Children with Selective Mutism

Child development stages from birth are characterized by different behaviors among children. Of more importance, the social settings in which children spend most of their time play an important role in shaping their character and behavior. Although many research findings link the condition to genetic predispositions among the affected children, it is undeniable that external factors influence developmental outcomes in children. Considering the adverse effects caused by Selective Mutism, especially to school-attending children, educators have been forced to implement certain strategies in order to ensure quality education for the affected children. In this regard, the following discussion will highlight several aspects of the Selective Mutism disorder and explain how Early Childhood Educators maximize learning and social interactions within the kindergarten environment.


Many researchers have described selective mutism in a number of ways following their research findings. However, there is a collective agreement that the selective mutism interferes with speech among children. According to the Child Mind Institute, selective mutism is an emotional disorder among children, where they are unable to communicate proficiently under certain circumstances (2014). In many cases, children suffering from selective mutism communicate effectively in ‘comfortable’ environments. Because many people are unable to discover the inability among their children and tend to think that the behavior results from personal choice of the children. Consequently, many children suffering from the disorder are unattended to or even reprimanded to change their ‘bad behavior’. However, extensive research over the years has helped to develop effective intervention measures to help the affected children.

One of the most striking characteristics associated to selective mutism is the low prevalence among populations. According to Cardiff University, selective mutism is a very rare condition among pre-school children but has a significant consequence on education system whenever it occurs (2009). As a result, not many people, even some in the education system, are aware of the condition. In addition, First and Tasman state that the prevalence rates of the condition do not exceed two children in a thousand, with girls being the most affected lot (2011). These statistics further confirm the low incidences of selective mutism, which further indicates the need to enlighten education stakeholders of the appropriate measures to combat the effects of the disorder in educating young children.

Health professional use multiple approaches in the diagnosis of selective mutism among children. Firstly, health practitioners should interview the parents of the affected child to establish medical history (Wong, 2010). Such interviews are necessary since minor children may not be able to give out critical information that is essential for diagnosis. Moreover, parents are better placed to provide information regarding prenatal and perinatal history, which is important in assessing neurological and developmental associations (Wong, 2010). Of importance, diagnosis using scientific tools, such as Diagnostic Interview for Children and Adolescents, should be performed in order to rule other factors that may affect speech development among children (Wong, 2010). Wong further states that medical practitioners should examine hearing capabilities of the affected children to establish whether physiological hearing could be the cause (2010). Additionally, it is important to assess language fluency because it can be associated to selective mutism (First & Tasman, 2011).

Several factors are considered to cause selective mutism among children. According to the Child Study Centre, anxiety in different social settings is the primary cause of selective mutism in many children (n.d). This is arguably true because children suffering from this condition can communicate effectively when placed in a familiar environment. Wong (2010) also sights psychodynamic causes in which the affected children use silence as a weapon to deal with personal anger against certain unresolved issues. It is also believed that oppositional and passive aggressive behaviors among child could cause selective mutism (Cardiff University, 2009). Very close family relations between the affected children and their parents also contributes to selective mutism. In this case, affected children do not trust foreign relations due to the over protection offered by parents (Wong, 2010). It has also been shown that children with prior experiences that cause Posttraumatic stress disorder also have a tendency of developing selective mutism (Cardiff University, 2009). Further, Cardiff University states that familial genetic and environmental predisposition also causes selective mutism in children.

Selective mutism is manifested by various behavioral and physical characteristic among the affected children. One of the most significant characteristics is the failure to communicate in particular social settings that require speaking (The Child Study Centre, n.d). In this case, affected children can speak in settings they are comfortable with, such as around their parents or siblings. According to the Selective Mutism Anxiety Research and Treatment Center (SMart Center), children suffering from selective mutism are characterized by many anxieties in many cases when exposed to foreign social settings (n.d). Physical characteristics associated to selective mutism include uncoordinated body language, unpleasant facial expressions, eye contact avoidance, withdrawal from group gatherings and unusual habits such as chewing in order to avoid communication (SMart Center, n.d).

Because of the adverse effects of selective mutism, the disorder impacts the families of affected children in a number of ways. Considering the parental care and relationships between parents and their children, occurrence of then disorder can lead to discomfort and concern by the parents (Selective Mutism Treatment and Research Centre, n.d). Parents are always concerned about the future welfare of their children. Therefore, because selective mutism affects social development of their children, occurrence of the disorder leads to increased parental concerns. In addition, parents are also a concern about the disorder because it interferes with educational development of their children.

