Welcome

Foundation „Zu-Wendung für Kinder“

Only when children grow to have a stable and prosocial personality they will have sufficient energy and creativity to master the future. Children need adults who love and welcome them unconditionally – merely because they exist.

With fulfilling the basic evolutionary need for physical contact and deep emotional attachment our infants and toddlers grow up with the full potential for happiness. Children thrive on mutual time with their parents because they need care by adults who love them with all their heart.

Parents first priority is to raise children to their best potential for health and happiness. This aim can only be reached when we don´t have to submit parenting under economic principles.

  • The Foundation supports scientific research in the field of early childhood and development.
  • The Foundation works for more knowledge about and focus on the importance of parents. We are convinced that parents are inexchangeable and should be better supported by society in terms of time and money, so that they have a respectable life now and in retirement age.
  • The Foundation engages in data-based critical discussion in society, to bring the above stated conditions to the mind of people.
  • The Foundation works for more strength and pride of parents, who all should know about the family-work and the precious love of parents for their children.

The future of our children is our responsibility.

Every child should have the chance to develop savely and soundly in his or her own way. Attachment and fundamental trust are indespensable basis for a healthy and prosper life. Our foundation sets priority to the fundamental needs of infants and toddlers, because that´s what we owe them.

Members of the Board

The members of our board are very renowned and have a life-long history of expertise in the field of childhood, education and development. They support the Foundation Inititiative with scientific background.

Prof. Gordon Neufeld

Prof. Gordon Neufeld

„The most important thing in our society is to protect the connections between parents and children. Not only for the children, but also for the parents, because they need this in order to fulfil their task. Without their children’s deep attachment to them, they cannot educate them.“

Prof. Gordon Neufeld has a history of more than 30 years of therapeutical work with families and is a world expert of the psychological and social function of attachment between parents and their children.

Prof. Gordon Neufeld on the Internet

www.gordonneufeld.com
www.neufeldinstitute.org

Prof. Ralph Dawirs

Prof. Ralph Dawirs

„Whether father, mother or grandparents care, it doesn’t matter. But a child needs a binding accompaniment, especially in the first years. We do not need nationalisation of childhood. Parents can do this much better than institutions like childcare centres.“

Prof. Ralph Dawirs is a neurobiologist and director of the scientific department of child and youth psychiatry in the university hospital of Erlangen.

Prof. Ralph Dawirs on the Internet

www.ralph-dawirs.de

Steve Biddulph

Steve Biddulph

„Parents are torn back and forth between the task of earning and consuming and what they want to do for their children, namely give and communicate love, and how they can achieve enough love in their families. I think that all parents feel torn apart as they try to decide which way to go personally and whether their lives should be about money or more about parental love.“

Steve Biddulph is a family therapist and has worked with Australien families for more than 25 years. He also is the author of  several world-wide known instructive books for parents on the topics of education and upbringing.

Steve Biddulph on the Internet

www.stevebiddulph.com

Our Ambassadors

The ambassadors of the Foundation „Zu-Wendung für Kinder“ („For Children“) support all our aims and actions and share our belief that infants and toddlers have „an elemental need for nearness and emotional support by their parents“ (Wolfgang Bergmann).

Botschafter_Barbara_Wussow

Barbara Wussow

„Laughing together, comforting our children and unconditional acceptance in a home where they feel comfortable, that is important to us.“

German actress, nationwide known from cinema and TV, patron of the German Paediatric-Oncology-Follow-up-Hospital in Tannheim.

www.barbarawussow.at

Botschafter_Angela_Wiedl

Angela Wiedl

„Children in their purity, with their great love let me recognize and experience to see the wonderful in everyday life. I am an ambassador for the foundation Zu-Wendung für Kinder, because children in the family feel the warmth, security and power of love – this wonderful invisible bond – to strengthen them for their lives.

