Child Development Education
Child development includes the changes that a child experiences as they grow which have the effect of shaping their emotional, cognitive, physical and social development. Studies have shown that the early years of child development are fundamentally important because they provide the foundation for healthy growth and their future (Keenan, Evans & Crowley, 2016). Therefore, an understanding of child development has become an important concept especially for parents, caregivers, early child hood educators, and any individuals in contact with children. Child development theories provide the framework towards understanding the child development process regarding a child’s growth, learning and development process. These theories often provide insight on matters concerning child development like how personalities are formed; cognitive and behavioral patterns; social or societal influences; and general trajectories of child development (Crain, 2015). This paper focuses on an individual case study attempting to explain the development trajectory- behavior, cognitive skills, and societal influences, of the child in the case study (Harika) using child development theories.
I chose Harika’s case because I was interested in understanding how conservatism and social influences can influence child development. From the details if the case study it is clear that Harika’s family is conservative, perhaps influenced by their religious beliefs. The case study suggests that Harika’s family is highly religious as evidenced by their conservative clothing and her mother’s keen intent to prevent her from eating food that is haram. Based on this deduction, I will analyze the effect of religious conservatism with emphasis on conservative parental influence on child development while comparing nature versus nurture. Additionally, I will use the psychosocial theory to analyze and explain Harika’s conservative personality.
In analyzing the trajectory of Harika’s growth and development it is important to consider Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems theory that attempts to explain the complex relationship between a child, the child’s family and societal environment and the impact on child development. According to his theory emphasis is placed on both nature versus nurture and that heredity and the social environment have the effect of influencing child development (Rosa & Tudge, 2013). Nature refers to the hereditary information passed from parents to children and which potentially influence their development such as characteristics, behavior and skills. Nurture on the hand, refers to the physical and social influence that influence the development of a child. Numerous theories recognize the importance of both nature and nurture I child development but vary in the emphasis taken into consideration. Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems theory describes four concentric circles, Microsystem, Mesosytsem, Exosystesm and Macrosystem within which specific factors have the effect of influencing child development. Microstsyem describes the immediate environment which includes the family (Rosa & Tudge, 2013). Harika’s microsystem is stable in the sense that as a middle class family the family is financially stable. Family interactions and involvement are equally sufficient for healthy child development. Harika’s mother is a stay-at-home mother while her grandparents live in the same building as them. Therefore, Harika’s immediate environment has a significant impact on her development. This can be used to explain Harika’s adoption of religious values and conservatism. Often, parents consider their role of inculcating values in their children quite seriously. Just like her mother, Harika wear a headscarf according to religious requirements. Her mother is keen to ensure she adopts Islamic values from a young age by ensuring she eats halal food and she often carries her own snack to school. This highlights Bronfenbrenner’s theory that parental influence has a huge impact on child development. Harika remains conservative even in school, which constitutes the mesosystem. The school environment is a distinct context from the conservative environment that Harika is accustomed to, which presents adaptability challenges. She has difficulty dealing with group situations and unexpected challenges due to her conservative nature. However, at the same time, the school environment seems to be boosting her cognitive development regarding her math skills and divergent thinking.
The case study describes Harika’s personality as shy and conservative. According to Erik Erikson’s (1902-1994) theory, the development of personalities occurs in eight stages right from early infancy to adulthood. There is a specified age bracket for each stage and the outcome of each stage is dependent on a positive psychological status of an individual which emanate from the individual’s interactions with others at that stage. If a person experiences problems at any of the stages, they may develop an identity or personality crisis (Newman & Newman, 2014). We will analyze the developmental stage that fits Harika’s age. Erikson suggests that between ages four to six, the conflict between Initiative vs Guilt affects the formation of personality for children in these ages. At this point the child is in pre-school and is learning to take initiative regarding activities and events around them. At this stage, children begin to realize their capabilities and their limits. The distinction in personalities will be visible since some children will take initiative to portray their capabilities or push their limits while others will be feel guilty if they go beyond their limits. Harika’s character is overly cautious and tentative evidenced by her preference to not participate actively in class and the manner in which she holds onto the railing while going up or down the stairs. She has a sense of guilt when required to take initiative or to push her limits. This ultimately results in a stifled or conservative personality.
Crain, W. (2015). Theories of development: Concepts and applications. Psychology Press.
Keenan, T., Evans, S., & Crowley, K. (2016). An introduction to child development. Sage.
Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2014). Development through life: A psychosocial approach. Cengage Learning.
Rosa, E. M., & Tudge, J. (2013). Urie Bronfenbrenner’s theory of human development: Its evolution from ecology to bioecology. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 5(4), 243-258.