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External Influences on Child Development

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Childcare
Wordcount: 1123 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Explain how children and young people’s development is influenced and affected by a range of external factors.

Poverty and Deprivation

The place where a child grows up can lead to impacting effects. A child who is raised on a housing project within poor housing, are more likely to have a higher degree of health problems. If their parents/guardians are unemployed or do not have higher earnings, they will most likely buy inexpensive, low grade foods which are less nutritive but easier to make, which can lead to possible health problems. This could develop into the children and their families accepting lower expectations. They may decide that the life that they have become acclimated is the standard way of living.

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To add to this, inadequate housing can effect wellness and the ability to enhance and perform educational acts : high-rise buildings - short of chances to play in inspired spaces which could prevent educational possibilities ; diminutive flats - inherit less space and a lack of garden which may consequently influence life issues. Potentially, this could significantly lessen the amount of opportunities they hold to develop their physical gross motor skills. In a similar way, hopes and ambitions can be lowered when destitution is being practised. This can entrain and depress motivation to escape the cycle of destitution and poverty.

Looked after/care status

This again could have a huge influence as a lot of looked after children are moved around regularly. A lack of a stable, warm and consistent environment can cause less favourable outcomes. Family breakdown/inadequate parenting are reasons why children may be in the care of the local authority.

The lack of continuity could effect their education enormously. The suffering of separation and attachment issues are quite often the cause of many reasons why these less fortunate children do not want to be in school. Not having this consistency may lead to youth offending which impedes on the child’s academic achievements.



Education is an important factor in a child’s all round development. Opportunities to socialise and experience a good education that stimulates cognitive development is a huge factor in a child’s life. If a child has not attended a nursery or play group (in their early years), their social and often physical and cognitive development - due to a lack of interaction with other children their own age - may be hindered.  This can often set them back from what development stage they should be when they actually do attend school. Early childhood education can impact a child's academic success and reduce incidences of crime and delinquency according to ‘professor W. Steven Barnett’. Children enrolled in early childhood education programs may also receive direct benefits in behaviour, thought processes, socialisation and learning capacity.

Cultural differences in education as well as language may have an adverse affect on learning and their understanding. Embarrassment and confusion from being unable to communicate easily in an unfamiliar language can further influence cognitive and social development.

Family environment and background

Background, health and environment can influence and play a huge part in a child’s development. During early childhood, a parent's attitudes and values can be passed on to the child. During this time, their self concept is forming, and can be heavily influenced by their parents according to Heather Weiss (Heather Weiss, 2019: page 1). Children can go through significant family changes, such as: family break-up, new step-family or a lack of substantial supervision. These pitfalls can affect a child's emotional and intellectual development. Moreover, drug abuse and an environment of domestic abuse can lead to behavioural issues in children as young as 3, according to the National Centre for Children in Poverty (NCCP).

A child's early home environment can also cause long-term effects on development. The home environment can even affect a child's brain development, being that a child who grew up in a poor/deprived area are more likely than other children to drop out of secondary school.

Nurturing relationships in a family are crucial for the development of a child. If a child feels secure, safe and loved in their family, it helps structure their self-esteem and maintain their well-being. It can also lead to a child who is more socially competent and has better communication skills than a child who does not feel these family connections (Weiss, 2019).

Countless factors, from family and environment to genes and biology, influence a child's growth and development. These factors affect the physical, mental and social development of growing children, along with their health and well-being.


Most personal factors are biological: size, weight, blood group, mentality, dental and physicality (body type). Being overweight in childhood can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. This could result in the child feeling self-conscious by the way they look, resulting in them not wanting to interact with others or join in with any physical activities. Misbehaviours and self-esteem issues affect the way they communicate and interact with their peers. Not being able to interact normally could lead to loneliness and the feeling of rejection.

Lastly, poor hygiene, such as brushing teeth, washing their body and brushing their hair can also lead to potential self-esteem issues. If a child develops bad oral hygiene, they might feel embarrassed to smile and speak to others due to the fact they have bad breath, potentially leading to self-esteem issues.


All areas of development are interlinked, when one is negatively affected, the rest are usually inhibited. Therefore, the expected pattern and rate of development in a child/young person are significantly affected.

Professor W. Steven Barnett

Weiss, H (2019) Harvard Family Research Project.


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