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Theories of child development

Describe and examine two stage theories of child development

Developmental psychologists use ideas to formulate hypotheses. There are three main, very broad families of ideas related to child development. They are Psychoanalytical Theory, Learning Theory and Cognitive-Developmental Theory. Ideas within each one of these families try to provide developmentalists with complete explanations of almost every facet of real human development. Psychoanalytic Ideas (e. g. Freud and Erikson) propose that developmental change happens as a result of influence of internal drives and thoughts on behaviour. Learning Ideas (e. g. Pavlov, Bandura etc. ) suggest that development results from a build up of experiences. Cognitive-Developmental Theories (e. g. Piaget and Vygotsky) emphasise the mental functions in development.

Freud's Psychosexual Theory is an example of a Psychoanalytical Theory. Freud mainly worked with adult's who have been suffering from severe mental diseases and he used his conclusions to base his work on development. He figured behavior is governed by both conscious and unconscious thought techniques and he thought that the libido is the motivating make behind most of our behaviour. Among the main parts of Freud's theory is his proven fact that someone's personality is divided into 3 parts called the identification, the ego and the superego. The id is a person's basic intimate and ambitious impulses. The identification contains the libido and motivates a person to seek pleasure and avoid pain. The ego is the conscious, pondering part of a person's personality. Among its main careers is to keep carefully the needs of the id satisfied. It is also in charge of keeping the three the different parts of personality in balance. Finally, the superego is the part of our personality that operates as a moral judge. When the superego is rolling out, the ego's job becomes much more difficult. It must meet the id without violating the superego's rules. According to Freud, a person encounters tension when the three components is in conflict with another. He assumed that sexual feelings are vital to personality development however he only presumed this because many of his patients possessed memories of erotic feelings and behaviour in youth. Freud's most controversial idea was regarding children's experiences of sexual fascination towards opposite-sex parent during the phallic stage. He termed these 'The Oedipus Issue' for a male child and 'The Electra Organic' if the kid was female. For example, The Oedipus Turmoil states that a male child has intimate emotions for his mother but worries that his daddy will find out and castrate him.

Freud proposed some psychosexual stages. He believed a child moves through every one of these stages. These periods are oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. He presumed that during each level the libido is set around a certain area of the body and a significant developmental task takes place. For example, in the oral stage, which Freud assumed occurred from beginning and lasted before child was one year old, sex drive is said to be focussed on the oral cavity, lip area and tongue. Freud believed that in this stage the major developmental task that occurred was weaning. In the anal stage, sex drive is focussed on the anus and toilet training takes place. This usually occurs at age ranges 1 to 3 years old. Within the phallic stage, concentrate is on the genitals (as it is in the genital level) which is where the child tries to solve the Oedipus/Electra complex. Freud thought that the latency period is not actually a psychosexual level as the libido is not focussed on your body during this time period and therefore, fixation is impossible. Freud continued to convey that if a grown-up is fixated at one of the stages, they will have certain recognisable characteristics. For instance, if a grown-up is fixated at the oral stage they'll develop characteristics such as smoking, overeating, passivity and gullibility. According to Freud, maximum development requires an environment that will meet the unique needs of every period.

Freud's Psychosexual Theory has been praised since it provides a psychological explanation for mental condition and it emphasises the importance of experiences in infancy and early childhood. It also highlights the value of the child's first relationships with their caregivers. It suggests that a child's needs change with era, so parents and caregivers must continuously adapt to the changing child. Erikson's Psychosocial Theory helps Freud's Theory. Erikson (1963) was a neo-Freudian meaning his ideas were built on the strengths of Freud's Theory but he attemptedto enough time weaknesses. Erikson proposed that personality builds up in eight psychosocial stages during the period of the life-span. He believed that personality produces through eight life crises across the complete lifespan. A person surface finishes each turmoil with either a good or poor quality. The theory also provided psychologists with lots of helpful principles (e. g. id, ego, superego, unconscious etc) and several terms are not used in day-to-day language and not just in emotional theory. Freud is often credited with the technology of psychotherapy, which continues to be employed today.

However, there a wide range of theorists that disagree with Freud's ideas. For example, Baldwin (1967) expresses that a person of the primary criticisms of Freud's work is the fact it focus upon our thoughts and feelings, which reveals many methodological problems. Baldwin goes on to touch upon the fact that many of the conditions that Freud uses (e. g. id, ego etc. ) have not been operationalised. Operational definitions of the key terms are essential to a scientific theory as we need precise definitions in order to test the ideas properly. This therefore means that the theory is not falsifiable. Freud's theory in addition has been criticised as a result of evidence it presents. As stated early, a lot of the support for Freud's theory came from his own patients, who he used as case studies. He mainly chose to review women as he noticed them as being inferior which meant that his theory exhibits some very patriarchal issues and can be viewed as being very negative to women, something which feminists have argued for a long time.

