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Prevention of violence begins in the home

Date published: 1/3/2013

In the late '90s, researchers concluded that explosive brain growth occurs during the last three months of pregnancy, including the development of hearing. They also concluded that musical interactions from those early moments were directly related to brain development and may be the building blocks for future musical ability and intellectual development.

One could conclude that if instead of music the pre-born child hears screaming and acts of violence being carried out, that would have an impact on the child's intellectual development.

Ninety percent of brain growth occurs by age 5. One would expect that the foundation for a person's personality is well-established before significant interaction with others begins to occur.

If a person spends those years hearing adults scream at each other, that foundation is likely to be quite different from a person who spends that time hearing music and witnessing expressions of love. If a person spends the years from ages 3 to 5--when 30 percent of brain growth occurs--watching violent TV shows, playing violent video games or witnessing violence between adults, that foundation is likely to be altered to where their interactions with others is adversely affected.

As parents, we must be aware that the environment we provide during those early years can have a profound impact on the adults our children become. Once that foundation is built, it is difficult to change the structure of whatever rests on it.

If we want to minimize the probability of future senseless acts of violence like that in Connecticut, we must recognize the critical importance of a child's first 63 months of life and act accordingly. I do not know how we make people who have babies become responsible parents, but it is something that should be addressed or we will witness more of these terrible acts.

Rex A. Hoover