Angela Wiedl –  for more than 20 years successful as an interpretor of German folk music.

www.angela-wiedl.de

Botschafter_Tamina_Kallert

Tamina Kallert

„For me, raising a child is the greatest challenge life has to offer. Who decides against it, misses one of the most important experiences at all.“

TV-Journalist and moderator of the tv magazine on travel „Wunderschön“ in the WDR (Western Germany Broadcast), lives in Switzerland with her two children.

Rebecca Immanuel © Vanessa Cowling

Rebecca Immanuel

„To experience unconditional love is the most important thing in the life of a child – love is the key to joy of life, freedom as well as mental and physical health.“

Rebedcca Immanuel is born in 1970, is an actress, married and has a son. Rebecca Immanuel is one of the most popular German actresses and is known from TV series such as: The Eifelpraxis – The Mountain Doctor – Edel & Starck.

Botschafter_Melanie_Gill

Melanie Gill

Child psychologist and -therapeutist in Brighton, England. Founder of the Mindful Policy Group.

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Botschafter_Albin_Nees

Dr. jur. utp. Albin Nees

„There’s no state to make without a family.“

Albin Nees Former head of the German Family Union and  former secretary of state in the Saxonian Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Youth and Family.

Botschafter_Janine_Kunze

Janine Kunze

„For me, children are my everything, for them I would do anything and always fight like a lioness.“

German actress and book author: „Gifted roots – Why I am not blood-related to my true family“.

www.janine-kunze.de

Botschafter_Ralph_Herforth

Ralph Herforth

„With Mom and Dad on the couch, what could be bigger for such a little one? He then baths in this all is well feeling and is in these moments so incredibly there.“

German actor, father of 4 children, part-time career as real estate agent, specialized on idyllic houses in Greater Berlin.

www.ralphherforth.de

Blog_Autoren_Portrait_Herbst_Theresia

Theresia Herbst

„A secure bond with the father supports the child’s development of autonomy.“

Theresia Herbst, Mag.a rer.nat., dipl. Päd., is a clinical psychologist for children, adolescents and families with their own clinical-psychological practice in Vienna. She is mother of two children and lives in Vienna.

Botschafter_Rainer_Fischer

Rainer Fischer

„Every man has some talents and possibilities to do anything for a more lovable life on our troubled planet – for himself, for his children, for the generations to come.“

Rainer Fischer is a freelance graphic designer, illustrator, painter and author. He lives on San Miguel de la Palma, ESPAÑA-CANARIAS.

Want to support the foundation as ambassador or sponsor?

News

Aufwachsen im Wandel der Familie - Foto Sergej Khackimullin © Fotolia

Better understanding

„Top-Mountaineers need Basis Camps“, Bowlby
Human development depends on the experience with the primary caregiver (mother, father, and, supplementary, any adult who loves the child). For the development of a coherent Self, authentic self-concept and healthy brain development children need an adult offering sensitive, reliable and coherent care. All later relationships will be based on these early experiences.

If early attachment is sufficient, then children develop empathy, social competence, sufficient conflict management, creativity, emotional strength and a solid positive attitude towards life.  Attachment frustrations or disruptions during this early phase resemble a grave and lifelong risk for the physical and emotional mental health.

In the last decades the parent-child-relationship have come under stress, induced by accentuation of individualization, economic needs and demand for flexibility. Parents are put under gross stress, timewise and financially. To be able to cope we force parents to institutionalize their children too young and for too long hours. Thus we put children under grave health risk and bereave parents of their precious family time.

The Family, as the best basis for healthy child care conditions, is still very much wanted: 97% of all people denominate „family“ as „most important“ of their life spheres. 73% of teenagers and young adults wish for children and marital lifelong relationships as the best basis for the foundation of a new family. 83% of all 30-year-olds plan to stay with their spouses for the rest of their life.

The Foundation fights for a stable and healthy development for all children. We support the Institute for Attachment Sciences, we support family-focussed projects, we organize seminaries and edit a new Family-Magazine „Für uns“ („For us“).

Please join us! Please be a pro-child-acitivist in the same line with Wolfgang Bergmann, Barbara Wussow, Tamina Kallert, Prof. Ralph Dawirs, Steve Biddulph and Prof. Gordon Neufeld. Be a childrens´ambassador!

