Children can’t grow well in violent, restrictive environment   — Paediatrician warns

Angela Onwuzoo

A Consultant Paediatric Haematologist and Oncologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Professor Edamisan Temiye, says children will not grow well and appropriately in an environment characterised by violence.

He warned parents to stop exposing their children to violence, noting that such a toxic environment negatively impacts the mental well-being of children.

Prof. Temiye also said a violent environment can also increase the chances of children having a low intelligence quotient, which he noted will lead to poor academic performance.

The paediatrician, who disclosed this during an interview with PUNCH Healthwise, however, said adequate nutrition during pregnancy could positively impact on the brain and physical development of children.

The child health expert pointed out that nutrition and the environment play critical roles in a child’s brain development, adding that brain development starts from the womb.

He said, “The first 2000 days of a child’s life, that is from conception to two years, during that period, 99 per cent of the child’s brain volume had been developed. So, if anything happens during that period to affect that development, it will affect the intelligence of that child.

“If the child doesn’t have the requisite nutrition for the brain to grow maximally at that period, it affects the brain and it is permanent. Now, by the time two years passes, the child would have lost it.”

The professor said not allowing children to explore their environment will make them develop low  IQ.

” Then, If you don’t expose the child to the environment to learn, you know that children are naturally inquisitive to learn, they want to know this, they want to touch this, if you don’t guide them to learn through that phase, it will affect the child’s growth.

“A child should be allowed to explore his environment under guidance. So, if the physical environment is too violent, the child will not grow appropriately.

“A child specifically may be born with a high level of intelligence of five per cent but if that child’s environment walks against him, he may eventually grow up to be in the lowest five per cent of the society – a dullard,” the child expert said.

Researchers in an article published in Industrial Psychiatry Journal said a child’s intelligence quotient is determined by both genetic and environmental factors that start from the prenatal period itself.

In another article titled, ‘Effect of environmental factors on intelligence quotient of children’, the authors noted that various environmental factors such as place of residence, physical exercise, family income, and parents’ occupation and education can influence the IQ of a child to a great extent.

They held that a child must be provided with an optimal environment to be able to develop to his/her full genetic potential.


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