Theories Of Child Development: Know About the Whole Stages
Development is defined as a pattern of change that begins at conception and continues through the lifespan. Development involves both growth and decline. According to the life span perspective, development is lifelong, plastic in nature, multi-dimensional, multi-directional, multi-disciplinary, maintenance, growth and regulation of loss. The theories of child development focus on the development of children over the course of development. The development is in all three dimensions; i.e; socio-emotional, cognitive and biological dimensions. There are various theories on child development that have been developed on child development however some are major theories and hold a lot of applicability in today’s time also and there are theories that are mini in nature or have lost their applicability in today's world.
Theories Of Child Development
a) Psychoanalytic Theory
The psychoanalytic theory describes development as primarily unconscious and heavily coloured by emotions. Psychoanalytic theorists emphasize that behaviour is merely a surface characteristic and that a true understanding of development requires analyzing the symbolic meaning of behaviour and the deep inner workings of the mind. Psychoanalytic theorists also stress that early experiences with parents extensively shape one’s development.
b) Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory
According to this theory, personality is mostly constructed by the age of five. Each stage of development is marked by conflicts that can help build growth or stifle development, depending upon how they are resolved. If these psychosexual stages are completed successfully a healthy personality is developed as a result.
The failure in resolving issues can cause fixations. And if the issue is not resolved the individual will remain at that stage no matter what.
The five stages of psychosexual development are:
1. Oral Stage: At this stage, the main area of focus for the child for pleasure is the mouth. This stage ranges from birth to one and a half years.
2. Anal Stage: At this, the centre of the child’s focus is on the anus. This stage ranges from one and a half years to three years.
3. Phallic Stage: The focus of child pleasure is on the genitals. The range of this stage ranges from three to six years.
4. Latency Stage: At this stage child represses sexual interests and develops social and intellectual skills. The range of this stage is from six years to puberty.
5. Genital Stage: This stage represents the time of sexual reawakening and the source of sexual pleasure becomes someone outside the family. This stage starts from puberty onwards.
c) Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory
Like Sigmund Freud, Erikson also used to believe that personality develops in a series of stages. Erikson developed a series of social experiences across the whole lifespan. The theory follows the epigenetic principle. According to this principle, people grow in a sequence that occurs over time and in the context of a larger community. According to Erikson, there is a turning point that occurs due to a conflict. And Erikson used to believe that these conflicts either developed a psychological quality or failed to develop that quality. During these times the potential for personal growth and failure is high.
The stages are being discussed below:
Trust vs Mistrust
At this stage the process of developing trust takes place. If at this stage the child gets love and protection from someone then their tendency to trust develops. Mistrust is taught by the process of socialization, it is taught so that one doesn't get cheated.
Age: Birth to 18 months
Important event: Feeding
Outcome: Development of hope
Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt
Humans have free will and we do things that make us feel free. If one keeps scolding the child then doubt and shame will develop and the confidence will get low. However, if trust and care, and support are given for various activities including mischievous activities then it develops confidence.
Age: 2 to 3 years
Important Events: Toilet Training
Outcome: Development of will
Initiative vs Guilt
If given free will then the child will be more initiative and will try to take part in various activities that they don't even know about. However, if shame and doubt are developed in earlier stages then they will convert to guilt in later stages.
Age: 3 to 5 years
Important Events: Exploration of the environment
Outcome: Development of feeling of purpose
Industry vs inferiority
If earlier stages have ended on a positive note then the child will be industrious, and laborious, will gain achievements, learn new things, explore skills, etc.
Age: 6 to 11 years
Important Events: School
Outcome: Formation of high self-confidence
Identity vs Role Confusion
If the child is industrious then his/her confidence and self-identity will develop. Identity confusion includes confusion and doubts about oneself and one’s capabilities, abilities etc.
Age: 12 to 18 years
Important Events: Social relationships with others
Outcome: Development of values like fidelity
Intimacy vs Isolation
In this stage, isolation occurs when we did not form any social group, or friends due to hesitation and this hesitation occurs due to improper development in the previous stages of development.
Age: 19 to 40 years
Important Events: Meaningful relationships with others
Outcome: Development of feeling of love for others
Generativity vs Stagnation
If the person is industrious, knowledgeable, and has a good self-identity then he/she shall be more general towards the next generation. In stagnation, a person is not able to enhance, guide, and develop one’s family.
Age: 40 to 65 years
Important Events: Management of work and parenthood
Outcome: Care for the loved ones
Ego Integrity vs Despair
Despair occurs when the old ones become preoccupied with past experiences. And ego integrity occurs when one thinks that their life has been well spent and this is accomplished by introspection and reminiscing.
Age: 65 to death
Important Events: Reflection on one’s life
The cognitive theory is based on the development of human intelligence. The central concept of the theory is that children develop their own knowledge and cognition through exploring.
a) Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory
Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development suggests that children move through four stages of learning. The theory not only focuses on understanding how children acquire knowledge but also on understanding the nature of intelligence.
1. The Sensorimotor Stage
Age: Birth to two years
During the earliest stage of development, infants and toddlers acquire knowledge through sensory experiences and manipulating objects. At this stage, the child's entire experience occurs because of the reflexes.
2. The Preoperational Stage
Age: Two to Seven Years
During this stage, the child begins to represent the world with words and images. These words and images reflect increased symbolic thinking in the child.
3. The Concrete Operational Stage
Age: Seven to Eleven Years
While children are very concrete and literal in their thinking at this point in development they become much more adept at using logic. They can now reason logically about concrete events and classify objects into different sets. The egocentrism of the previous stage begins to fade at this stage and disappears as now the child becomes better at thinking about how other people around would look over the situation.
4. The Formal Operational Stage
Age: Twelve to Up
The Final stage of Piaget's theory involves an increment in logical reasoning and understanding of abstract ideas. At this point, adolescents and young adults become capable of seeing multiple potential solutions for problems and thinking more scientifically about the world around them.
b) Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Cognitive Theory
Vygotsky contended that children are born with basic biological constraints on their minds.
The theory emphasizes how culture and social interactions guide cognitive development. An important concept in sociocultural theory is known as the zone of proximal development, according to which the distance between the actual development level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined by problem-solving under the guidance of someone who is more knowledgeable.
In short those knowledge and skills that the child doesn't have yet but can learn if given proper guidance. As children are allowed to stretch their skills and knowledge, often by observing someone who is slightly more advanced than they are, they are capable of progressively extending this zone.
Behavioural and Social Cognitive Theories
According to this development is an observable behaviour that can be learned through experience with the environment. According to this theory, development is a continuous process and does not occur in a stage-like manner.
1. Skinner’s Operant Conditioning: According to B.F Skinner through operant conditioning the consequences of behaviour produce changes in the probability of the behaviour’s occurrence. In behaviour in which the child gets rewarded the chances are much that the child is likely to again do that behaviour however if the child gets punished for the particular behaviour then the chance of occurrence of behaviour decreases much.
And these rewards and punishments shape development.
2. Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory: According to this behaviour, environment and cognition are the key factors in development. And people acquire a wide range of behaviour, thoughts and feelings through observing others' behaviour and these observations play a central role in lifespan development.
In conclusion, we can state that the study of child development is important as it helps us to understand how actually the child’s socio-emotional, cognitive and biological development is taking place throughout the lifespan. And no theory is able to fully explain the nature of child development and every theory gives information about different aspects of child development we cannot rely on one theory to understand all the aspects of development. Hence instead of following any one approach, we should select the most important features from each of the approaches and thus follow an electrical approach. And apart from the already developed theories, we require more theories on this topic so as to get more new ideas and understanding about child development.
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