see summaries www.whataboutthechildren.org.uk) agrees that children under three need a one-to-one loving and consistent relationship; they need to look at the familiar face smiling at them; they need to be spoken to in order to learn to speak themselves; they need the security of knowing that they can communicate their needs and those needs will be answered – food, comforting cuddles, a change of nappy; they learn to be trustful, rather than fearful, and they learn to understand and attend to the needs of others.
Britain is doing badly on the “Happiness Index”. Could this correlate with the fact that in Britain, in comparison with many European countries, more mothers of babies and very young children are being forced back into work too soon, either through financial needs or their own, wholly understandable, desire to follow a career? Society’s expectations have changed, but a baby’s needs are still the same as they’ve always been. How do we solve this paradox?
Children need an answer.