Childhood instability refers to sudden and involuntary disruptions in a child's life that cause a negative change. Instability can manifest in many overlapping ways. For instance, a child may experience instability from a job loss in the family as well as the subsequent financial hardships that it brings.
Young brains are like sponges: they absorb an incredible amount from their environment. The technical term is "neural plasticity," and while some level of plasticity exists in adulthood, early childhood is when the brain is most malleable.
The presence of negative stimuli in a child's environment -- such as poverty, emotional or physical abuse, and violence -- can be damaging to a child's long-term development.