In recent years there has been a significant volume of research into the nature, development and functioning of the brain; this has helped created new knowledge about the extent of neuroplasticity, and the role that emotions play in neurodevelopment. This research has significant implications for the way that child and family health nurses work with parents and caregivers to manage children’s development of social and emotional skills, which underlie their behaviour (Moore, 2014).
In the early years, much of the important emotional and interpersonal learning happens before children have the verbal and cognitive skills to process what they are observing (Cozolino, 2006). The result is that much of the learning about how to react and respond becomes reflex behaviour. This adds increased importance to the relationship that parents and caregivers have with the child and with each other, as it provides a mould for the sort of behaviour that children will go on to express. Children’s later behaviour comes from their earliest learning about managing emotions through these relationships.