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Love and Affection Central Theme of Children’s Day

Media Release
6 October 2005

Love and Affection Central Theme of Children’s Day 2005

Every year Children’s Day centres on a key theme. This year’s theme is ‘love and affection.’ “Without love and affection our children fail to grow and thrive,” says Child, Youth and Family CEO Paula Tyler. “Hugs and positive affirmation can make a significant difference to a child’s self-esteem.”

Research now shows that physical and psychological health, at any stage of development, is influenced by the circumstances experienced during earlier stages. Studies of children who come from environments of early and chronic neglect reveal smaller brain sizes than those of the average child, with fewer cells and fewer connections between these cells.

In 1211, Frederick II, Emperor of Germany, in an effort to discover the natural ‘language of God’, raised dozens of children in silence. The experiment was unsuccessful; the children never spoke any language and all ultimately died in childhood. “This story is extreme and would never happen today but it illustrates the importance of paying attention to our children,” says Paula. “Children’s Day is all about making children feel special and celebrating the contribution they make to our lives. We hope that communities all over New Zealand will set aside the day to spend quality time with the children in their lives.”

Children from neglectful backgrounds may experience a range of emotional and behavioural difficulties. When consistent emotional neglect occurs before the age of three, victims may have difficulty in forming close and enduring relationships throughout life. “Neglecting children has far-reaching effects on society as a whole,” says Paula. “Society eventually pays the price, from higher crime rates to decreased stability of families and communities. If we provide enriching and nurturing early experiences for our children, the cycle of positivity continues when our children start their own families.”

“Love and affection is the foundation to parenting,” says registered psychologist Sue Mafi. “It is important for parents to give time and attention as well as treats. Having fun together, giving praise and encouragement, giving smiles and hugs and talking with children rather than to them are some of the essential ways parents can show their children love.”

Children’s Day is on Sunday 30 October. Fun-filled events and celebrations will be held throughout the country. Celebration ideas and info on Children’s Day events all over New Zealand can be found on the Children’s Day website www.childrensday.org.nz.

ENDS

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