Because of the extensive research on because selective mutism, disorder, several intervention and treatment measures have been established. Intervention and treatment methods are categorized as behavioral or physiological depending on the techniques applied in the process. One of the commonly used behavioral approaches is the Stimulus fading, where a new person is gradually introduced into the comfort environment for the affected child (Cardiff University, 2009). Self-modeling, where a child is allowed to identify personal desire behavior, and shaping, where there is positive reinforcement to attain the desired behavior, represent other categories of behavioral approaches (Wong, 2010). Physiological intervention, mainly through the use of medication, is used in extreme conditions or where behavioral approaches do not yield desired results. In this approach, affected children are given anti-anxiety medications, such as fluvoxamine and fluoxetine (Wong, 2010).

Focus on the prognosis and long-term implications of has also yielded significant information about selective mutism. According to Bergman, there is research evidence showing improvement on the disorder after various interventions (2012). As discussed earlier, the different intervention and treatment approaches have been shown to produce good patient outcome when initiated using appropriate strategies. These sediments are also echoed by Selective Mutism Treatment and Research Centre by stating that appropriate treatment results in a positive outcome (n.d). However, it is noteworthy that failing to take appropriate measures can lead to persistence of the disorder in the affected children.


Effects of selective mutism pose an undoubted challenge to the learning process of the affected children. As a result, various initiatives have been initiated by Early Childhood Educators in order to combat the negative effects of the disorder and maximize learning and social interactions within the kindergarten environment. In this regard, teacher support or instructional strategies are some of the common methods employed by Early Childhood Educators to help the affected children. This strategy is implemented by using several techniques that cumulatively lead to positive support for the affected child.

Early Childhood Educators can issue instructions to the rest of the class to improve social relations of the affected child. According to the Selective Mutism Group, teachers should talk to the rest of the class on how to deal with the affected student when not present (n.d). In reality, selectively mute children shy or even hate being talked to about their behavior in the presence of ‘unfamiliar’ people. Therefore, it is import for Early Childhood Educators to establish an appropriate time for discussion the issue. In most cases, teachers instruct the other children on how to deal with specific issues concerning the affected child. For instance, a teacher should instruct fellow students to treat the affected children as if they are normal and not to reprimand them into talking.

Importantly, Early Childhood Educators can help the affected children by talking to them and offering simple instructions. Ideally, teachers should make the instructions simple and easily understood by affected children. For example, teachers should encourage the children by letting them know the different ways they can communicate whenever they feel comfortable (Selective Mutism Group, n.d). Similarly, it is important for teachers to develop prompts that encourage the affected child to communicate either to other children or the teacher (Kearney, 2010). Such interventions not only enable the affected children to develop good communication skills, but also enable them to boost their public confidence.

Early Childhood Educators can also issue instructions relating to particular activities that help to improve communication and social interactions within the school environment. For example, teachers can ask the affected student to help them in class preparation after or before a lesson. In addition, teachers can also request the parents to be present during such periods in order to boost the confidence of affected children. As a result, affected children can adapt communication skills and overcome their anxiety progressively. Similarly, teachers should promote small groups cooperation within the class and assign active responsibilities to the affected children, something that can help to build confidence and communication skills (Kearney, 2010).

On the other hand, Early Childhood Educators can use classroom programming strategies that facilitate learning and social interaction among children. Firstly, teachers should put in place class arrangements that promote interaction between the children. In particular, it is important for the teacher to identify children suffering from selective mutism and address the issue adequately. For example, because children suffering from selective mutism are shy, teacher should consider sitting such children in areas that do not attract much attention from other kids in the class. This is an arguable approach in classroom management because teachers can control various activities in the class through child arrangement. According to Kearney, proper class arrangements enable teachers to manage disruptive activities that can interfere with the learning process (2010). Therefore, Childhood Educators can improve learning and social interaction for children with selective mutism through coordinated classroom arrangements.

Teachers should also incorporate classroom routines that promote learning and social interaction among children in kindergartens. There are several routines that promote cooperation among students and teachers within institutions. For instance, communal activities such as sporting activities can help children to act as a team. In this case, teachers should identify games that suit all children but also favorite to the selectively mute children. In addition, it is important for teachers to group children in small groups in order to create a ‘favorable’ environment for the affected children. This way, selectively muted children can develop their social interaction and also improve their learning process in school.

Classroom intervention programs also help in promoting learning and social interactions among children in kindergartens. According to the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People’s Services (C4EO), intervention strategies such as whole-class strategies incorporated with small group tutoring helps in improving learning and social interactions among students. Such interventions enable the teacher to gauge the nature of student interactions at the level of classroom and individual when engaged in small group management. As a result, it is possible to identify and implement appropriate measure to help selectively muted children to overcome their challenges.

