Child Development

A comprehension of child development is very important since it allows us to comprehend emotional, cognitive, social and physical growth in children and how they go though these stages from their childhood to their early childhood. Theories that are referred to as grand theories which explain child development have been employed due to the approach they employ. They look at each stage and try to describe it. By learning about psychological development I have understood the various things that though little attention is accorded to them mean a lot in an individual's life. Developmental psychology explains why it is important to pass through a specific stage and enjoy it fully in order to avoid fixation in future. The pyschlogical theories assert that there is no single stage in life that can be skipped; however, if it is skipped, a person will have to come back to it at a later time, this is what is referred to as being fixated.

In relation to what Sigmund Freud studied, personality is asserted to be developed by an individual by the time this person reaches five years old. The experiences undergone by a person at this early age have a lot to do with the type of person this individual will become in future and the type of behavior that the person will exhibit. The theory by Freud in relation to psychosexual analysis is considered to as one of the most essential ones though controversial. Freud notes that personality develops in stages from childhood as the pleasure seeking forces that are composed of the id pay a lot of attention to erogenous points and areas. The pleasure seeking energy (libido) is considered as the driving force for behaviors.

As Freud notes, these stages are supposed to be completed fully and successfully so as to lead a personality that is health. Lack of resolving some of the stages appropriately will lead to fixation and until the conflict is fixed, a person will remain stuck in the stage. The stages that Freud came up with are the oral, anal, phallic, and latent and the genital stage. If I am to place myself into one of these stages, I will appropriately fit into the genital stage. The genital stage is the stage between puberty to death. This is Freud's final stage of psychosexual development and this is when a person develops a very strong attraction to the person of the opposite sex. This stage dawns in puberty stage and may last throughout a person's life. In the earlier stages, the focus is solely focused in a person's needs and interests. However, as a person grows and develops, the interest on other people's welfare and needs develops and grows. This stages relies heavily on the other stages, if the other stages were completed successfully, the person becomes very balanced and at an equilibrium. The person is warm, charming and very caring. The goal behind this stage is to develop a balance between the other areas of life.

On the other hand, Erik Erikson comes up with another theory to explain how development takes place in a person. Just like Sigmund, Erikson had a strong believe that personality takes places and develops in stages. However, unlike Freud's theory, Erikson's personality theory stresses the impact that social experiences have on a person's life. A core element in Erikson's theory is developing an ego. Ego is regarded as the conscious part of an individual that is developed through interactions. According to Erikson, a person's ego will keep on changing as the person comes across new information and experiences due to the constant interaction that the individual has with others.

Erikson asserted that an individual's level of competence determined by the daily interactions exercised will define ones personality i.e. it motivates actions and behaviors. Each of Erikson's stages is related to becoming more competent in life. A poor management of any of the stages results to inadequacy in the person. Erikson's stages of development from the first to the last are trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame and doubt, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority, identity vs. confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation.

The last stage is integrity vs. despair. I comfortably fit in the sixth stage which is the stage of intimacy and isolation. This stage occurs in early adulthood where people are exploring relationships. According to Erikson, it is important for people to become close and be committed in relationships with other individuals. Those who succeed in this stage will often come up with relationships that are strong, committed and safe. It is also of essence to know that each of the Erikson's stages of development rely heavily on the skills that have been learnt in the previous stage. For one to be successful in this stage, it is important for one to identify himself or herself.

Born in Switzerland, jean Piaget was to develop an interest in studying children's intelligence. By basing his arguments on the observations that he had made, he concluded that children had the same level of intelligence as the one possessed by adults. The theory that he presented lays emphasis on the cognitive development of children and the abilities they had. According to Piaget, early development cognitively consisted of processes that relied highly on actions which were later to be transformed by mental operations. Piaget's concepts were made up of Schemas, assimilation, accommodation and equilibration.

In relation to Piaget's stages of cognitive development, it is indisputable that I can belong to the formal operation stage. This is as stage that starts at the age of twelve and progresses to adulthood. In this stage, the ability of thinking in abstract terms develops in individuals. It is at this stage that skills such as logical thinking, systematic planning and deductive reasoning come into force and develops. According to Piaget, deductive reasoning will be considered essential in the formal stage since it asks for an ability of using general principles to forecast a specific result.

Kohlberg came up with six stages that can be employed in studying moral development. The six stages are grouped into three classes. The first class is composed of premoral or the pre-convetional stage. In this level it is asserted that moral values are found externally, in bad actions and in quasi physical events. The child is said to be responsive to set rules and evaluate the labels that have been set. However, the child views and classifies them in terms of either pleasant r unpleasant repercussions of their actions. Similarly, the children can view them in relation tot eh powers those who have imposed them have.

The second level is the role conformity or conventional. In this, level, moral values are asserted to reside in carrying out the right chores and roles so as to maintain the conventional expectancies ort order or others. The last level is the postconventional or the self accepted moral principles. Morals are defined in them conforming to accepted or set rights and standards not only in supporting the set authority. I categorically fit into the fourth stage, authority and social order maintaining orientation stage. In this stage one is after doing well and respecting the set authority for the good of oneself and others.

B. F Skinner's theory asserts that learning is based on a change of a behavior that can be said to be overt. According to Skinner, reinforcement is considered as the key concept. To this theorist, he defined a reinforcer as anything that is capable of strengthening a response that is desired. A reinforce can be anything like verbal praise, good grades or a feeling of increased satisfaction or accomplishment.

We also have punishers in operant conditioning. These are responses that originate from the environment and which lead to a reduction or a decrease in the likelihood of repeating a behavior. In addition, we have neutral operant. These are responses originating from the environment and neither increases nor decreases a behavior's probability of being repeated. According to skinner, reinforcers are employed to strengthen behaviors. We have two types of reinforcements, positive and negative reinforcements. Positive reinforcements can be employed in encouraging good manners among children.

For instance, if a child is rewarded for behaving well e.g. given a dollar, the likelihood of the child repeating the same behavior tomorrow is high, this strengthens behavior. Negative reinforcements involve the removal of stimulants that are unpleasant. This removal of an unpleasant stimulus becomes rewarding to the individual. For instance, if the teacher says that any child pays him a dollar if they do not complete their homework can be considered as a negative reinforcement.

Punishments weaken behaviors. Punishments are considered to be the opposite of reinforcements and they are structured to eliminate or weaken responses instead of increasing them. Children who are punished due to their bad manners will learn to shun away from the behaviors if that will reduce the punishment. By employing the reinforcements and the punishments on the children, they will be molded to exhibit good behaviors and behave in ways that are considered acceptable. The use of these stimuli helps in molding the children.