Environmental Influences on Youth Development

How does the environment influence youth development

Many studies have shown that various factors in an environment can have a huge impact on a child’s development. Many have argued that the environment is one of, if not the biggest influencer on youth development. One of the biggest ways that our environment influences our development is the way in which our environmental experiences during the development stage maps and forms our beliefs and behaviours later in life, a concept commonly known as the internal working model. The internal working model is the way that we understand and understand the world. The environment in which we develop in is pivotal in the growth and formation of our internal working model, we often use our experiences as a child to understand our experiences in adulthood.

Examples of environmental impacts on youth development

Example one

One example of how our environment impact youth development is relationships.  A child with parents who are happily married and often publicly display signs of affection for one another may grow up to take a positive view of relationships and love, whereas a child with divorced parents may grow up to take a negative view.

Example two

Another example can be found in how children learn. If a child is exposed to daily challenges which require logic and creativity to overcome, then they may develop to become significantly better at abstract problem solving and thinking later in life in comparison to those who were not presented with these challenges during the development stage.

How parents can use this information

As a parent, there are a variety of actions that you can take to ensure that a different environment is optimal for your child’s development. Below, we have listed a few examples of techniques you could use to do just this:

Create controlled challenges

You can set a variety of challenges for your child to overcome on a daily basis to help prompt and promote the development and formation of strong problem solving and abstract thinking skills that they can use later in life.

Lead by example

As a parent, one of the most important things you can do to help the child youth development is through leading by example. By this, we mean that you should promote positive views and experiences as much as possible to help your child form the same positive views and attitudes towards certain ideas later in life (one good example being relationships).

Treat any experience as progress

Finally, you should treat any experience, good or bad, as progress in your child’s development.  Based on this, you should try not to discourage your child from negative experiences and should instead encourage them to embrace them, as part of promoting their youth development.

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