Adaptation by use of relevant furniture, equipment and material can also help to maximize learning and social interaction process among children in a kindergarten. Because selectively muted children are challenged by face-to-face communication, it is important that Early Childhood Educators invest in equipment and materials that facilitate alternative modes of communication. For example, provision of gadgets used to provide answers through pointing or passing over can substitute face-to-face communication. In addition, kindergartens should be furnished with classroom furniture that promotes quality classroom management by the teachers. In this case, teachers can use the use the available furniture and their expertise to manage classrooms in a manner that encourages social interaction and learning among children.

Another important aspect used to maximize learning and social interactions in kindergartens is through building social interactions and relationships with peer groups. As discussed earlier, behavioral approaches in dealing with selective mutism include a gradual introduction of foreign people in a ‘comfortable environment’ for the selectively mute children. On this note, Early Childhood Educators can initiate interactions and social relations among children by encouraging selectively muted children to interact with extrovert colleagues. This can be achieved by initiating activities that encourage cooperation for the children. Social interactions in the kindergarten environment can also be encouraged by letting ‘trusted’ people such as parents and siblings to be part of the school development process.

Community Agencies and Support Services

There are several community agencies within Ontario, Toronto that provide services to children with a particular exceptionality and their families. These community agencies were initiated with the aim of alleviating social and health challenges faced by families during the child development. One of these urgencies is SickKids, located at 555 University Avenue Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5G 1X8. The telephone number for general inquiries in the SickKids program is 416-813-1500. The SickKids Hospital is an affiliate of the University of Toronto and is mostly involved in research aimed at improving healthcare status for children in Canada and beyond.

The SickKids Hospital offers various types of services to children and the family at large. For example, the hospital provides creative art therapy to support development of children and emotional support to people attached to affected children. Of more importance, the hospital utilizes both behavioral and therapeutic approaches to managing social and developmental needs of the affected children. In particular, the hospital provides music therapy and therapeutic clowning as the available alternatives. Moreover, the hospital is equipped with inter-professional staffs that facilitate efficient service delivery in the facility.

The referral process at SickKids Hospital is simple and facilitates efficient service delivery for patients. Two methods, namely electronic Child Health Network (eCHN) e-Referral and the original Ambulatory Referral Management system (ARMs), are used to refer affected children. In the former method, parents or teachers of the affected children complete online electronic referral forms while the latter represents an automated online response in relation to applied referrals. In addition, urgent referrals to the hospital can be offered by calling the eCHN’s helpdesk directly.

Another support organization located in Toronto is the Moss, Rowden, Freigang & Associates. The agency, which has been in operation for more than 15 years, offers services to people locate in the Greater Toronto Area, Peel and the Halton Region regions. The street address for the organization is 341 Main St. N., Suite 200, Brampton, ON, L6X 3C. In addition, Moss, Rowden, Freigang & Associates can be contacted via telephone number, 905-874-4737 or Emails and

At Moss, Rowden, Freigang & Associates, children, family members and teachers can receive a full range of services provided by a team of qualified personnel. Specific services offered by the organization include consultation services, assessment services, psychological services, speech and language services, Autism Spectrum Disorders services and remediation/coaching programs. Of more importance, the organization is equipped with professionals from multi-disciplinary areas hence better placed to handle individual needs of particular patients.

Referral system at Moss, Rowden, Freigang & Associates is simple to facilitate efficient service delivery. The organization accepts personal referrals, referrals from family physicians and other professionals, including teachers. Interested people can book for appointments online by sending Emails to the respective departments. In addition, appointments can be organized following a direct call to the organization, using the above contacts.


The topic of Selective Mutism in children is of interest to me as a teacher trainee. After carrying out informed research on the topic, I have learned several aspects about Selective Mutism, which I was not aware of. For example, I have learned that Selective Mutism is a disorder that requires close attention from teachers and parents. In particular, I have learned that teachers are best placed to help the affected children to overcome the condition. Moreover, the topic has also enabled me to learn behavioral characteristics of young children in different social settings.

Research information obtained from this topic is valuable in informing my teaching practice. In particular, the information about adaptation strategies in dealing with Selective Mutism is useful in developing sound approaches in teaching practice. For example, the information about classroom programming and routines is essential in improving the quality of education services offered to kindergarten children. In addition, information relating to the adaptations by use of social interactions and relationships is essential for enabling teachers to identify fruitful associations among children.

Although I had prior knowledge about selective mutism, I was surprised by the research results on this topic. In particular, I had not imagined that selective mutism requires intensive and well-programed approaches to enable affected children to overcome. In addition, I was surprised that the disorder requires intervention using multi-disciplinary approach, where professional from different areas of expertise are involved, for effective intervention.

Consequently, the research results on selective mutism have changed my initial assumptions about the disorder. Prior to the research, I had assumed that the condition is mainly contributed by personal decisions of the affected children. In addition, I had presumed that approached such as forcing the affected children to get involved in social activities would help them to overcome the condition. However, it is evident that coordinated strategies are invaluable for successful interventions.

