Essay, Research Paper: Child Development


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Is development the result of genetics or the result of the love, guidance and
the upbringing one receives? That is a very interesting and personal question.
In reviewing Table 4.1 in the textbook regarding where the main developmental
theories stand on the six themes in development, it appears that most of the
theorists involved believe that both nature and nurture have an impact on the
development of the child (Child Development: A Thematic Approach (3rd. ed.) (Bukato,
Daehler, 1998, p.29). The Ethological theme reports that although behavior is
biologically based the environment has an impact and influences behavior
patterns. Most of the other themes such as the Learning Theory and the
Socioculture Theory are based on nurture or environmental experiences with some
biological experiences. An article on the Internet titled Quotations about
Nature, Nurture, and Nature via Nurture (1998), reports that there are in fact
three 'nature vs. nurture' issues rather than just one. They concern what is
innate, what is inherited, and what is important? What is innate to the species,
in this case, Homosapiens? Features of human behavior and experience arise from
the genes that are shared and without most of which a human child is unlikely to
be born with? What is inherited? We can look at genetically similar or even
identical twins that grow up in different environments, thus allowing us to
learn whether environmental differences, between families, contribute to final
observable differences in behavior and personality. Not all physical factors
appear to be genetically inherited. For example, the best-known example of this
is the case of eye colors in Homosapiens; two brown-eyed parents can have a
blue-eyed child if each of them carries the recessive gene for blue eyes as well
as the dominant gene for brown eyes. Finally, what is important? With genetic
cloning a fact, not a possibility, a society has to determine what is important
to them in today▓s culture. Discussion such as ⌠Is it more important
to have smart or good-looking children?■ Or, ⌠As a society will we
allow genetic defects such as dwarfism?■ There is much controversy
regarding this developing topic and I am sure much more to come. The previously
cited article reports that most current psychologists admit that it is
impossible to prove nature vs. nurture outcomes because there are such complex
interactions that effect all development processes in a child. Growing up within
the larger scheme of things is the concept of the Socioculture theme. This
theory indicates that the community one grows up in has a great impact on what
experiences, beliefs and values they will have. Every society changes over time.
Some change rapidly; others seem to stay virtually unchanged for generations.
But, however slowly, change does occur. Communication and language are two
important aspects that play major roles in the socioculture development.
Functions of communication such as, actions, words, behaviors, settings, topics
and/or events all envelope the different forms and styles of communication that
members of the group or culture utilize. Factors such as proximity, the space
people need or use for themselves within a community, and the poverty cycle are
very important in the development of an individual and a culture. Children are
biologically predisposed to develop language and the environment triggers rather
than serves as a stage of development. A child learns most and is most
impressionable during the first five years of his life. Therefore, a child in
poverty is exposed to his environment, and that is what they know, even before
entering into the educational system. This has a lot to do with the continuation
of the poverty cycle. An example that I am familiar with at work is with
families involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) and the subject of
discipline or communicating through the use of corporal punishment. In some
cultures spanking is perfectly acceptable. When a person is CPS involved because
of neglect due to addiction, it is not conducive to the goal of reunification to
hit or spank child. Teaching CPS participants can be challenging because it is
sometimes very difficult for them to understand different concepts when corporal
punishment is what their culture and society has deemed the norm. A child plays
an active role in his or her development by the way he responds to being taught.
In each of the theories described in the textbook it is apparent that the child
plays an active role. Even in the learning theory where the child is not active
in behavior analysis but engages the environment to determine what is learned in
social cognitive theory (Child Development: A Thematic Approach (3rd. ed.) (Bukato,
Daehler, 1998, p.33). In contextual theories the child is biologically equipped
to deal with the environment yet actively engaged with the environment. The
relationship between the biological and environment are always influencing each
other. I am inclined to favor Piagot▓s theory that a child▓s
knowledge is constructed; that the child is always thinking therefore, always
active in its development. Is development continuous or discontinuous?
Continuous is flowing and discontinuous is stages. When children get better with
each task so that it becomes natural for them to move on to the next task that
is continuous development. A child is going to go through puberty; that would be
identified as a stage. The textbook shows that the learning, information
processing, socioculture and ethological theories are all continuous (Child
Development: A Thematic Approach (3rd. ed.) (Bukato, Daehler, 1998, p.33). The
smooth transitions in the Learning theory is when a child enters school or is
able now able to complete algebraic problems. In the Psychosocial theory, the
stages are set but individuals can go through the stages in their own pace.
Piagetian theory describes four stages as Sensory Motor Period, Preoperational
Period, Period of Concrete Operations and Period of Formal Operations. Each
stage is set and although can be individualized (time frame), it is not
individual as to expectations of what will happen. It is important for parents
to know what stages a child may go through so they may be sure the expectations
they have for their child at a given age are realistic. In reviewing the chart
it appears that most theories report that individual differences are not playing
a major role in the theories. Even in the socioculture theory it reports that
although unique events contribute to how the individual behaves there are many
other factors influencing the child▓s development. In Erikson theory where
he describes set events and outcomes on Table 1.3 in the textbook (Child
Development: A Thematic Approach (3rd. ed.) (Bukato, Daehler, 1998, p.33), these
stages are common to every individual in every culture. He reports that at in
each of his eight stages, individuals must adapt to the demands of their own
society and culture that are placed on them. Child development is the study of
all aspects of human growth and change. It is an interdisciplinary, scientific,
and applied field of study. Researchers often divide the subject of development
into three broad domains, physical, cognitive, and emotional and social.
Social-moral includes interpersonal and intrapersonal goals. Cognitive includes
logical-mathematical, physical, and conventional knowledge including symbolic
and language development. Physical includes motor skills, health, and safety.
All have a direct impact on all areas of child development. There is
considerable current debate concerning what society know about these domains as
well as how and when they develop. There are many areas in which a child me be
slow at developing which would increase the chances that it would effect any of
the other domains. I have always believed that what a child learns results in
what they think and feel. In the learning theory, it is apparent that situations
have much to do with learning ability. For example if a child is overweight, it
will definitely affect their social and emotional development. They may not want
to risk embarrassment by participating in groups, therefore, not socializing as
often as another child that did not have this problem. On an emotional level
this would lower self-esteem and decrease self worth. On a learning level they
may become quiet or shy and decrease their chances of speaking up in class,
possibly decreasing the chances for intellectual learning. In conclusion, it
appears that components of each theme influence how we view, parent and educate
our children. Many theories, especially modern ones, take a balanced point of
view and recognize the merits of all sides of these issues. Each theme discussed
brings it own perspective on children and how they develop. In recent years, the
field of child development has become increasingly concerned with applying its
knowledge to the solution of pressing social problems faced by children and
adolescents. Public policy, laws, and government programs designed to improve
current conditions are essential for protecting children's development as well
as ongoing research in this area.

BibliographyAuthor Unknown, (1998) Child Development Institute Web Page. Stages of
Intellectual Development in Children and Teenagers. Pieget`s Stages of Cognitive
Development Retrieved July 7, 2000 from the WWW Available:
Brand, Chris. (1999) Personality, Biology & Society. Quotes V Quotations
about NATURE, NURTURE, and NATURE via NURTURE. Retrieved July 8, 2000 from the
WWW Available
Bukatko, D., & Daehler, M.W., (1998). Child Development: A Thematic Approach
(3rd ed.). Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company
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