Development is said to be determined by nature through nurture. In other words development represents interaction of heredity and environment on the developing child. Heredity determines the potential of the child and environment influences to what extent this potential is realized. Contribution made by genes for child development is around half. Almost equal contribution made by environmental factors provides an opportunity as well as vulnerability.

Many situations can adversely affect the child’s development process. Some examples are:

  • Not having adequate nutrition
  • Frequent or chronic exposure to illness and injuries
  • Exposure to toxins such as inappropriate drugs and other chemicals such as lead, organophosphates, mercury etc.
  • Having scarce opportunities for developmental stimulation.

The adult child relationship should be a rich source of learning opportunity for a child. Providing adequate opportunities for children to feel their self respect and independence is also important.

Having such relationships are known to promote many important aspects in the child’s development:

  1. Self confidence and sound mental health
  2. Motivation to learn
  3. Enhanced achievements in school and later in life
  4. Abilities to control aggressive impulses and resolve conflicts in nonviolent ways
  5. Ability to know the difference between right and wrong
  6. Enhanced capacity to develop and sustain casual friendships and intimate relationships
  7. Having interests in learning and a comfortable sense of oneself.
  8. Positive social skills and multiple successful relationships at later stages.
  9. Understanding the emotions, commitment, morality and other aspects of human relationships in sophisticated manner.
  10. Improve cognitive abilities and learning skills and ultimately allow them to become successful parents one day.

(Source: Child Development – Concepts, Interventions, Assessments and Problems Manual for Primary Health Care Workers of Sri Lanka 2014)