Based on my hypothesis for the research, I would recommend that a section explaining ‘what does not work’ to be include. Considering that selective mutism is a rare condition, many people are not aware of the appropriate measure to help the affected children. In addition, many people do not understand the principle causes of selective mutism and may consider using methods that do not work for the condition. Therefore, researching on what ‘does not work’ would help the readers to understand why some approaches are deemed inappropriate for use when handling children with selective mutism disorder.

In conclusion, selective mutism is a rear disorder among children. Research indicates that the disorder affects more girls compared to boys. Of more concern is that the disorder negatively impacts the learning and social development of the affected children. It is, therefore, important for teachers and parents to implement adaptation strategies enable affected children to overcome the condition quickly. In addition, it is important for Early Childhood Educators to monitor affected children carefully in order to devise appropriate methods for school-adaptation. Because of the adverse impacts caused by selective mutism in the society, several agencies, such as the SickKids Hospital and the Moss, Rowden, Freigang & Associates, have been established to provide expertise-solution to the problem.


Bergman, R. L. (2012). Treatment for Children with Selective Mutism: An Integrative Behavioral Approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Cardiff University. (2009). Too Anxious to Speak? The Implications of Current Research into Selective Mutism for Educational Psychology Practice. Educational Psychology in Practice, 25, 233-246. Retrieved from

Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People’s Services (C4EO). (2011). Effective Classroom Strategies For Closing The Gap In Educational Achievement For Children And Young People Living In Poverty, Including White Working-Class Boys. Retrieved from

Child Mind Institute. (2014). Selective Mutism. Retrieved from

First, M. B., & Tasman, A. (2011). Clinical Guide to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Disorders. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Kearney, C. A. (2010). Helping Children With Selective Mutism And Their Parents: A Guide For School-Based Professionals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Selective Mutism Anxiety Research and Treatment Center. (n.d). What Is Selective Mutism? Retrieved from

Selective Mutism Group. (n.d). Classroom Strategies for Teachers of Classroom Strategies for Teachers of Selectively Mute Children. Retrieved from

Selective Mutism Treatment and Research Centre. (n.d). How to Treat Selective Mutism: Information for parents. Retrieved from

The Child Study Centre. (n.d). Selective Mutism: Causes. Retrieved from

Wong, P. (2010). Selective Mutism: A Review of Etiology, Comorbidities, and Treatment. Psychiatry, 7(3), 23-31. Retrieved from

LAVC Psy 60 Discussion 2 – Emotional and Intellectual Basis of Stress, Should, ought, must, & negative and irrational beliefs

Emotional and Intellectual Basis of Stress




This paper extensively assesses various experiences that cause different psychological effects owing to the choice of words. It expounds on these concepts through the use of real time and personal experiences that clearly portray the effects of the usage of certain words. Additionally, it covers the aspect of self-talk and how it leads to irrational perceptions that hinder emotional prowess. Through the discussed experiences and examples, this paper gives a variety of alternative words that would have otherwise been used in stress mitigation.

Emotional and Intellectual Basis of Stress

Choice of words greatly depicts the nature, mood and reactions expected from a conversation or any interactions. Different words might have the same meaning but portray completely different tones. While some words impose intense stress to either the speaker or the listener, others motivate and inspire. It is, therefore, important to establish an appropriate choice of words that would foster motivation and joy.

A very close friend of mine was admitted to a drug rehabilitation center. “I should have been born in a good neighborhood,” she would always say. She attributes her drug problems to her upbringing in Brooklyn, New York. She was raised by relatively poor parents who cared less about her upbringing. She is evidently regretting a natural course of nature. There was no way she could speak up to her parents due to their violent nature and recurrent fights. It is important to note that the usage of the word “should” shows clear regret. Regret is not a good psychological approach to solve such problems. I believe if she said, “I am going to change my society,” she would get a faster recovery and acceptance. With this, should would have resolved to ‘hope’ other than drugs.

In my previous school, my tutor would occasionally tell us, “Your assignments must be submitted in time or else…” This would instill a lot of fear among the students and would greatly affect their performance. A case in mind is when I had to forgo all my activities to at least create time for the assignment. This made me miss some sessions of my gym class and other equally essential co-curricular activities. I jumbled up my schedules just because of my fear of punishment caused by missing the deadline. Had the teacher used more encouraging words like “…your assignments should be…” then most of my other activities would not have been affected. Additionally, my performance in his class would have improved a great deal.

