Theories of Child Development Essay

Theories of Child Development 1. Three Major Stages in Freud’s Psychosexual Theory a. Oral Stage b. Phallic c. Genital Stage 2. Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory in association with child development a. Stages 1 and 2 b. Stages 3 and 4 3. Piaget’s Cognitive –Stage Theory a. Sensorimotor Stage b. Preoperational Stage c. Concrete Operations Stage 4. Points of Similarity a. Similarities b. Differences 5. Why is understanding child development important? a. Why is Freud’s theory important? b. Why is Erikson’s theory important? . Why is Piaget’s Theory Important? 6. Conclusion Theories of Child Development Domingo J. Muniz PSY104 Child and Adolescent Development Steven DeWiggins 22 March 2010 Throughout the years many scientists, and experts alike have drawn certain conclusions about what is right and what is wrong in child development. I am no expert, but I believe that in order to have the best chance at raising a confident, dedicated, and socially accepted child theories of child development must be understood.

According to Sigmund Freud the first five or six years of a child’s life are crucial for personality development. Throughout these years Freud believed a series of stages driven by subconscious need for pleasure occur in what is known as the Psychosexual Theory of Development. We will take a more in depth look at three major stages, and their “theoried” effects on child development. Shortly after a human child is born, it begins its journey through the first stage called the Oral stage. In this stage the infants primary purpose and interaction occurs through the mouth.

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The infant attains the oral stimulation from activities such as tasting and sucking. This tasting and sucking is provided to the infant via his adult guardians, in many cases the childs parents. Through this stage the infant develops a bond, and becomes comforted from the stimulation. The baby no longer hungers, so the child trusts that his need for oral stimulation will be met. However, there is also a negative process that may effect the childs future development. This process is called fixation, or the partial arrest of emotional or instinctual development.

Freud believed that children who had problems with fixation have an increased chance of having drinkin, eating, smoking, or nail biting problems later on in life. Another stage of Freud’s theory is the Phallic stage. This stage is where a key event of development occurs in early childhood. This is where children tend to focus on the genital area, and begin to take note of the differences between boys, and girls. In ths stage boys develop the Oedipus complex. This means that the young boys view their fathers as a figure that takes the mothers affection. , and the boys tend to want to replace the father and posess the mother for themselves.

Soon enough the boy will begin the process of identification (Boyd, and Bee Adult Development) in which the boy begins to behave as his father does, in order to gain approval from the mother, and inadvertently gaining masculine features needed for life as a young man. Young girls experience the same feelings, in what is called the Electra complex. Like the boy, girls resolve these feeling by identifying with the same sex parent, in order to develop her feminine traits needed for life as a young woman. There are also negative effects that are a potential hazard to normal development.

According to Freud, some problems related to the unresolved Oedipus or Electra complex could result in perversions such as seeking sexual encounters with members of their own gender. Succesful transitions through these stages lead up to the final stage of Frued’s Psychosexual Theory, which is the genital stage. During this final stage the individual develops a strong sexual interest in the opposite sex. Originally when the child was younger their sole focus was on their individual need, they are now beginning to develop a sort of sense for the well being of those around them.

Provided there have been no halts or interferences in the individuals development, the young man or woman, should now be a well balanced and ready to take on various aspects of life. There are also possibilities for a child, to be halted in development in this final stage. Problems in the final stage tend to come from fixations at any of the earlier stages, which may slow development. The second Theory of Development to be analyzed is Ericksons Psychosocial development. Like Freud’s theory Erikson’s theory also has stages that must be completed throughout a life span.

These stages were originally called “crisis” by Erikson, and were later reffered to as conflicting or competing tendencies. We will discuss these important stages of progression in blocks. Stages one and two make up the time period of a childs life from birth to around age three. Much like Freud’s the child must develop trust in the primary caregiver and in their own ability to things happen. From ages one to three the child then begins to develop physical skills, and needs, and tend to want to impose their own will.

Behavior issues can develop from this new found will, such as terrible two’s and tantrums. Children are also learning to become confident in self care skills such as using the “potty”. Around the beginning of the third stage, individuals become a bit more goal oriented, and also have the tendency to develop same sex complexes toward their parents. If not handled properly, these complexes may cause the child to feel guilty for his or her feelings, which according to both Frued and Erickson, are normal. Stage four covers the ages six through twelve, and is focused on competence.

