Myth’s of “Early Socialization” in Daycare and Preschool

Andrea Mrozek of The Institute of Family & Marriage Canada writes about issues of “early socialization” after interviewing developmental psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld, and reveals some of the myths and dangers regarding daycare and preschool.

“Probably the greatest myth that has evolved is this idea that socializing with one’s equals leads to socialization.”

“Premature socialization,” says Dr. Neufeld, “was always considered by developmentalists to be the greatest sin in raising children ….[w]hen you put children together prematurely before they can hold on to themselves, then they become like [the others] and it crushes the individuality rather than hones it.”

And importantly, our high priority attachment figures (aka the people we see the most of and really love) are intended to be enduring. These are not people who should disappear from our lives, neither are strong attachments something small children should “grow out of.”

The problem is that the more children are peer attached, the less attached they are to adults—and this can result in children becoming very hostile to being parented or taught.

For Dr. Neufeld, the capacity for healthy relationships is meant to unfold in the first six years of life. “It’s a very basic agenda,” he says. “By the fifth year of life if everything is continuous and safe then emotional intimacy begins. A child gives his heart to whomever he is attached to and that is an incredibly important part….The first issue is always to establish strong, deep emotional connections with those who are raising you. And that should be our emphasis in society. If we did this, we would send our children to school late, not early.” 

You can read the full article here.

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