Still on my friend who has drug problems. For confidentiality purposes, I will call her Kimberly- not her real name though. Kimberly was hooked to marijuana and she feels, by the book, that its addiction is irreversible. She has been in the rehabilitation center for three months now. She has always thought that she has stayed there for way too long after seeing her mates get discharged. This has taken a really negative toll in her psychological stability. It is a completely irrational belief since she has not realized that her mates had different drug problems. She has also improved immensely but due to her irrational self-talk, her improvements go unnoticed.

Therefore, in conclusion, the choices of words really dictate our attitudes towards various aspects in life. We tend to poison our progress by negative words or words used in the wrong contexts, Blonna (2012). The above examples and personal experiences clearly depict the importance of motivational words that would help consolidate stress.


Blonna, R. (2012). Coping with stress in a changing world. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

LAVC Psy 60 Discussion 2 – Emotional and Intellectual Basis of Stress, Should, ought, must, & negative and irrational beliefs






Date of Submission:

Basically, stress is an emotional, intellectual or physical reaction to change. Its mainly associated with emotion; the state of mind   with the  physical reactions   associated with it. Emotions are mainly associated with;anger,sadness,fear,enjoyment,love,surprise,disgust and shame.Sress is a   harmful feeling associated with how one behaves. This influences ones’ personality; who we are.

Stressor   which is any stimulus that cause stress is classified into external and internal stressors. External stress is mainly influenced by major life events; lose of a loved one, where one is forced to be alone thus   loneliness which   is hard to adapt. Daily hassles such as gossip also cause external stress. Its ones’ belief, attitude and perceptions   that combine with external stressors to stress self. Research has shown that stress is caused by an interaction between the stressor,ones’view of the stressor and the ability to cope with it.

Words such as must and ought should be avoided while talking to a stressed individual because they obligate him/her instead of persuading.The word should is more appropriate due to its soft tone.

In Richard Blonnas’ book; Coping with stress in a changing world, he uses easy to learn 5Rs.This entails;Rethink,Reduce,Relax,Release and Re-organize. Stress can not be controlled but can be reduced when handled   responsibly, whereby   the cause of the stress is thought about,appropriate measures   to manage or reduce the stress are laid and one has to stay calm to release the stress then get back on track. Feeding on a healthy diet and exercise also gives one a break from mental and emotional stress.

Normally, life is full of changes and one has to get used to the stressful  situations and independent lifestyle.Cooperation,change and consequences are important                                                                                         anti-stressful concepts.

  • Cooperation;getting oneself to work with others, talk along, spend some time together sharing about various experiences in life reduces stress. Cooperating with those who care and support us helps to reduce, relax and render stress harmless.
  • Change; is inevitable and a great help in ones’ life. With each passing day of ones’ life, changes are under ones’ control and it’s the ability to adapt to the changes that provides one with an opportunity to cope up with stress.
  • Consequences; every choice or decision one makes in life has an impact, either positive or negative one. In life, before you make any decision; think first and consider   the options and the outcome for a less stressful life.

In conclusion, an individual should be able to identify the stress in his/her life, the cause of the stress and develop an effective way to deal with it. If need be, cooperate with others so the outcome may benefit everyone.

LAVC Psy 60 Discussion 2 – Emotional and Intellectual Basis of Stress, Should, ought, must, & negative and irrational beliefs







During discussions, it is easy to pose a fallacious argument without realizing. When we use words such as ought, shall and must we suggest that, what we think will occur. Thus in an argument such as this: Since the amalgamation of the United States of America, all the presidents have been male hence in the future USA elections the president-elect ought to be men. We already assume the sex of the next American president even before the elections are held. Though the supporting statements are true, however, the conclusion is not. The word ought to have been replaced with most likely when expressing such an opinion.

An irrational belief can create a lot of stress as seen. Tupac Shakur was a gangster. Tupac was a rapper. Hence, all rappers are gangster. The belief was rational because it depicted the behavior of all rappers based on the character of one individual. It is a fact that not all rappers are gangsters; just the same way, not all white Americans are wealthy. It may be true that some rappers are gangsters, but this does not make them all gangsters. This argument is fallacious. It elicited a negative reaction from people, who though they agreed with the first two statements; they thought the conclusion was too general. A more positive approach would be to be either very specific in the argument or to generalize the conclusion in such a way that it is not fallacious. Thus, in the above case the argument should have been concluded by either of these statements: hence, most rappers are likely to be gangsters or Tupac came from a neighborhood with a lot of gangs. Everyone in the neighborhood was a gangster hence Tupac was a gangster.


Blonna, R. (2006) Coping with stress in a changing world, McGraw-Hill Humanities/ social Sciences/ L
























LAVC Psy 60 Discussion 2 – Emotional and Intellectual Basis of Stress, Should, ought, must, & negative and irrational beliefs







During discussions it is easy to pose a fallacious argument without realizing. When we use words such as ought, shall and must we suggest that, what we think will definitely occur. Thus in an argument such as this: Since the amalgamation of the United States of America, all the presidents have been male hence in the future USA elections the president elect ought to be a men. We already assume the sex of the next American president even before the elections have been held. Though the supporting statements are true, however the conclusion is not. The word ought should have been replaced with most likely when expressing such an opinion.

