Child and Adolescent Development

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Child and Adolescent development covers a span of roughly thirteen years, eighteen if infancy and toddler stages are included. Through these eighteen years, children grow and develop in a myriad of ways. As talked about previously, there are several theories of child and adolescent development. Each suggests that children develop in a similar way, yet each also stresses that different parts of development are of primary importance. What, then, are the primary criteria for children to develop successfully?

Successful emotional and cognitive development is commonly believed to be two separate processes. Yet, according to a study by Martha Ann Bell and Christy D. Wolfe, emotional and cognitive behaviors and developments are linked and act upon each other an with each other to process ideas and information, and to act (2004, 1). For children to develop successfully then, both processes must be taken into consideration. A child who is emotionally delayed will not be able to excel cognitively, and vise-versa.

For children to develop, they need to be offered an environment in which they feel safe and protected, able to explore both their own feelings and their actions. This environment also must be cognitively and physically stimulating, offering new and unique concepts while maintaining familiarity. Finally, this environment must allow the child to see and be a part of society and experience societal norms. Without this key piece, the child will be unable to successfully function in their own society.

Societal expectations and norms play a major role in child development. Vygotsky presents social learning theory, as does Bandura. Vygotsky suggests that children develop and experience society in zones, and how those zones interrelate affects the child's development. Bandura, similarly, suggests that children learn behaviors and concepts through interaction with society, and that the behaviors they learn influence how they think and what they believe. Piaget,...
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