What are the formative years in a child’s’ life and what happens in these years?
The consensus I have gathered through reading many articles on this subject is that the formative years are from birth to the ages between 4 and 8. I personally believe you should consider they begin in the womb. There is some speculation on this subject. The most important thing to remember is how important the gestation period is in a human’s life is.
During the formative years, basic development happens, including mental, physical, and spiritual that is crucial building blocks for life. When trauma occurs during these years, the effect can influence how we grow and develop. It can set the stage for how we see our value and who we can trust.
These years influence our personalities. Likes and dislikes are forming so it’s important to give your child opportunities to help them learn what comes naturally to them. Safety is important in this time when they are experimenting. Parents need to have their spiritual antennas up to help discern potential dangers.
God has put in all of us gifts and talents. One of your responsibilities as a parent, is to help your children learn who they were created to be. Jeremiah 29:11 teaches us that God has good plans and purposes for each one of us. So, we can help guide our children in finding out what those are. What a privilege!!
Which leads me to something else. Many first-time parents are young. Some are still children themselves. So, there can be unhealthy situations that occur during this time that can cause trauma in a child’s life. It’s part of the human element of our existence. But there is hope. I discuss this more in Birth Order Does Matter.
The good news is that in the last twenty years, brain science has proved we can retrain and heal our brains. I recommend the writings of James Wilder concerning joy. In his book The Life Model: Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You by Jim Wilder helps you understand how significant joy is and how it affects your brain.
You can find videos from Dr. Caroline Leaf on this subject on YouTube. They will give you great hope that we and our children don’t have to live with the damage of trauma in our lives. She teaches on how we can use brain science to live trauma free.
I have experienced much healing in my life that occurred during my formative years of development. I can testify that damaged beliefs that I had about myself and my abilities, came to light through prayer and understanding that changed how I think and act. It is never too late.
For more information on violence and children, go to A Culture of Silence. I will discuss more ways trauma influences us in future articles.
Think back over your own formative years. Pray about any areas that your belief system may have been influenced by trauma during this time. Be proactive to read and seek understanding on how joy and retraining your brain can bring healing into those damaged areas.
Please comment on questions you may have on this subject or ways you have found that helped you overcome trauma that occurred in your formative years of development.