Essay, Research Paper: Child Development


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The articles The Amazing Power of Baby Love and A Year to Cheer (written by Dr.
Stanley Greenspan and Emily Abedon, respectively) advocate intense coexistence
between the child and the caregiver. These articles (taken from parenting
magazine) are, in essence, guidelines to be used by the parents or caregiver to
ensure proper development of their child up to the second year. The article also
educates the reader that every child develops at their own pace, and there is no
exact time table that one can easily look at to see how well their child is
doing. Either way the two articles overly support deep mutual interaction
between both the child and the caregiver. Stanley Greenspan’s The Amazing
Power of Baby Love teaches that simple gestures and interactions help babies
develop intelligence, language and character. It states that at 2 to 4 months
(notice the allowance of time Greenspan gives) the child becomes more involved
with the caregiver. Notice the correlation between the authors statement and
Ainsworth’s Stages of Attachment (p463-465): Birth through 2 months-
indiscriminate social responsiveness- “at first, babies do not focus their
attention exclusively on their mothers and will at times respond positively to
anyone.” 2 months through 7 months- discriminate social response- “During
the second phase, infants become more interested in the caregiver and the other
familiar people and direct their social responses to them.” From birth to
approximately 2 months the infants is does not really who cares who handles
them. Afterwards, from 2 through seven months the child develops into the next
stage. Once the child is in the second stage of Ainsworth’s theory Greenspan
insinuates that the child is intelligent enough to distinguish differences
between people: “your child seems to be more intensely involved with you. She
may look longingly into your eyes...or wiggle in anticipation when she hears you
approaching.” By 5 months the child the child should have their own ways of
expressing affection: -Responding to facial expressions -Initiating interactions
-Making sounds or moving in rhythm with motions of your own -Relaxing when being
held -Cooing when attention is given -Looking at face as if studying it -Looking
uneasy/ sad when you move away The last in the list above relate to stage three
of Ainsworth’s stage theory, focused attachment. The child suffers from
separation anxiety, or fear that the caregiver will leave and never return. This
action can relate to Piaget’s thoughts of object permanence, because the child
fears or believes that once an object is out of sight it is gone for good. By
definition: Object Permanence- The knowledge that objects have a permanent
existence that is independent of our perceptual contact with them. In Piaget’s
theory object permanence is a major achievement of the sensorimotor period.
Greenspan then begins to talk about the beginning of communication. He states
that children really do have a comprehension of language before they say their
first words. Gestures instead take place of verbal communication. At first
gestures are purposeful for requests and referential communication, later for
functioning as symbols to label objects, events and characteristics. When the
caregiver responds to the child the following interaction supposedly helps boost
the child’s self esteem. More importantly, the child learns about others
moods, and in turn learn the ability to react to them. By responding to a baby
they learn that their actions have an observable impact on their environment.
Two-way conversations also make the child more empathetic. Once they see that
they have an impact on the caregiver they see that person as an individual, some
one separate from themselves. In the end Greenspan emphasizes again that
children develop at their own pace. On top of that, they have their own response
to a stimulus. Just because the react a way that a caregiver was expecting does
not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong. When interacting with a child
one should study how the child reacts, and then do what the child seemed to
enjoy to “bring the most pleasure,” that should not be too obvious. Finally
Greenspan suggests the following: -Talk in babble, using high to low pitches
-Use a variety of faces while babbling -Massage the baby, telling them what your
doing -Move the babies arms and legs while talking and looking at them -Do not
exhaust the baby, stop when signs of fatigue/overstimulation arise Emily
Abedon’s A Year to Cheer discusses the development of a child from 12 through
24 months. The most important thing again is that Abedon emphasizes children
develop at their own pace, and parents should not keep checking to see if their
child is “lagging behind.” She gives the example of the two 15 month old
where one is running and the other can just barely walk. Both of these
situations are “perfectly normal.” Parents really are not to blame for there
child development. The ability to walk is a combination of many different
aspects; from muscle tone, coordination, the ability to stand independently, and
in general, the need/want to walk. All of these have to develop before the child
can walk. These physiological necessities grow at independently of one another,
including the brain. The rest of the essay is a list of the basic breakthroughs
a caregiver can expect to see for 12 to 24 months. The first thing Abedon brings
up is about language. At the first year the child generally knows one or two
words, but the important part is they understand dozens more. For example, if
you ask a child for their teddy bear they will be able to give it to you, even
though they do not say the words. As the year goes on the child starts making
“protowords”, words that link sound and meaning. The textbook states that
even though this is a pretty significant parents really do not take too much
consideration to these “word” (p. 408.) Abedon then goes on to talk about
the naming explosion. Typically this occurs between 18 through 21 months of age.
In this period the child goes from knowing a few words to identifying
practically everything. In some cases the child may learn 50 words a week. At 24
months the child usually speak short sentences, speak politely, and know up 350
words. The babies first words are generally items of everyday use and necessity.
Some scientists seem to believe that the emergence of the naming explosion is
because of the child’s new ability of categorize objects. Although Abedon
really does not talk about the physical aspects of development she does talk
about the dangers of this period: “not only will your child be capable of more
sophisticated and dangerous feats, he’ll also be much more likely to pursue
them (p210).” This period is also a transition from babies imitating others to
learning and expecting things from them. They also have the ability to react to
other’s emotions, “most can understand a wide variety of facial expressions
and gestures.” Another example of this is the one mother acting sad just to
get a hug from her son. As they continue growing they become more explorative,
relating cause to effect and generally becoming “little scientists.” Finally
the author sets a limit on what would be in the range of normal development. By
the second birthday the child should not show any of the following symptoms (if
they are present a pediatrician should be seen): Physical- Cannot walk
unassisted, push a wheeled toy, or kick a ball. Cognitive- Does not follow
simple instructions or imitate simple behaviors, and cannot stack at least 4
blocks. Linguistic- Does not speak 2 word sentences, speaks fewer than 50 words.
Social- Unresponsive to stimulation to people/playthings. Does not play games
like peekabo or pat-a-cake. Generally speaking these two articles are very basic
in their techniques and explanations. They emphasize intense interaction to
enforce the baby’s development, but caution overstimulating the baby. Also,
and probably the most important thing that is to be learned from these articles,
children develop differently and at their own pace. Just because one baby is
walking and the other is crawling does not mean the one crawling is abnormal,
it’s just taking its time. Note: These articles are not the best to write on,
but they are the only two that had some sort of information that were on the
same subject.
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