An Overview of the Areas of Child Development

As children grow older they go through a process labeled as child development. Child development is defined as the discipline devoted to the understanding of all aspects of human development from birth to adolescence. Child development is more or less a new field of study and that is because of the viewpoints of children that were predominant before. For instance, historical perspectives influenced the view of children as miniature adults and burdens. The perspective of them as miniature adults were present more so in the middle ages when children were treated like adults, such as in their style of dress, their responsibility of work and sometimes even marriage and monarchy.

The other perspective was of children being burdens instead of blessings. They were considered burdens because before modern day contraceptives, many children were unplanned for and unwanted, they only represented another mouth to feed and back to clothe. As times progressed though the view began to change thanks to psychologists and new laws that protected the welfare of children.

Also, an influence on the field of child development was philosophies of the moral nature and development of children. Three major philosophies were original sin, the view of children being born full of sin and needing guidance to salvation from their parents, tabula rasa developed by John Locke, which viewed children as blank slates needing to be molded by their parents but treated with kindness and love, and lastly the philosophy of noble savages stated by Jean Jacques Rousseau said that children were gifted with the concept of wrong and right and didnt need the interference of parents.

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Rousseau was one of the first to place emphasis on the idea of maturation, which is the unfolding of the genetically determined patterns of growth and development.

Child development involves different areas of development that are genetically determined, such as physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. Physical development is one of the first areas of maturation that is noticed mainly because it is easily perceived. It entails the growth in body height and weight as well as all other physical attributes. There are two perspectives that define the pattern in which children grow they are the cephalocaudal principle and the proximodistal principle. The first principle says that children grow in a downward distribution starting with the head going all the way to the feet. The second principle says that childrens growth takes place in an outward distribution starting in the center of the body and moving out to the extremities. A more unnoticeable growth that takes place is in the case of myelinization, which is when neurons become coated with myelin, an insulating substance, which allows the transmission of nerve impulses to occur faster and successfully. The more sufficient nerve impulses take place the more likely it is for children to have productivity in motor development. Motor development is broken down into two categories, gross-motor skills and fine-motor skills.

Grossmotor skills apply the use of the larger muscles, such as leg and arm muscles, that may be used for crawling, walking, running, jumping, and throwing things. The fine-motor skills apply the use of smaller muscles, that may be used to grasp, manipulate, reaching for things and also the use of both hand and eye coordination. Within the stage of physical development as well as all other developments there are always possibilities for handicaps. The most basic categories for physical handicaps are speech disorders, hearing and visual impairments, and different types of skeletal, orthopedic or motor skill handicaps. Out of these the most prevalent are speech handicaps that could be a result of hearing, neurological, or developmental problems or malformations present at birth. The second part of child development is cognitive development, which deals with the growth in knowledge, the ability to perceive, think and understand and to use those skills to solve practical problems. Language and communication serve as an outlet for cognitive development. Before children even learn how to speak or use verbal language they use non-verbal communication to signal when their emotions. Piaget a developmental psychologist labeled four stages of cognitive development. His stages were the sensorimotor stage from birth to the age of two, the preoperational stage from age two to age seven, the concrete operational stage from age seven to age eleven and lastly, the formal operational stage from age eleven and up.

Within these different stages children learn to do different things, like object permanence, which is the concept that something still exists out of sight, in the sensorimotor stage, symbolic play found in the preoperational stage, and within the concrete operational stage children are only able to reason about things they have experienced. The last stage the formal operational stage is found in adolescence and it involves the ability to also reason but more open-mindly and construct theories as well as test them. Besides at home with their parents children could have their cognitive development fostered at school. Emotional development an area of development, which is greatly influenced by the previous two developments, deals with the development of a childs feelings and the expression of them. Emotions play an important role in social and moral developments. Attachment, the feeling that binds someone to another, or in most cases the emotional link between a child and his/her parent allows children to feel emotionally secure. Good attachments to caregivers give children, a sense of security, a sense of self, and makes their ability to socialize possible. The development of trust comes from several aspects of attachment such as regular feedings, cuddling and physical contact and more importantly being shown by parents that they are loved. There are basic emotions that children are born with, such as happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, disgust and fear.

There are only two fears that babies are born with though, the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Personality and temperament can also be an influence on emotions. Personality is defined as the total of physical, mental, social, and emotional characteristics of an individual (Rice, 213). Temperament is defined as the consistent or basic dispositions inherent in people that modulate much of their behavior (Rice,213). How children feel about themselves which is influenced by self-concept, self-efficacy, self-esteem, self-definition and self-worth is very important in the mental health of children which why these area should be fostered and monitored closely. Following emotional development is social development, which is greatly influenced by all the other developments that take place. All types of environmental factors, for instance the media and the role of ones family, influence social development. Social development plays a role in the development of gender role development and also moral development. Gender role development involves the outward expressions of masculinity or femininity in social settings. The ideal gender role to take on is one of an androgynous person who gradually mixes traits of both males and females. Moral development includes the development of values and ethical principles as guides of behavior, also knowing what is right and wrong, and having a desire to do what is right. A strong basis for the development of good morals is religion or believing in a higher being than oneself. Parents can also instill moral development as well as other loved ones by rewarding and encouraging moral behavior. All areas of child development must be met adequately in order for a child to grow up successfully and continue on to the next stage of life, adolescence. The areas of development can be influenced by environmental and heredity factors, the case of nature vs. nurture tends to play a role in how well children develop. With the aid of professionals, like developmental pediatrics the study of child development will be able to grow and continue.

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An Overview of the Areas of Child Development. (2022, Sep 28). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/an-overview-of-the-areas-of-child-development/

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