If bonds of unconditional love are essential to emotional security, so too is a responsive environment- one that will allow the child to explore and learn, to try and succeed, and, in the process, to develop a sense of personal competence. Once again, the evidence suggests that experiences even in the early months of life can play a critical role in determining which youngsters will grow into expressive, self assured, curious preschoolers and which ones will become timid, overcautious, and easily discouraged.
Experiencing the world favorably, as a place where one can express a need and get action in return, begins with something as basic as what happens when a baby feels hungry and begins to cry. The infant whose parent responds readily not only finds herself comforted with satisfying nourishment, but she also learns an important lesson; She has feelings that matter to others and can exercise some control over her circumstances. At the other extreme, the child who is left to cry and cry- perhaps because his parents fears that feeding him outside his normal un important and that he cannot change his situation. Such a lesson can become a self fulfilling prophecy, inclining the child as he grows older to passivity and reluctance to take responsibility for his behavior.