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• The developmental changes that occur from birth to adulthood were largely ignored throughout much of history. • Children were often viewed simply as small versions of adults and little attention was paid to the many advances in cognitive abilities, language usage, and physical growth. Interest in the field of child development began early in the 20 th-century and tended to focus on abnormal behavior. The following are just a few of the many theories of child development that have been proposed by theorists and researchers. More recent theories outline the developmental stages of children and identify the typical ages at which these growth milestones occur.
Child development theories Psychoanalytic theories Sigmund Freud Erikson Cognitive theories Jean piaget Social development theories Bowlby Behavioral theories Pavlov
Psychoanalytic Theories • Sigmund Freud The theories proposed by Sigmund Freud stressed the importance of childhood events and experiences, but almost exclusively focus on mental disorders rather than normal functioning. According to Freud, child development is described as a series of 'psychosexual stages. ' In "Three Essays on Sexuality" (1915), Freud outlined these stages as oral, anal, , latency period, and genital. Each stage involves the satisfaction of a specific desire and can later play a role in adult personality.
• Erikson Theorist Erikson also proposed a stage theory of development, but his theory encompassed development throughout the human lifespan. • Erikson believed that each stage of development is focused on overcoming a conflict. Success or failure in dealing with conflicts can impact overall functioning. .
Behavioral Theories • Behavioral theories of development focus on how environmental interaction influences behavior and are based upon theories of theorists such as Watson , Pavlov, and Skinner. • These theories deal only with observable behaviors. Development is considered a reaction to rewards, punishments, stimuli, and reinforcement.
Social Development Theories • There is a great deal of research on the social development of children. • John Bowbly proposed one of the earliest theories of social development. Bowlby believed that early relationships with caregivers play a major role in child development and continue to influence social relationships throughout life.
• Theorist Jean Piaget (1952) suggested that children think differently than adults and proposed a stage theory of cognitive development. He was the first to note that children play an active role in gaining knowledge of the world.
Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development § Jean Piaget believed that children go through a number of fixed stages on their way to independent thinking. § His theory on cognitive development, though, is perhaps the most widely accepted and most cited. • Piaget believed that all children will go through the following stages in order, the age ranges are only a general guideline. • It is important to keep in mind that each child is an individual person with a slightly different pattern and pace of skill development. • Individual children may develop skills before or after the suggested period. • Each child matures in his own time, and even siblings don't do the same things at exactly the same age.
Stages of Cognitive Development Sensory Motor Preoperational Stage Birth To 2 Years 2 – 7 Years Concrete Operational Stage Formal Operational Stage 7 – 11 years 11 – and Beyond
Sensory Motor Stage Birth to 2 Years • • An enormous amount of growth and development takes place in the first two years of life. During that time span, children go from being completely helpless to walking, talking, and to a degree, being able to make sense of the world around them. One of the most important milestones that children achieve in their first few years, according to Piaget, is their mastery of "object permanency, " or the ability to understand that even when a person or object is removed from their line of sight, it still exists. Early on, children are only able to perceive things that are right in front of them, but as they mature, they understand that if a ball rolls under a chair and they can no longer see it, it still exists, under the chair. This is an especially important understanding for children, helping them to have an increased sense of safety and security since they can now grasp the fact that when mum leaves the room, she hasn't disappeared, but will soon return.
Preoperational Stage 2 -7 Years • Once object permanency is achieved, children move onto this next stage, which is marked by a number of advancements. • Language skills develop rapidly, allowing kids to better express themselves. • Also, children in the preoperational stage are egocentric, meaning that they believe that everyone sees the world the way that they do, leaving no room for the perspectives of others. For example, a child will sometimes cover their eyes so that they cannot see someone and make the assumption that the other person now cannot see them, either.
• A major indicator of this stage is called conservation, or the ability to understand that quantity does not change just because shape changes. • For example, if you were to pour the same quantity of liquid into two separate glasses, one short and wide and the other tall and thin, younger children would insist that the taller glass holds more. • Children who have mastered the concept of conservation would be able to understand that the quantities are identical. • Piaget explained that the child's inability to yet grasp the concept is due to their (centration), capacity to focus on only one aspect of a problem at a time their tendency to take things at face value (appearance), and the fact that they see something only in its current condition (state). • They cannot yet understand that the wider with of the short glass compensates for the height of the taller one.
Concrete Operations Stage 7 to 11 Years • During the concrete operations stage, the centristic thought process is gradually replaced by the ability to consider a number of factors simultaneously, giving them the ability to solve increasingly complex problems. • Also, kids at this stage can now understand how to group like objects, even if they are not identical. For example, they are able to see that apples, oranges, cherries, and bananas are all types of fruit; even they are not exactly the same.
• Another important developmental advancement that occurs during this phase is seriation, the ability to place things in order according to size. • Children who have a mastery of this concept are able to take jars of varying heights and place them in order, tallest to shortest. • They still have some distinct limitations to their thinking process, however, especially when it comes to applying concepts that they are unfamiliar with. • While their understanding of the things that they have direct access to is strong, kids at this age still have a tendency to lack understanding of things that they haven't personally seen, touched, heard, tasted, or smelled.
Formal Operations Stage 11 and Beyond • In the final phase of cognitive development, children hold a much broader understanding of the world around them and are able to think in abstract ways. • They are also able to hypothesise possible outcomes to a given problem and then think of ways in which to test their theories. • Children in the formal operations stage learn to use deductive reasoning to draw conclusions, which opens them up to a wider base of knowledge than ever before. • An example might be as follows: A bear is a mammal. All mammals have fur. Therefore, a bear has fur.