- May 18, 2012
- 8:30 am - 9:00 amRegistration and Coffee
- 9:00 am - 9:05 amProfessor Nick Petford "Welcome Address"
- 9:05 am - 9:10 amAndrea Leadsom introduces Rt.Hon. Iain Duncan Smith MP
- 9:10 am - 9:45 am Rt.Hon. Iain Duncan Smith MP
- 9:45 am - 10:30 amBaroness Susan Greenfield - "The Science, Neuroscience and Epigenetics"
- 10:30 am - 11:00 amMorning coffee and networking
- 11:00 am - 11:45 am Dr Michael Gailbraith – "Early Years Interventions...Why Bother"
- 11:45 am - 12:30 pmPanel Q & A Chaired by Andrea Leadsom MP
- 12:30 pm - 1:45 pmBuffet lunch, coffee and networking (sponsored by Danone Baby Nutrition)
- 1:45 pm - 2:30 pmDr. Amanda Jones –
- 2:30 pm - 3:15 pmCamila Batmanghelidjh –
- 3:30 pm - 4:15 pmAndrea Leadsom MP – "PIPs, The Way Forward?"
- 4:15 pm - 5:00 pm Panel Q & A Chaired by George Hosking
- May 18, 2012
Parent Infant Attachment: Why Two is Too Late
- Written by norpip
- April 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm
A child’s development within the first two years of its life is easy to witness – physically, the rapid rate of growth and the learning of new skills such as walking and talking are the corporeal embodiment of this development, but an infant’s mental development within the first two years of his or her life is just as important, if not more so, not only for the child, but also for society. When it comes to social mental development, two really is too late.
The impact of negative experiences on infant mental health
The experiences of a newborn baby are literally imprinted on the brain, making infant mental health extremely important in the development of who that child will become as a human being. The frontal cortex, the part of the brain that allows us to empathise with others and form relationships, the ‘social brain’ if you like, is hardly developed at birth. This part of the brain experiences its most critical period of growth between six and eighteen months of age. Consequently, any negative impacts on the frontal cortex, such as neglect, abuse and a lack of early infant attachments and relationships can cause serious harm to a child’s development. Parent infant attachment is therefore extremely important, and a loving, stable relationship between an adult carer and the child is the important stimulation that this development requires.
Early years development and the link to social breakdown
Indeed, a lack of a secure parent infant attachment can create negative impacts on society as a whole. There is strong evidence to suggest that social breakdown can be caused by poor infant mental health. Children who do not receive the love and stimulation required before the age of two are more pre-disposed to suffer from depression, aggression, alcohol and other chemical dependencies and criminality. Furthermore, those who were unfortunate enough not to have formed a secure bond as a baby will struggle to bond with their own children, thus creating a vicious circle.
Early infant intervention
However, there is a positive opportunity to be taken from this. Early intervention foundations and parent infant projects are being created to aid infant bonding and help parents who perhaps haven’t got the support network they require. Early years intervention from charities such as NorPIP (Northamptonshire Parent Infant Partnership) and OxPIP (Oxfordshire Parent Infant Project) are offering psychotherapeutic support for parents and babies.
Parents may seek the support of a parent infant project for a number of reasons, including experiencing difficulty in bonding with their babies, having experienced difficult attachment relationships of their own in the past. They might be seeking guidance on how to parent successfully and overcome feelings of anxiety about becoming a parent. Through a range of therapies, including group programmes and one-to-one psychological therapy, charities such as NorPIP are able to help parents develop successful parent infant attachment.
Prevention is better – and less expensive – than cure
As is so often the case, prevention is better than cure: early infant intervention has long-term social benefits, including helping to cut costs for the taxpayer; the British Government is currently spending £25bn a year on tackling the consequences of social breakdown and anti-social behavior which could potentially be prevented. For this reason, early years intervention has the backing of the Secretary for State for Work and Pensions, Rt. Hon. Iain Duncan Smith, who has said “We need to intervene early and think in terms of prevention at the earliest point possible”.
He proposes a switch in spending towards early infant intervention, rather than spending on the expensive consequences of social breakdown. Similarly, Andrea Leadsom MP recognises that early years intervention is of great importance, and sums up her ambitions by saying “Over time, support for the earliest relationship could become as fundamental to our society as the NHS and welfare state. While this is a huge ambition, I believe it is achievable and desirable.”
With such backing, it is hoped that early intervention foundations will be able to help prevent social breakdown and create well rounded, happier individuals who will be able to fulfill their potential as adults and break the vicious circle so often created by poor parent infant attachment.
NorPIP Conference a Sell Out
Both Iain Duncan Smith and Andrea Leadsom will be speaking at the now sold-out NorPIP conference “The Social Consequences of Poor Infant Attachment: Two is Too Late” in Towcester on 18 May 2012.
The conference has attracted vast interest across the childcare and family sector, including from local authorities, some of whom are sending entire teams to learn from the likes of Professor of Neuroscience Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE; media commentator and charity founder Camila Batmanghelidjh; Psychologist Dr Michael Galbraith; attachment therapist Dr Amanda Jones and George Hosking, founder of Wave Trust, an organisation dedicated to reducing the root causes of violence, including child abuse and neglect.