An irrational belief can create a lot of stress as seen. Tupac Shakur was a gangster. Tupac was an rapper. Hence, all rappers are gangster. The belief was rational because it depicted the behavior of all rappers based on the character of one individual. It is a fact that not all rappers are gangsters just the same way not all white Americans are rich. It maybe true that some rappers are gangsters but ths does not make them all gangsters. This argument is therefore fallacious. This elicited negative reaction from people ,who though they agreed with the first two statements they thought the conclusion was too general. A more positive approach would be to be either very specific in the argument or to generalize the conclusion in such a way that it is not fallacious. Thus, in the above case the argument should have been concluded by either of these statements: hence, most rappers are likely to be gangsters or Tupac came from a neighborhood with a lot of gangs. Everyone in the neighborhood were gangsters hence Tupac was a gangster.


Blonna, R. (2006) Coping with stress in a changing world, McGraw-Hill Humanities/ social Sciences/ L































Childhood refers to the age span of an individual between birth and adolescence. Ideally, childhood has two stages namely concrete operational alongside preoperational stages. From another perspective developmental psychologists divide childhood into toddlerhood, early childhood, Middle childhood, alongside adolescence (Montgomery, 2007:17). Notably, several factors of childhood have an immense deal of impact on the formation of an individual’s attitude. Holding to the position that childhood is not a phenomenon occurring in nature, there have been a number of arguments concerning its discovery. In the ancient times, adults held the perception that children are innocent beings depending on the adults for protection and training. The enlightenment period is of much significance to the emergence of childhood’s modern notion. This modern notion contradicts the notion of early thinkers according to whom childhood was a sanctuary period that occurred as individuals prepared to face hardships and perils associated with adulthood. According to Wells (2011), the discovery of childhood did not come in the nineteenth century; Instead, emergent rationalities and government techniques were responsible; these forces had significant impact on children’s psyches, minds, alongside their bodies thus producing them as intellectual, psychic, and corporeal subjects (Wells, 2011: 18).

Notably, childhood history presents a form of mystery with its unfolding just unfolding recently. Ideally, the past was characteristic of a trend in which child care was minimal; this meant that children were killed, terrorized, abandoned, and abused sexually (Heywood, 2001:15). In this traditional point of view, human beings gave birth to children whose souls are corrupted; in addition, these children had the meanest and nastiest instincts within themselves (Whitfield, 1987:16). This has the implication that, the relationship between childhood and innocence is a modern point of view. A number of historians argue that children were perceived to be small adults in possession of qualities that leveled those of grown-ups; this was before the 17th century. However, children of that time were not as daring as children of today. There were also ancient beliefs linking children with fallen angles. As a result of these beliefs children did not receive as much protection as today. In addition, adults held children responsible for their actions, alongside assigning them various duties. Children were vile creatures as proved by their actions; this was because of their inability to handle trouble and reason like adults. According to the Romantics, children represented noble savages (Dobrin, 2013:par2). These philosophers believed that the nature of humans was malleable and perfectible. Ideally, these philosophers gave a description of life that matched what life ought to be.

There is substantial evidence that emergent rationalities had significant influence on the discovery of childhood. Ideally, rationality refers to an individual’s quality of being reasonable on grounds of reason or fact (Flyvbjerg, 1998:2). Thus rationalists have reasons for their beliefs or reasons for their actions. New rationalists had an outstanding reason to appreciate childhood in the wake of romantic. Consequently, these rationalists impacted children’s psyches, minds, alongside their bodies thus producing them as intellectual, psychic, and corporeal subjects. Despite the fact that these rationalists did not have theories that matched their practices, they exhibited an immense deal of appreciation for childhood. The emergence of childhood came at a time when systemic observations had started being made via the use of science. Children exhibited spontaneous inclination in the direction of sympathy at the onset of the romantic era. Before the emergence of these new rationalists, children were perceived as fierce and gloomy little beasts. The globe witnessed societies which revealed children’s nature in broad daylight.

