Essay, Research Paper: Child Development

Psychology

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Babies grow and develop at a very rapid rate during the first year of life. They
grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. In this paper I will
discuss the physical growth and development patterns of an infant all the way
through adulthood. Development is the baby's increased skill in using various
body parts. When dealing with a development of a child there are three basic
development rules. First development rule: This rule says that babies develop in
the head region first, then the trunk, and lastly in the legs and feet. For
example, a baby can hold up their head before they can grasp an object with
their hand. Also they can feed themselves before they can walk. Second
development rule: The second development rule explains that children develop
from the mid line, or center of the body, outward toward the fingers and toes.
Third development rule: Finally, this rule reveals that, as the brain develops,
a child responds to more and more sights and sounds in their environment.
Furthermore, they learn to respond to much finer details. A general rule is that
a baby increases in height by 50% and triples its birth weight in the first
year. Clearly, this is a very rapid growth rate; however, the rate of growth
slows down after infancy. At three months, a baby is alert and responding to the
world. When put on their tummy, they can hold their chest and head up for ten
seconds. They try to swipe at toys hung over the crib. They turn their heads
toward an interesting sound or listen to voices. Babies love to stare at
people's faces. They coo and gurgle. At six months a baby is developing control
over its body. They can sit with support and may sit alone for short periods of
time. They can roll over. They will hold out their arms to be lifted up or reach
and grab an object. They can hold their own bottles and toys. They laugh out
loud, babbles, "calls" for help and screams when annoyed. At nine
months babies are exploring their environment. They can sit unassisted, crawl,
pull to a stand and sidestep along furniture. They can use their fingers to
point, poke, and grasp small objects. They feed themselves finger foods. Babies
know their names and respond to simple commands. She babbles a pattern as if she
were speaking a foreign language. At twelve months a baby is striving for
independence. They stand and may walk by themselves. They climb up and down
stairs and out of the crib or playpen. They prefer using one hand over the other
and can drop and throw toys. They fear strange people and places. They remember
events, expresses affection, shows emotion, uses trial and error to solve a
problem. Babies that aren't so healthy do not develop as fast or as much as
normal babies. For example, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a problem that is
increasing all across America. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the effect of pregnant
women drinking alcohol. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the leading cause of
retardation. It affects more than 8,000 babies in the U.S.A. every year. FAS is
100% preventable; however, because of their mother's decision to drink alcohol
during pregnancy, none of the thousands of affected babies had the chance to be
born normal. FAS birth effects include facial abnormalities, growth deficiency,
or brain damage. FAS children need guidance because they are easily distracted
and forgetful. FAS does not go away because brain damage and birth defects are
permanent. Mental retardation's permanent and irreversible, behavioral problems
are permanent. All of these problems associated with FAS and drug abuse are
permanent. Moving on past the infant stage and into the adolescence and puberty
stages, this is where children start becoming young adults and many new
developments begin to occur. This is also a time when youth start wanting their
independence and begin to challenge societal values in the form of rebellion,
act, and dress radically and form groups. These actions against the structure of
existing society promote the beginning of independence that reflect their own
rules, structures, class, gender, and ethnic groups. So, the youth culture, in
challenging society's values, at the same time is reflecting them. Expectations
of the children change as they get older. They know what is expected of them and
want to follow the rules; However, due to peer pressure and other issues, some
children will often break the rules. Many teenagers come from broken homes and
poor communities with little respect for authority. They rebel against what they
feel is an unjust society and look for a culture or group that they can identify
with. Often society stereotypes these groups as dangerous, deviant, and
delinquent. These groups, however, just show many of the valued structures of
society, but in a more radical way. They have a standard code of dress, values,
ethics, and rebel in order to force their ideas onto the public and to feel part
of a recognizable group. Although they feel they are expressing individuality
through these groups, they are actually fitting into different structures,
values, and in fact, a totally different society group. Over the centuries the
importance of the extended family has decreased considerable. At one time the
family included grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and it was more
important then the society in which it lived. The children were protected and
controlled from outer forces by this large family with strong religious,
cultural, and family ties. The longer the child is kept in a controlled state,
the more of the general cultural attitude it will absorb, and the less of a
disturbing element it will become. In recent years, families have become limited
to parents and their children. They have more material goods but lose out
socially and emotionally. From a young child, nursery schools or kindergarten
have taken over previous parental obligations. The schools do exercises, feeds
them, takes them out for walks, gives them a nap, teaches them to keep things
tidy, read, write, sing, and dance, etc It also teaches them to be kind,
considerate, and honest. While the parents work, the state educational system
becomes a parent to children in kindergarten through high school. The close
relationship between child and parent no longer exist, however, the state sees
the family as responsible for the child's welfare and expectable behaviors. The
broken family is seen as a factor in juvenile delinquency. Another negative
aspect of the decline in family life is the rising incidence of divorce. These
all leave the child confused, feeling alone and angry at society. The child then
looks for ways to express himself and usually finds it in a youth group with
similar concerns. Youths coming from broken homes look for ways to show their
discontent with authority. Another form of confusion for youth is the lack of
discussion in the home about sex. Many parents and teachers feel that talking
about sex or contraceptives would likely encourage early sexual relations. Often
this psychology backfires and many teenagers start having sex without their
parents knowledge. Their inexperience often leads to pregnancies and abortions.
This system leaves the young adult humiliated and angry at society. Self esteem
is important for a teenager, and many teenagers find themselves lacking in it.
This can lead to cruelty and rejection from many of their peers. Self esteem can
often be rebuilt through contact with youth groups having similar interests as
the teenager. It is interesting that it seems most human beings not only need to
be in a social group, but one that accepts him or her as they want to be. This
seems to show that self esteem is a very important ingredient in an adolescence
life. Without it people rebel; with it there is no need to rebel. When a
teenager reaches puberty, many changes take place. In the early 20th century, G.
Stanley Hall, noted the American psychologist, first defined adolescence as a
distanced stage in human development. Puberty is defined as the age or period at
which a person is first capable of sexual reproduction, in other eras of
history, a rite or celebration event was a part of the culture. This is true of
tribal societies that exist today, but for most of us , puberty as a specific
event is part of a much more complicated piece of our lives called adolescence.
Puberty rites signal acknowledgment of a young woman or young man has reached
the age of responsibility, virility and community productivity, and these rites
make an impression on the teenager or adolescent. Puberty rites are an attempt
to mold and educate the teenagers and prepare them for their new role in life.
Today, in our western culture part of the world, we have no clearly defined
rites; however our rites are randomly scattered throughout the mid-teen years.
For teenagers, getting your driver's license, entering college, turning legal
age, traveling across America or to Europe are all social rites. To further
complicate matters, the period of adolescence has probably doubled in length
since Mr. Hall first identified it, our children mature younger and younger and
take longer and longer to prepare for fully engaged membership into adulthood.
Through all of the readings on child and adolescent development, it is clear
that children from birth through teen years all develop according to many
factors; society, peers, education, family life, finances, fetal development,
pre dispositions, and basically anything or anyone that the child may come in
contact with.
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