Piaget's Cognitive-Developmental Theory is utilized to emphasise the mental procedures in development. Piaget (1974) assumed that all children seem to go through the same sequence of discoveries about their world, making the same flaws and arriving at the same alternatives. A scheme is an internal cognitive structure that provides a person with a procedure to use in a particular circumstance. This is a main idea in Piaget's model. Piaget thought that each folks starts life with a tiny repertoire of sensory and motor unit plans, such as looking, tasting, touching, hearing, and getting. Even as use each program it starts off to are better. Piaget suggested 3 processes in order to explain how children get from built-in techniques, such as looking and coming in contact with, to the complex mental schemes found in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Assimilation is the procedure by which we use a plan to seem sensible of an event or situation. The complementary process is accommodation, which involves changing the system consequently of some new information received through assimilation. Through accommodation we improve our skills and reorganise our ways of pondering. Equilibration is the process of balancing assimilation and accommodation to create techniques that fit the environment.

Piaget's research suggested to him that logical thinking evolves in four stages. During the sensorimotor stage, from beginning to 1. 5 years, infants use their sensory and motor schemes to do something on the world around them. In the preoperational stage, from 1. 5 years to 6 years, children acquire symbolic schemes, such as language and fantasy, which they utilization in thinking and communicating. Next, is the concrete functional stage, 6-12 year olds begin to think logically and be capable of handling problems. The final level is the formal functional stage. Here, children learn to think logically about abstract ideas and hypothetical situations. Piaget believed that each stage comes from the main one before it, and each consists of major restructuring of the child's way of thinking. Research has confirmed that the sequence of levels is fixed and this children progress through them at different rates.

Conservation studies, such as those carried out by Ciancio et al (1999) and Sophian (1995), have generally verified Piaget's observations. Although it does seem as if younger children can illustrate some knowledge of conservation if the duty is made very easy, most children cannot consistently solve conservation and other types of logical problems until at least the age of 5. However, Boyd and Bee (2008) state that preschoolers are a great deal more cognitively sophisticated than Piaget thought. Boyd and Bee think that children, as young as 2 and 3, do appear to understand that someone else sees and encounters things in a different way than they are doing. This therefore shows that Piaget might have been wrong about a few of the ages at which children develop certain skills. However, Bringuier (1980) counter-criticises this by recognising that the age ranges of each of the periods were always meant to be approximate. Piaget can also be incorrect about the generality of the levels. For instance, Boyd and Bee (2008) claim that most 8 12 months olds show concrete functional thinking on some responsibilities but not on others, and they are more likely to show intricate thinking on familiar somewhat than unfamiliar duties. This therefore suggests that the process of child development may be considered a lot less stage-like than Piaget first suggested. Piatelli-Palmarini (1980) and Turiel (1996) go on to further dispute this aspect by suggesting that it is very hard to provide evidence for Piaget's theory if the behavior he advises is very seldom, if ever, steady with actually happens.

This theory really helps to explain how children of different age range think about and take action on the earth. Piaget's research findings have been replicated in nearly every culture since his work was first posted in the 1920's. Therefore, not only have he formulate a new theory which obligated psychologists to take into account child development in a fresh way, he also provided a set of findings that were impossible to disregard and difficult to describe. He also developed impressive methods of studying children's thinking that continue being important today.

Feldman (2004) expresses that the question of how a child moves from one stage to another has been discussed between many critics of Piaget's theory. For instance, Gruber and Voneche (1977) and Karmiloff-Smith (1992) believe that Piaget's stages shouldn't longer be looked at by theorists because they're needless. However, Piaget realized that the levels he proposed would have to be altered. Feldman (2004) attempted to present a modern day version of Piaget's levels that he hoped works better to communicate Piaget's eye-sight of the particular stages are designed to represent. Feldman went on to state that a child might not actually behave in ways constant with the ideas of the operating system or overall group of cognitive buildings of his / her stage.

Feldman (2004) suggests that Piaget's idea of equilibration has induced much controversy between theorists numerous making attempts to interpret, clarify, critique and revise the idea. Feldman continues on to say that Piaget himself was not satisfied with the way that equilibration talks about in detail the way the transitions between the stages take place. Piaget (1975) tried to discover an elaborated version of equilibration in order to better capture movements from stage to level within his theory. The main problem with equilibration is that it lacks a lot of details. Most critics seem to concur that it is appropriate, but it leaves many unanswered questions. When equilibration techniques are contrasted with set ups all together, plenty of problems arise for the idea. Regarding to Siegler and Munakato (1993) the equilibration model forces us to choose to accept unrealistic transitions that appear from level to stage or to abandon the thought of structures all together. However, if this was to happen, some of the theory's major statements would be left behind. Feldman (1995) continued to change Piaget's theory. In doing this, he adapted it so that the equilibration process would continue steadily to play a central role in cognitive constructions, but it no longer has to carry the responsibility of stage move alone.

The Information Handling Theory supports Piaget's Theory. This uses the computer as a model to clarify intellectual procedures such as storage area and problem-solving. It suggests that there are both get older differences and individual dissimilarities in the efficiency with which humans use their information-processing systems. This theory may be used to explain Piaget's Theory. Case (1985) states that is a neo-Piagetian theory which expands on Piaget's Theory somewhat than contradicting it. However, Boyd and Bee (2008) state that Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory runs against what Piaget proposed. Vygotsky explained that complex varieties of thinking have their roots in social connections somewhat than in the child's private explorations, as Piaget thought.

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