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What is Child Flourishing?

How do we help children grow optimally?

In my view, flourishing is evident from the following characteristics

For children, it includes:

  • Joyful living, bathed in nurturing love and a sense of trust
  • Awareness of and skills for connecting to others
  • Developing one's capacities to the fullest with autonomy guided by empathy

These characteristics are visible in small-band hunter-gatherers who represent 99% of human genus history and whom I use as a baseline for evolved human early care (the evolved developmental niche) which optimizes human development (see Narvaez, Panksepp, Schore & Gleason, 2013; Narvaez, Valentino, Fuentes, McKenna & Gray, 2014).

Pathways to child flourishing will take place at the University of Notre Dame, September 26-30, 2014. Upcoming posts will review the speakers who are presenting.

  • The first half is a conference co-sponsored by Attachment Parenting International, Nurturing Families, Flourishing Children, and is aimed at parents and practitioners.
  • The second half is an academic conference, Contexts for Development and Child Flourishing, aimed at those interested in hearing about research related to child flourishing from psychologists, anthropologists, and clinicians.

Here is a link to the website and program.

Of course, child flourishing is related to adult flourishing, which I think must include:

  • Awareness of and responsibility for the web of life
  • Using one’s gifts and capacities to the fullest in a way that takes into account the wellbeing of humans and non-humans
  • Living on a trajectory of decreasing fear and increasing love in self and others
  • Living with the natural world rather than against it

You can infer that I don't see people exploiting earth's resources as a sign of flourishing because they are consuming their (and everyone else's) habitat. This is a sign of pathological disorder, not flourishing. We can trace such disorder to misdevelopment in early life and epigenetic inheritances that shape personality towards anxiety and sense of insecurity.

For more about restoring human flourishing, see my forthcoming book, Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom.

Other posts about flourishing:

Promoting Thriving in School-Aged Children: A Checklist

Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Babies

How to Grow a Smart Baby

Where Are the Happy Babies?

A Very Old Recipe for Happiness

Increase the well-being of children around you

Creating a Peaceful World Through Parenting

Happiness and Growth through Play