During the infancy period, from birth to age 2, there are several developmental milestones that need to be cultivated to help infants form a firm foundation for inner self-esteem. One of the most important developmental tasks, in terms of self-development, is for the infant to develop a sense of self as a separate and distinct being. Learning that they are causal agents, that their actions have an effect on their environment, will, later on, give them a sense of control over their environment and what happens to them in that environment.
Moreover, infants and caregivers need to develop strong physical and emotional attachments so that infants will learn to trust, love, and feel secure with others when they are older. Raising children is about establishing positive relationships between caregivers and their offspring, and the optimal time to begin cultivating a solid relationship is in infancy. Learning communication skills that will enable the parent and child to experience positive feelings and mutually coordinated communiqués are a wonderful way to begin to establish these types of relationships.
You may be tempted to skip this chapter and read about older children because it's been quite some time since your child was an infant. After all, you don't need some guilt trip about what you should have done but didn't do when your child was an infant. This chapter is not intended to evoke guilt but, rather, to provide awareness of the entire self- esteem cycle. As such, this chapter is intended to serve as background information to shed light on older children. It is important to remember, however, that children are resilient and flexible. It's not as though