An Adolescents Emotional Functioning Is Determined by Very Early Experiences

82000 The adequacy of child development is, in addition to the reduction of morbidity and the promotion of physical growth, also defined by behavioral criteria denoting achievement of competence or the ability to cope with environmental challenges and stresses (Wachs, 1999). The cognitive and social aspects associated with development are the subject matter of developmental psychology. What constitutes normal and abnormal development is the focus of studies in developmental psychology and developmental neuroscience. The long course of the history of developmental psychology is dotted with several questions including whether development is genetically determined (“Nature”) or occurs under environmental stimulation (“Nurture”), and whether early childhood experiences have a long-lasting impact on development. The Nature versus Nurture debate on the process of human development has been going on for a very long time. Proponents of the “nature” theory contend that human attributes are primarily conditioned by genetics as opposed to “nurture” theorists who argue that environmental influences and experience determine individual development. However, most of the present-day psychologists believe that both aspects play critical and complementary roles, development being the result of interaction between gene and experience (Wachs, 1999). The current opinion is that while the innate tendencies are due to genetics, human behavior can indeed be conditioned by the environment as well. Regarding the contention that early childhood experiences could have a long-lasting impact on development, psychoanalytical theory dwells upon events that occur in early childhood. According to Sigmund Freud, the emerging personality of a child is crucially dependent on the relationship the child shares with its mother. To the child, the mother is “unique, without parallel, laid down unalterably for a whole lifetime, as the first and strongest love object and as the prototype of all later love relations for both sexes" (Freud, 1940).&nbsp.&nbsp.