Krippenstress - Foto luxorphoto © fotolia

Early stress has lifelong consequences

Group Daycare is a stressful experience, especially for the youngest children. The longterm consequences can be dramatic as shown in several scientific studies. And we have only just begun to understand the grave impacts of toxic stress on brain development.

Videos on the topic in our media library:

  • „Toxic stress derails healthy“, from Harvard Universität, USA
  • „The Toxic Stress of Early Childhood Adversity“, from Harvard Universität, USA
Was geschieht in Kitas und Krippen - Foto Tatyana Gladskih © Fotolia

The risk of early group day-care

The more capacity of early group day-care is established, the more parents ask for it. This correlation resembles „modern times“and it totally ignores the need of small children. Hardly anyone seems to take note of their misery.

Scientific results on the effects of early group day-care show how much small children in group day-care are put under toxic stress. The following article explains this phenomenon. It is connected with the details of brain development in the first two to three years of life. And it explains why early group day-care is connected with many risks.

Psychic, social and cognitive development of babies and toddlers – separation- and forlornness-anxieties

In the first 6 months of life a baby subjectively forms a unitiy with her or his mother. In the following months the baby begins to be mobile and realizes that mum is a separate entity. And that´s when forced separation begins to induce fear.  Ideally, at the beginning of this phase, child-mother (or any other primary caregiver)-attachment is fully established. The so-called primary attachment-figure cannot be exchanged and only she or he is secure base for exploring the surrounding world, and safe haven for comfort and rest whenever needed.

If mum is available for the child, than the attachment, e.g. The relationship, is stable and secure. If mum cannot be reached because she is nowhere near, than the baby experiences massive fear and dispair, much more stress than his delevoping brain can endure without damage. Why forced separation between mother and baby inflicts such a catastrophic emotional state in the baby can be explained by the fact that a baby cannot „mentalize“an image of his mother and lacks the ability to foresee the re-union. Mum has never been there and will never be back. No other person can soothe this massively negative feeling.

The ability to mentally imagine another person develops slowly. It starts with recognition of faces. At age 12 months children recognise persons they have regular contact with when they see them, but cannot keep a memorized image. Between 18 and 24 months memorized images come up, the baby then realizes that she or he is a person distinct from other persons. At this stage separation anxieties are intensified when children are submittes to forced separations from their primary caregiver. If this is a regular this, prolonged crying and sleeping disorders can be proof of their anguish. Shy and introvert children suffer the most miserable state of all.

Exploring the world under parental protection

The absence of self-awareness in the first (total lack) and second (partial lack) year of life leads to the need to be emotionally regulated from an outside person, and this again can only be done by the primary caregiver. A small child endures the exploration of the surrounding world only supported, often literally hold, by her or his primary caregivers. The child learns from their feelings  and reactions, and imitates their actions. Thus development is optimal, and no formal program whatsoever in any sort of institution can even come anywhere close to the effectiveness of this finely attuned attachment-based learning process.

While reaching out and exploring toddlers very often exspectantly look at their parents faces. Parents while readily smiling back encourage their children to learn more about the world, an inborn talent all children have, no formal education-program whatsoever is needed. Toddlers point at objects, and at the age of two and three often ask: „What´s this?„, attentively awaiting a direct (that´s vital !) answer from mum or dad. This elementary form of learning is irreplacable, and if it not interrupted by forced and prolonged separations, the child develops a feeling of self-efficacy and relaxed mood, best basis for more curiousness and exploration.

At roughly two years, at the point when a child realizes that it is a person among others, she or he starts to differentiate between foreign objects and own belongings. It proclaims items as

„mine“and cling to them. Parents´ emotional support is irreplacable for emotionaly enduring this new awarness of self and others, `familiar and strange´. To learn to voluntarily give a toy to another child is a hard task and high aim. And here again is a developmental step which demands the child-parent-attachment-relationship. Under good conditions It tends to last for another 4 to 6 months. Forced separations hinder and prolong this phase.

