Describe and explain the stages of children and young people development. Go through such areas as physical, intellectual, social, emotional, behavioural and moral development.
At the beginning, I would like to introduce the best-known theories of development, because it is useful to know how psychologists and scientists describe the stages of children and young people development. In developmental psychology, we have many types of theories. At the broadest level, we have three grand schemes: psychoanalytic theory, cognitive-developmental theory and learning theory – each designed to describe and explain the human development and human behaviour. The ‘father’ of psychoanalytic approach is Sigmund Freud. Freud believed that human personality has a structure and develops over time. He proposed three parts: the id – in which the libido (an instinctual sexual drive) is centered; the ego – a much more conscious element that serves as the executive of the personality; and the superego – the center of conscience and morality, incorporating the norms and moral structures of family and society. In Freud’s theory, these three parts are not all present at birth. The infant and toddler is all id, all instinct, without the influence of the ego or the superego. The ego begins to develop in the years from age 2 to about 4, as the child learns to adapt some individual behaviours. Finally, the superego begins to develop before school age, as the child incorporates the parents’ values and cultural traditions. Freud also proposed the stages of psychosexual development. In each stage the libido is invested in that part of the body that is the most sensitive at that age. In a newborn the mouth, lips and tongue are the most sensitive parts of the body. The stage is therefore called oral stage. As neurological development progresses, the infant develops more sensation in the anus (hence the anal stage), and later in the genitalia ( the phallic and eventually the genital stages). Optimum development, according to Freud, requires an environment that will satisfy the unique needs of each period. The baby needs sufficient opportunity for oral stimulation; the 4-year-old boy needs a father present with whom to identify. An inadequate early environment will leave unresolved problems and unmet needs, which are then carried to subsequent stages. Another famous psychologist Erik Erikson thought development resulted from the inter-action between inner instincts and outer cultural and social demands. He therefore labelled his developmental stages psychosocial stages rather than psychosexual stages. Erikson believed that development continued through the entire life span, as the child and then the adult developed a sense of ever-changing identity. In order to develop a complete, stable identity, the person must move through and successfully resolve eight “crises” or “dilemmas” over the course of the lifetime. Each dilemma or stage is defined by a pair of opposing possibilities, which should be developed by the human ego. When it comes to infants between the birth and 1-year-old babies, Erikson believed that the behaviour of the mother or the major caregiver is critical to the child’s establishment of a sense of basic trust. It is a key element in an early secure attachment. Those infants whose early care has been erratic or harsh may develop mistrust. Erikson saw the child’s greater mobility during the toddler years (2-3 years) as forming the basis for the sense of independence or autonomy. Child learns control but may develop shame or doubt if not handled properly. Some shame is needed for the child to understand which behaviours are acceptable and which are not. The 4- or 5-year-old child is able to plan a bit, to take initiative in reaching particular goals. With these new cognitive skills, the child attempts to conquer the world around him. The risk is that the child may go too far in his forcefulness or that the parents may...
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