Theories of Child Development

The development of a child takes place in stages that are span across lengths of time, progressing from one level to another. The stages are characterized by specific capabilities that the children posse, being able to do certain things in given dimensions. Notably, their abilities are limited and their thinking tends to be within a small scope, always thinking in one particular dimension for certain duration, often a few years before they can move to the next level where they experience enhanced growth. 

Several theories exit to explain the various stages of child development with the main ones being the Piaget, Kohlberg and Selman theories.

Piaget’s theory makes proposition that the cognitive development to young adulthood from infancy takes place in four distinct stages namely sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operations and formal operations.  Kohlberg’s theory on the other hand is more of advancement on Piaget’s theory and stipulates that moral reasoning is the ultimate basis of ethical orientation and comprises six distinct stages. They include obedience and punishment orientation, preconventional morality, individualism and exchange, good interpersonal relationships, social order maintenance, individual rights & social contract, and universal principles. These stages are further grouped into levels with the first level comprising the first two. The second and third levels are made up of the next two and the final two respectively(University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, n.d). Selman theory is of the opinion that children will always display a high ability to take others’ perspectives as they grow and contains five levels namely the egocentric role taking, social information role taking, self-reflective role taking, mutual role taking and social &conventional system role taking (Profitt, 2005).

The cognitive and moral development stage is based on the fundamental fact that the learning process is often purely internal and mental by nature that sometimes can be displayed by changing behaviors but not necessarily immediate as it can sometimes take some amount of time before any reasonable reflection takes form in the life of a human being specifically at the young age. The implication is expansive, basically with the understanding that a human being’s behavior is not obviously influenced or determined by the kind of information detail in store at the brain/mind but also due to factors outside the mind. These factors may include expectations, beliefs, observations and general view of persons. Punishment and reinforcement brings about formation of expectations followed by an effort to meet the expectations. The effort (action) and the outcome (result) are interconnected in such a way that one leads to another. Personality is dynamic and often entails a person’s comprehensive growth in a psychological context and setting. This will be influenced by other inherent factors of environment, heredity and several unique situations that determine a person’s total orientation as growth develops from childhood to adulthood. The perspective taking stage is modeled around the understanding that one will take on the perspectives of the people around, what they do and how they do it. Progressively, the perspectives change to reflect individuality where different people in the same environment can portray separate perspectives but with general relationships due to the influence of their environment (Grain, 1985).

The five year old child is in the egocentric role taking stage where perspectives of each other are rare in children. This perhaps explains why the child does not have a friend and instead plays with the doll. She seems to understand her feelings very well and this is why she is able to recognize several things but from her own view point as opposed to others’ perspectives. Further expression of this is demonstrated in the case of running to the gym with friends where she would prefer to swing before her friend.  The actions she takes, her likes and dislikes are highly shaped by the fundamental characteristics and features of this age. Children are good at understanding personal feelings with no capability to take note or recognize the interpretation that may be taken by others in the same condition or environment. Different social actions will make more personalized meaning with no trace of what others will take of the same. Others may do the same things differently in most occasions.
The action of Jimmy reflects an important stage in the developmental phases where children will conform to society’s activities and considerations of the system. Jimmy looks at the friendly puppy from the point of view of the puppy and what it goes though: poor care, no food, hit and kicked all over to a point of drawing sympathy from Jimmy. He understands the circumstances of the puppy from a societal perspective which is represented by the puppy’s desperate condition.  This is why it is possible to interpret and understand what the puppy needs most urgently which is food and some good care. This happens at around the age of 12-15 where they understand the views of the society through the realization that society is a kind of a system that needs their full integration. They understand that in this system, there must be a sense of shared views and no one can make with application of own view alone and thus the need for blending appropriately. Therefore the decision to take care of the puppy is absolutely right since he is doing this for all the good intentions. His reasons are well intentioned as reflected by his action. Animals are part of society and neglecting them is totally unfair under any circumstances. The social tenets affirm that all living things including animals are our friends and must be accorded the best care and love. Jimmy has taken the best step in considering not to be mean to animals and the responsibility he assumes reflects in entirety the characteristics associated with this stage in development.