Unconscious egotism

To balance the challenge of the above described development, children at the age of two to three years seem to be very self-centered and strong-willed. The child is his own centre of the world and feels omnipotent, that is a very normal stage of development. The need of others cannot (or only rudimentary so) be imagined and fulfilled. The more expressive children can be quite angry when they are asked to do something which they didn´t plan to do. If they obey their parents, they don´t do it out of rational understanding but on the base of attachment and relation. In forced separation-situations children obey out of the fearful feeling of being lost and  insecureness.

The temper tantrums of small children almost always happen in company of the mother, because the child needs to debond of her. Hence other caregivers are less prone to the childs outbursts of frustration. If the mother treats the child consitently, calmly and friendly  without just being defeated and inadequately giving in, the childs personality-development ist strengthend.

After about 2 1/2 years some major steps of development are taken, and the child needs another year of active exploring the near surroundings and his own reactions to it in the comforting closeness to his mother who still has this vital function of secure base and safe haven. It is after 3 years, and for many children probably even after a full 4 years, that they are strong and fit for hours long periods of social contact in a group of children and adults who are not primary caregivers to this child.

How do these development facts relate to the concept of half – or even full-day early group day-care?

If children have to go into group day-care between their first and second birthday, they are right in between the phase of mastering their first and subtle autonomy. They are very dependent on the support by their primary attachment-figure. This will fail, if suddenly the mother is not available to the child for long hours a day because this is nothing that will happen theoretically, rather is her factual assistance vitally needed. The one year old child in day-care is not only subjected to despair but hindered in his development.

The massive separation-anxiety bouts of these children, esp. during the phase of age 8 to 16 months and then again 20 to 24 months, are a toxic stress burden, which can be measured in scientific studies. Several long-term studies laid open long-term risks of chronic stress burden for mental and physical health throughout life.

Shy “well-behaved” children suffer most

Especially the most sensitive and shy children, who desperately cling to their mother, are traumatized when put into day-care before their 3rdbirthday. Once mother is out of the door they stop crying and desperately try to find anyone offering comfort and individual loving care. Usually  they find none, because the carers have to many children to look after and hence to little time for any single child. The shy children retreat or react submissive so not to get under even worse stress than they already are. Their energy is consumed with trying to keep any sort of inner balance, their behavior show very little signs of distress, but their cortisole levels (stress hormone) are pathologically altered. Under these conditions virtually no developmentally positive education is taking place!

This stress-effect is directly connected with violating the attachment-needs of the children. One or two year old children cannot postpone their needs for many hours until their are picked up and brought home. The unnatural over-activation of the stress-management-system leads to a heightened vulnerability against viral and bacterial infections, to lasting neurological alterations in the transmitter systems and to a risen susceptibility to stressfull situations, most probably with lifelong effect.

Toxic stress by sensoric overload in group day-care

Another factor with a massive stress potential is the sensoric overload. In the first two years of life children simply cannot integrate an hours long hoard of children and subsequent multiple play situations. The sensomotoric systems at this age require more quietness and self-regulated action for regular development. Many similar aged children put together resemble an excessive demand and put development at risk. The sensory systems have not yet developed potent filters and get constantly overloaded. The risk of attentional and concentration-related problems is heightened.

The above described features of the „That´s-Mine“-Phase produce additional stress because the children get not enough opportunities to act according to the developmental needs. Again, the shyer kids tend to be subdued because of because of feelings of insecurity. These children retreat, they try not to show off and survive emotionally – somehow.

In early day-care many the two-year-old children act in a social and obedient way which is a survival strategy: They readily give toys away if another child cries. They strongly react to the feeling of other children because the emotion contagion effect is very strong in small children. They try to stop tears of others but this is not to be confused with the empathic competence children later should develop.

Almost all two-year-old children have problems with the setting of a day-care group. This is identifyable in their behaviour: They hardly ever play with each other. Either they play solo and for themselves or they try to get the attention of one of the carers. Experts call this „island-behaviour“. These children are obedient and behave well at meal-times, for they try to maintain emotional stability and  dare not risk the carers to get angry with them. Adult misinterpret this as „well educated in day-care“but the children stretch their adaptation way beyond their  normal capacity and are constantly overstrained, which can induce restlessness.

