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Another development in Freud’s theory stemmed from his observations was on dreaming. In dreams, he noted the same unstructured experiences of thoughts and images coming into the mind that “nevertheless seemed to be representative of some underlying unconscious process” (Diploma Child Care and Education: Penny Tassoni). He defined resistance as the unconscious defense against awareness of repressed experiences in order to avoid the resulting anxiety.

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He traced the operation of unconscious processes, using the ” ‘free associations’ (the theory that the mind learns by combining simple, irreducible elements through association.) of the patient to guide him in the interpretation of dreams and slips of speech (parapraxes or “Freudian slips”-which Freud claimed were revelations of unconscious wishes)” (Microsoft Encarta 1999:Sigmund Freud). Three environmental factors, which can and do affect growth and development are: Environmental factors are very important in a child’s and adult’s development. For instance, health visitors report that since the cot death scare, most mothers place their babies on their backs to sleep. Hence, many babies are not used to lying on their fronts in a pone position and are not content when placed so. These babies are tending to crawl slightly later.

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Poverty Poverty can have serious effects on the growth and development on the body. Tens of thousands of poor people throughout the world die every year from starvation and malnutrition. Infant mortality rates are higher and life expectancy lower among the poor. In developing countries, the poorest people cannot obtain adequate calories to develop or maintain their appropriate body weight. Poor children often suffer the most, commonly from a deficiency known as protein-energy malnutrition. In these cases, children lack protein in their diets, especially from an insufficient amount of mother’s milk. Protein-energy malnutrition leads to a variety of problems, including gastrointestinal disorders, stunted growth, poor mental development, and high rates of infection. Prolonged malnutrition can lead to starvation, a condition in which the body’s tissues and organs deteriorate. Long-term starvation almost always results in death.

Alcohol Alcohol has direct toxic as well as sedative effects on the body, and failure to take care of nutritional and other physical needs during prolonged periods of excessive drinking may further complicate matters. Advanced cases often require hospitalisation. The effects on major organ systems are cumulative and include a wide range of digestive-system disorders such as ulcers, inflammation of the pancreas, and cirrhosis of the liver. Larger quantities inhibit or depress higher thought processes, reducing inhibition, anxiety, and guilt. As a person becomes intoxicated, speech may become loud and slurred. Impaired judgment may lead to incautious behaviour, and physical reflexes and muscular co-ordination may become affected. If drinking continues, complete loss of physical control follows, ending in a possibility of death.

Smoking Smokers are at increased risk for cancer of the lungs, larynx, oral cavity, oesophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas. Smoking causes an increased risk of dying from chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy are also at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome. There is also an increased risk of babies having low birth weight, spontaneous abortions, and stillbirths. Furthermore, certain complications of pregnancy, some of which may be life threatening (such as raised blood pressure), are also associated with smoking.

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