Children in this stage of development are working to attain skills, and become accustomed to social norms, and gaining popularity, as well as pleasing peers and family members. Failure in attaining skills, or approval can lead to a sense of inferiority in the child thus hampering further development as a young adult. The third and final theory of child development is Piaget’s Cognitive-Stage Theory Perhaps the most important theory in the understanding of how children think belongs to the theory developed by Jean Piaget.

Piaget’s theory emphasizes on mental processes. Piaget believed that cognitive development begins with the natural ability to adapt to our surroundings. Three stages of this theory directly involve the development of children. Stage one or as Piaget called it the Sensorimotor stage takes place from birth to two years of age. Throughout this stage an infant is developing, and is trying to make sense of the world around it. Its only knowledge of its surroundings is attained through the sensory, and motor skills the infant is developing.

The child’s behaviors are limited to the skills that the child learns such as grasping, looking, and sucking. The following stage is the properational stage, which takes place from ages two to six. The preoperational stage is a stage in which a child uses symbols to represent people, places and events. As a young child, I can recall using symbols to represent things for example, I can remember role playing, and using a broom stick as a horse, or my book bag as a jet pack which I used to fly around the room. Throughout this stage language development occurs.

Although the hallmark of speech has been accomplished, children in this stage still can not think logically until the third stage which is concrete operations. As stated in our text, at this stage of Piaget’s theory of development children are able to think logically, but not abstractly or in hypothetical concepts. One of the most important developments in this stage is an understanding or reversibility. An example of this idea, is the clay ball from our text. The child must realize that the ball if molded into a snake, can be reversed into a ball with some effort.

Children can even picture this action in their minds without actually performing it. The theories of development discussed have similarities, and differences. Next we will evaluate some of these similarities, and differences in the theories. One of the most major similarities between the three developmental theories, are the use of “stages” in each. All three theories have at least three stages, all beginning with the birth of a child, and all with a reference to the early reflex of sucking.

Erikson’s Freud’s and Piaget’s theories are similar in the fact that around age six children are focused on achieveing skills, and building social bonds. Although these three theories have like terms, they do share differences in theory as well. Take Stage three of Freud’s theory or the phallic stage for example, in this stage the child becomes attached to the same sex parent in order to develop in order to develop a superego, while in Piaget’s theory the child of the same age (2-7) is using symbols to represent people places or events.

Although there are differences in the three theories, I believe that all three theories are pivotal in the development of a child. After analyzing the three theories of development it seems that all three theories may take place somewhat simultaneously. Frued’s theory takes place with the oral stimulation of a newborn child, and on into the stages where the boy or girl begins to recognize gender differences. Freud’s theory plays right into the information we discussed in our forums, or in our text about gender schemas.

Could failing to develop properly through Freud’s theory later effect the development through Erikson’s theory? In Erikson’s theory basic trust versus mistrust is developed at the exact same months of life as is the oral stage of Frued’s theory. I believe that if the three theories are not all hit throughout development, a child can have a difficult time adapting, or developing as a socially accepted or competent adult. In conclusion, the psychological development of a child, depends on many things. In my opinion there is no right or wrong theory that determines if a child will be successful in life, or socially accepted.

I do however believe that children are easily molded by their surrounding, culture, and peers. I also feel that having an understanding of the way children develop according to different theories, ideas personal experiences, and scientific research can play a large role in the upbringing of a future society that will bring excellence to the world. Refference Page; Papalia, D. E, Olds, S. W, & Feldman, R. D. (2008). A Childs world. New York: McGraw Hill. Boyd, D, & Bee, H. (2006). Adult development. Boston, MA: Pearson. Cherry, Kendra. (2010, January).

Freud’s stages of psychosexual development. Retrieved from http://psychology. about. com/od/theoriesofpersonality/ss/psychosexualdev. htm Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, . (2005, October 1). Consequences of the unresolved oedipal paradigm. Retrieved from http://goliath. ecnext. com/coms2/gi_0199-5682811/Consequences-of-the-unresolved-oedipal. html Bhugra, D, ; Bhui, K. (2002, February 1). Is the Oedipal complex universal? problems for sexual and relationship psychotherapy across cultures . Retrieved from http://www. informaworld. com/smpp/content~content=a713697561;db=all


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