The new rationalists thus had reasons for a number of actions which contributed significantly to the discovery of childhood. These actions were responsible for a number of changes which came about as a consequence of Renaissance and Reformation (King, 2007:371). Such systems as the feudal and capitalism were responsible for the propagation of the changes, initiated by the new rationalists of the romantic era. These factors changed the existing belief that human efforts could significantly human condition. It can thus be argued that, the most significant achievement of new rationalists was the discovery of childhood. Notably, children existed before this time but people did not have a clear understanding of it entailed. This draws substantial illustration from the fact that many people treated children as miniature grown-ups. For example, unlike the current society, people did not provide separate clothes for children. Since the discovery of childhood, there has been a common practice that sees people provide their children with a kit specifically designed for small children. This is practiced, among others, to achieve the convenience of the child. On top of clothing, children are now provided with separate space and furniture; this is contrary to the era before the discovery of childhood. Notably, the emergent rationalists had the belief that their actions would bring about changes which would appreciate the importance of children thus the understanding of the concept of childhood. Arguably, before the emergence of the new rationalists, childhood did not exist.

Ideally, new rationalists saw the human as one defined by static and inherited roles. This perception was responsible for the understanding of the child as a different individual. The new rationalists influenced the change of houses’ structures thus the discovery of the essence of privacy, political and economic changes. One of t he consequences of these changes was that children could no longer be sent away from their homes to work. These events were of much essence in the birth of childhood. Ideally, people completely changed the perspective from which children were viewed. This has the implication that people’s view of children changed significantly both by observation and understanding. In the ancient time, people thought that children were small monsters that were in waiting to be made human beings. However, the emergence of new rationalists changed this notion in a significant manner. People developed an immense deal of respect for children accompanied by the realization of the need to provide them with substantial protection (Montessori, 2004:60). Following the emergence of the new rationalists, basic needs and part of the secondary needs of children became the responsibility of parents. In the real sense, this change was achieved after the new rationalists had influenced the discovery of childhood through a number of actions. The magnitude of care given to grown-ups was also separated with that given to adults (Elias, 1978:35). Parents developed the understanding that the age between birth and adolescence was a delicate stage for their children thus the need for maximum care. This did not exist before; not that parents of the time did not have children but because they lacked the understanding of the needs of individuals belonging in this age group (Prout, 2011:8).

Government techniques also had significant impact on the discovery of childhood, as observed in various initiatives by governments throughout the globe. For instance, following the birth of some of the world’s earliest democracies, several governments lobbied for the rights of children. As a result, parents would no longer view children as small monsters awaiting adulthood. Instead, parents would recognize that children had rights to several needs which had to be provided in a different manner compared to the adults. These included clothing and housing. Ideally, rights of children refer to human rights entitled to children (Fass, 2009:965). The rights of children, as stated by governments, have specific emphasis on minors’ care, basic necessities’ provision, and special protection. However, not all countries respect children’s rights implying that the role played by governments’ techniques towards full recognition of childhood still has a long way. Most of the governments, however, have implemented policies which outlaw such forms of exploitation as child labor, imprisonment, forced military service, deprivation of education, and detention. Before the implementation of such policies by governments, childhood was not recognized in several parts of the world. Consequently, children were subjected to an immense deal of violence and poor conditions especially in the current third world countries (Rahikainen, 2005:15).

Government techniques that led to the discovery of childhood also include research in social sciences. Ideally, governments have invested heavily in adulthood sociological studies. These governments have initiated programs regarding contemporary anthropological and sociological research in order to enable people develop essential links involving social theory and childhood study. An outstanding example of a nation where such studies have powered the recognition of childhood is Ethiopia in Sub-Saharan Africa. Social sciences have been essential in the enlightenment era since people were able to understand the psychological needs of children. It is via social sciences that people have been able to learn that the needs of adults are different from those of children. Notably, most of the poor conditions subjected to children in the ancient times were as a result of ignorance. People, in several parts of the globe, lacked information on the special needs of children but this has been alleviated by governments’ emphasis on social studies. There is still need for governments to put more emphasis on social sciences studies especially in countries that are still in the process of civilization (Quennerstedt & Quennerstedt, 2014:120). Notably, a number of Sub-Saharan African countries are yet to reach the civilization threshold that supports full recognition of childhood. For instance, in the recent years the world has witnessed the use of children soldiers in such countries as Liberia, Central African Republic, and Angola. The situation is, however, being restored by use of a number of factors inclusive of social sciences studies.

Governments’ techniques that have contributed to the realization of childhood are also inclusive of formation of global bodies. One of these bodies is the UNICEF which lobbies for child protection among other roles. This body indicates that child protection entails such initiatives as violence response alongside the prevention of child abuse and exploitation. Some of the common practices combated by UNICEF are trafficking, sexual exploitation, child marriage, child labor, and female genital mutilation (UNICEF, 2014). It is the responsibility of member nations to take part in the formation of policies and rules governing the body. On the other hand, governments ought to ensure that they adhere to all rules implemented by the body with respect to child protection. There are cases in which governments have presented individuals, involved in abuse of children’s rights, before international judicial systems; the ICC is an outstanding example.