This behaviour points to a general problem with early group day-care: If children development-wise are not able to stand alone, register, interpret, filter and reject, have little memory and no awareness of self, than they are very dependent on adults, if they don´t want to get lost in an ocean of feelings and sensory stimuli.

High risk of attachment disorder in full-day care settings

Whole-day group day-care and day-care in the first year of life inflict the risk of leading to attachment disorders which will damage life and well-being. Attachment development is fully dependent on the emotionally attuned availability of the primary attachment figure, most often – for obvious reasons – the  mother. Children clinging to their mum show attachment-need behaviour. If this is rejected rather than adequately reacted to, children develop attachments disorders.

Education without attachment has little effect

The supporters of the concept of early group day-care are sadly mistaken in hoping for educational value in this setting. Education in the first two to three years of life is a family task, it requires security, predictability and trust. These children ask many questions during a day and hope for a person with emotional commitment, someone who loves them, to answer them promptly, friendly and enthusiastically.

Final comment

Some children may profit from very wellequipped day-care if their parents are neglectful or abusive. However, those children are much better of with loving foster parents and without group day-care. For the great majority of children under three group day-care is potentially harmful because it leads to many developmental risks.

The growing economic, social and political pressure on young parents has led to a fatal situation, in which children in day-care tend to be younger and stay longer hours. That is an immense risk for their mental and physical health. This pressure ignores all results of developmental and psychoneurological studies. Economy blocks a social and rational discussion about what children need to be healthy and happy, and their parents need to live a fulfilling family life.

Dr. Erika Butzmann

Toddlers explore the world

Babies are courageous and creative explorers of their world, if they can always count on emotional support by a loving attachment figure who emotionally resembles a stabile basis and a secure haven. A securely attached baby exploring the world has an unbeatable support and will start with advantages in school.

Education needs Attachment-Studie:
Marc H. Bornstein et al., Physically Developed and Exploratory Young Infants Contribute to Their Own Long-Term Academic Achievement, Psychological Science, Oktober 2013, 24 (10), 1906-1917
In our media library you will find many videos – also in English

  • Still Face-Experiment, from Edward Tronick
  • TED-Talks: education „Advice to help you be a great parent, For parents, happiness is a very high bar“, Ken Robinson
  • The importance of early childhood, Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), University of British Columbia
  • Project for Babies: „Brain Architecture, Serve and Return, Stress, Pay Now or Pay Later“, Jane Kretzmann, University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development – US-Zentrun für Forschung und Information über frühkindliche Entwicklung
  • The gender is in the brain, Annica Dahlström

Geliebte Kinder sind klüger - Foto mocker_bat © Fotolia

Loved children are smarter

Children whose mother has breastfed them and kept them with sensitive loving care throughout the day for the first 2-3 years of life have a bigger Hippocampus, the brainsection for learning, forming memories and coping with stress. Source: Science Daily

Studie
:  J. L. Luby et al., Maternal support in early childhood predicts larger hippocampal volumes at school age. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vorab online publiziert, 30. Januar 2012

Studies Conducted in Germany, Klaus und Karin Grossman et.al.

Zuwendung und Stillen - Foto iStock © MarkoNOVKOV

Breastfeeding – Development, health and attachment

Breastfeeding on demand? As often and as long as a baby wants ? There is much debate on the evolutionary way, but breastfeeding naturally gets more and more support by Naturegroups and scientific studies.

Recent results on the advantages of natural breastfeeding

Verlust der Mutter erhöht das Krankheitsrisiko - Foto Anke Thomass © fotolia

Survey: Mum or Daycare

In the first three years of life children should not be in group daycare settings but be kept and educated in the family. Two thirds of all Germans think so, according to a new survey by TNS Emnid on behalf of the magazine „Chrismon“.

Survey Mum or Daycare