Since Linda is a new child in the neighborhood, she needs some good welcoming and this can only happen if the other children in the same neighborhood can understand her feelings by coming to help her feel at home. Therefore the best thing for Keisha to do is definitely to accompany Linda to the circus and give her that much needed company. This will be informed by the fact that if she refuses to accompany her to the event on Saturday, Linda is most likely to feel bad, unwelcome and unwanted in her new place of stay. This can affect her long term stay and may lead to her developing fear towards the other children in this neighborhood. However, this will not have to be at the expense of Susan through rejection of the plan to spend the Saturday together playing with toys and watching videos. What Keisha will need to do appropriately is to explain the whole situation to her long term friend in such a way that she will equally understand the situation of the new kid who may soon become her friend as well through Keisha. In fact, after interpreting the situation as it is, Susan may also decide to accompany the other two to the circus since they are of the same age and blending may not be a problem at all given the dynamism of children. This is the perspective taking stage where the children learn to look at things from the perspective of others and make decisions based on others’ feelings as opposed to their own.

The stages displayed by the children under the different circumstances are real depictions of what a normal human being goes through in the process of developing from  one stage to another until a full grown up comes of age. If any of these stages is bypassed due to one reason or another, the child will have difficulties later in life. Every stage reflects a level of sequences that strengthen the brain, character and ultimate discipline and responsibility of a human being. In the self reflective taking role for example, children begin to recognize that other people examine their actions from which they develop different views that can be valid to some extent but maybe not always. The only limitation in this line is that they are not capable of having reflections from their personal perspectives.

Parents Role In Child Development

Parents have been overtaken by systematic economic progressive events that have in turn liberated the 18th, 19th and 20th century woman out of the kitchen. Consequently, a woman who was supposed to stay indoors and take care of domestic chores is today struggling in the wider economic substance of the family in order to keep the today expensive family life intact and affordable. Children have in turn become the victims of the today economic develops that have robbed infants of parental care, presence and love. In general children have been left to the guardians and childcare agencies that direct impact a specific risk taking culture that is rather dull in the children raised by both parents. On the contrary, children raise by parents seem to perform better in socio-economic life since they are well nurtured and motivated for success unlike their counterparts raised by baby care institutions (Henderson, 2010).

The best performing individuals in the society come from the excellently nurtured and family motivated individuals. Therefore parental employment that thus separates the children from the tender care of parental love that is fundamental in the development of society. A study suggests that the best performing and academic oriented day care facilities have an ability to transform the future society. Parents play a critical behavioral and academic achievement role in their children especially in homework, direction out of a life experience dilemma and as a result the eventual society is usually quite informed, frank, and brilliant with solutions unlike in day care facilities whereby children are exposed to similar `and linear solutions (Henderson, 2010). On the other hand, though some critic claim that children raised in day care centers have the nerve face life challenges, the collective existence of lack of parental care soon fades the bravery and thus if the wrong form of education, culture and care is provided the society is lost into oblivion about parent role in eliminating behavioral challenges and crime that can be traced back to early social interactions.

In conclusion, parental employment robs the children of their right to family love, warmth and direction that is above all most trustworthy form of life direction. In the absence of parental guidance during life development children are lost into education as the only source of freedom whereas naturally all being are born intelligent.

In conclusion, the theories on development give a deep insight into the highly detailed process of child development by illustrating the necessary stages which are very crucial in everyone’s life. Depending on how well they are natured through environmental contact in addition to other internal and external factors, they go a long way in defining the overall behavior and orientation of a person for the rest of life. It is important for all parents to be aware of these stages in understanding so that when they see their children behaving in certain ways; they can always have a feeling of what stage of development that behavior represents. Such knowledge prevents the common mistakes that can be committed by parents and care takers which certainly contribute to weaknesses in children. Overall, the stages are exclusively crucial, natural and applicable to every child.

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