It can thus be argued that, the 19th century did not mark the discovery of childhood. The discovery of childhood was not an evolutionary process marked by time but was rather triggered by government techniques and emergent rationalists. New rationalists had the belief that their actions would bring about the recognition of childhood. They exhibited new practices which were contrary to traditional practices that did not obey the rights of children. Various governments in the globe have also exhibited several initiatives that have contributed to the recognition of childhood. The most important is the implementation of various polices that outlaw all activities tat compromise children’s protection and rights to other services. This has also been aided by the formation of such international bodies as the UNICEF. Ideally, the discovery of childhood meant the recognition of children’s special needs thus ending the ancient notion that children were simply small adults. As a result, children could now access special services that match their special needs. Outstanding examples are different clothing, right to education, and right to protection against various forms of abuse and exploitation. It is thus evident that that the respect for children’s rights did not simply come about in the 19th century.


Dobrin, A., 2013. When Childhood was discovered. [online] Available at: <> [24

Elias, N. 1978. The Civilizing Process. Oxford: Blackwell. (This is a book on the process of civilization. It was useful in forming the foundation of giving differences of childhood view between the ancient and current time)

Fass, P., 2009. “Children and globalization”, Journal of Social History, Summer, vol. 1, no. 126, pp. 963-977. (This is an article on children from a global perspective. It was useful in establishing the issues that face children in the entire globe)

Flyvbjerg, B., 1998. Rationality and Power: Democracy in Practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (This is a book on rationality. It was essential in giving the definition of rationality)

Heywood, C. 2001. A history of childhood: Children and childhood in the West from medieval to modern times. Cambridge: Polity. (This is a book on the childhood history in the West. It was significant in giving an overview of  how people perceived children in the ancient times)

King, M. L. 2007. “Concepts of childhood: what we know and where we might go”, Renaissance Quarterly, vol.60, pp. 371-407. (This is an article on various childhood concepts. It was significant in giving changes that occurred on the life’s of children as a result of Renaissance and Reformation)

Montessori, M., 2014. The Discovery of the Child. New Delhi: Aakar Books. (This is a book on childhood discovery. It was useful in raising the key issues that came about with discovery of the child)

Montgomery, H. 2009, An introduction to childhood: Anthropological perspectives on children’s lives. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell Publishers. (This is a book on the basic concepts of childhood. This book was useful from giving an introduction of childhood from an anthropologist’s point of view)

Prout, A., 2011. “Taking a step away from modernity: Reconsidering the new sociology of childhood”, Global Studies of Childhood, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 4-14. (This is an article on emergent children’s sociology. It was useful in establishing the differences in children’s sociology between the ancient and modern eras)

Quennerstedt, A., and Quennerstedt, M., 2014. “Researching children’s rights in education: sociology of childhood encountering educational theory”, British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 115-132. (This is an article on social sciences studies and the rights of children. It was useful in establishing the essence of social sciences on children’s rights)

Rahikainen, M. 2005. Centuries of Child Labour: European Experiences from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Centuries. Aldershot: Ashgate.(This is a book on the life of children before the recognition of childhood. It was useful in giving the image of children’s life before childhood discovery)

UNICEF, 2014. What we do. [online] Available at: <> [24 September 2014]. (this is the official UNICEF website. It was useful in establishing the roles of UNICEF)

Wells, K., 2011. “The politics of life: governing childhood”, Global Studies of Childhood, vol 1, no. 1, pp. 15-25. (This is an article on politics surrounding the life of children. It was significant in establishing the essay’s thesis statement thus forming the argument’s basis)

Whitfield, C., 1987. Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families (Recovery Classics Edition). Deerfield: Health Communications, Inc.(This is a book on self help. It was useful in establishing various forms of abuses on children)

Atwood, Margaret. “Death by Landscape.” Atwood Margaret. Wilderness Tips. Canada: McClelland and Stewart,1991.

Atwood, Margaret. “Death by Landscape.” Atwood Margaret. Wilderness Tips. Canada: McClelland and Stewart,1991.

“Death by Landscape”, written by Margaret Atwood, tells the reader about the story of an old woman named, Lois, who reflects back on her life. For years, she has built a steady collection of paintings and now that she is living in a smaller condo unit, following the death of her husband as well as the moving out of her children, the paintings are closer and more visible to her. As she wanders, she remembers the times when she spent her summer, as a young girl, at a camp. She recalls the traditions that they practiced in camp, the words of the song that she used to sing and her spunky counsellors.  Most importantly, she remembers her American friend named Lucy as well as the summer when Lucy suddenly disappeared into the wilderness without any signs or trace and was never to be found again. It was only after several years that Lois realized how the disappearance of her dear friend drastically affected her life – the reason why she collected so many paintings is because she was searching for Lucy.