Theories of Child Development

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Theories of Child Development

1. Three Major Stages in Freud’s Psychosexual Theory
a. Oral Stage
b. Phallic
c. Genital Stage
2. Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory in association with child development a. Stages 1 and 2
b. Stages 3 and 4
3. Piaget’s Cognitive –Stage Theory
a. Sensorimotor Stage
b. Preoperational Stage
c. Concrete Operations Stage
4. Points of Similarity
a. Similarities
b. Differences
5. Why is understanding child development important?
a. Why is Freud’s theory important?
b. Why is Erikson’s theory important?
c. Why is Piaget’s Theory Important?

6. Conclusion

Theories of Child Development
Domingo J. Muniz
PSY104 Child and Adolescent Development
Steven DeWiggins
22 March 2010

Throughout the years many scientists, and experts alike have drawn certain conclusions about what is right and what is wrong in child development. I am no expert, but I believe that in order to have the best chance at raising a confident, dedicated, and socially accepted child theories of child development must be understood.

According to Sigmund Freud the first five or six years of a child’s life are crucial for personality development. Throughout these years Freud believed a series of stages driven by subconscious need for pleasure occur in what is known as the Psychosexual Theory of Development. We will take a more in depth look at three major stages, and their “theoried” effects on child development. Shortly after a human child is born, it begins its journey through the first stage called the Oral stage. In this stage the infants primary purpose and interaction occurs through the mouth. The infant attains the oral stimulation from activities such as tasting and sucking. This tasting and sucking is provided to the infant via his adult guardians, in many cases the childs parents. Through this stage the infant develops a bond, and becomes comforted from the stimulation. The baby no longer hungers, so the child trusts that his need for oral stimulation will be met. However, there is also a negative process that may effect the childs future development. This process is called fixation, or the partial arrest of emotional or instinctual development. Freud believed that children who had problems with fixation have an increased chance of having drinkin, eating, smoking, or nail biting problems later on in life. Another stage of Freud’s theory is the Phallic stage. This stage is where a key event of development occurs in early childhood. This is where children tend to focus on the genital area, and begin to take note of the differences between boys, and girls. In ths stage boys develop the Oedipus complex. This means that the young boys view their fathers as a figure that takes the mothers affection., and the boys tend to want to replace the father and posess the mother for themselves. Soon enough the boy will begin the process of identification (Boyd, and Bee Adult Development) in which the boy begins to behave as his father does, in order to gain approval from the mother, and inadvertently gaining masculine features needed for life as a young man. Young girls experience the same feelings, in what is called the Electra complex. Like the boy, girls resolve these feeling by identifying with the same sex parent, in order to develop her feminine traits needed for life as a young woman. There are also negative effects that are a potential hazard to normal development. According to Freud, some problems related to the unresolved Oedipus or Electra complex could result in perversions such as seeking sexual encounters with members of their own gender. Succesful transitions through these stages lead up to the final stage of Frued’s Psychosexual Theory, which is the genital stage. During this final stage the individual develops a strong sexual interest in the opposite sex. Originally when the child was younger their sole focus was on their individual need, they are now...
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