Child development is the problem that has always bothered people. Our organism is so complicated that it survives crucial changes during the process of growing up. Doubtless, a baby does not look the same as an adolescent. Moreover, their mind is completely different. Thus, it is engrossing to learn about the process of child development from the side of psychology, whereas a child’s mind changes rapidly. Many psychologists generated their own theories that try to analyze and explain the factors that influence the process of child development.
Modern psychologists agree that child development depends on many factors. One can mention biological, social and cultural factors. It is wise to pay attention to the theories of the greatest minds regarding the study about child development. The first point is Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. The Swiss psychologist decided to learn about the nature of human knowledge. He wanted to discover how people obtain knowledge, accumulate and use it. Jean Piaget said that cognitive development is based on the biological and environmental factors. Under the influence of internal and external facts, our mental processes reorganize. Piaget thought that it is possible to define the specific stages of human cognitive development. During his long observations, he understood that the children of the particular age behave and think in the same way. He distinguished such stages as sensorimotor (0-2 years), preoperational (2-7 years), concrete-operational (7-12), formal-operational (11-12) and others. Every stage is characterized with the particular model of mental activity.
The sociocultural theory of Lev Vygotsky is similar to Piaget’s study. Vygotsky agreed that children learn from their own experience but he did not support the division into stages. The scholar emphasized the role of culture in child development. The idea is simple. Every child imitates the behavior and lifestyle of his parents and the entire cultural environment. However, he said that child’s cultural development occurs on the social level and only then on the individual level. Why? Because children follow the example behavior of their environment automatically. They do not try to explain the origin of this behavior or lifestyle. Secondly, the child begins to understand and differentiate various cultural models and accepts his culture on the individual level.
John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth developed their own attachment theory. This theory is based on the belief that child development depends on the quality of interpersonal relations. A human being is a social creature who should live in the constant cooperation with others. If a child communicates with others, he will gain much information and learn many new things rapidly. His social life and emotional development will be broad and multidimensional.
Erik Erikson presented his own theory of psychosocial development that is based on the tasks and challenges on every stage of human life. The scholar divided the entire human life into eight stages. For instance, young adolescents experience the stage of industry vs. inferiority.
John B. Watson introduced his theory based on the behavioral model of development. This model focuses on the classical conditioning illustrated by Pavlov. Classical conditioning is the procedure that is characterized with the combination of the biologically potent stimulus and previously neutral stimulus.
For example, if a dog sees food (biologically potent stimulus) and hears a bell (neutral stimulus) at this time, very soon, the sound of a bell will be associated with food. Therefore, John B. Watson shifted this model on the process of child development. A child acts in the definite way and sees the results of his deeds. Very soon, the child will understand different models of behavior based on his experience.
There are many other theories devoted to child development. It means that this problem is relevant and very disputable. Psychologists have not generated the ideal model of bringing up yet. They do not know the universal algorithm of child development. They can only point at the factors that play the most considerable role in this process. In my opinion, the process of child development depends on the complex of biological and environmental factors. Our genes provide us with potential but we reveal it only if we work hard or meet the right people. Thereof, children need intensive communication and cooperation with their mates and grownups. Moreover, we should attempt to do something, because our experience builds our character and skills. It is reasonable to take into consideration the stages of child development in order to apply the right methods of bringing up that will be effective and harmless to the child.
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