Psychological Perspectives of Understanding the Development of a Child’s Behavior

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Introduction
This booklet will introduce you to the main psychological perspectives to the understanding of a child’s behaviour development. Each perspective will be described in as much detail as possible, and the theorist that are linked to them. The main perspectives are; * Psychodynamic

* Freud
* Behaviourist
* Skinner
* Cognitive
* Piget
* Humanist
* Rogers, Maslow, Cooley and mead
* Social learning

The psychodynamic perspective
This perspective is very much based on the early work of Sigmund Freud. It is believed that behaviour is made from a child’s subconscious feelings, which all come from life experiences. It is viewed as a child’s problem as an outward and visible symptom of invisible conflicts. All the conflicts may come from trauma, loss, or from a strained/troubled relationship with parents or carers. Children do not have any inner resources that help them understand their feelings completely so they may be shown in inappropriate and difficult behaviour. Sigmund Freud said that “when a child’s too painful or too difficult feelings are left untalked about, they leak out in difficult and challenging behaviour or in neurotic symptoms.” The source of a painful feeling is buried under a defensive mechanism that is very hard to find in a child; because of this most children do not understand why they are behaving this way. A psychodynamic assessments are always carried out by psychiatrist as they use techniques that are designed to provide an insight into their past. To do this they use the response of the child to make inferences about sub-conscious motives for behaviour. Once they have understood the child’s behaviour the psychologists will start an intervention which will help the child express their feelings instead of it coming through their behaviour. These can be done through the following; * Build a supportive relationship with a significant adult * Help the child to talk about what they are feeling in an secure environment * Express painful feeling through drama, storytelling, play or cartoons The behaviourist perspective

This perspective is based from the work Skinner. It was said “Law of Effect” is the behaviour that leads to strengthened behaviour which is ignored or unsatisfying which is all weakened. Behaviourists claim that all behaviour of children are learned and can be changed by systems, such as rewards or punishment. There are two types of rewards behaviourists use, these are informal and formal. * Informal – acknowledgement or praise

* Formal – clear targets for example stickers, tokens or points which all then lead to bigger rewards. The behaviourists also claimed that the behaviour requires a scientific approach which is completely based on objectivity and experimentation. The methods they were use were considered to be unscientific, so instead it was all placed on observations on their behaviour rather than a searches for the cause of the behaviour through the child’s past. Behavioural assessments in schools involve observation and recording of a child’s behaviour. When they are observing it is all taken down on an observation checklist, which includes the following titles; * Antecedent

* Behaviour
* Consequences
All this is then used to form a baseline for a post-intervention can be assessed.

The Cognitive perspective
This perspective shows how a child’s develops understanding what is around them. This refers to different mental activities such as; * Listening
* Speaking
* Learning
* Understanding
All the theories of cognitive development concentrate on developments of their intellectual skills. All the skills that we have are the ones that have been learnt through cognitive development. If none of the children have cognitive skills then they wouldn’t be able to put past experiences or plan future events, cognitive development is very much concerned with how the...
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