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From Tiny Tots to Teens- A Guide to How Children Grow and Change

From Tiny Tots to Teens- A Guide to How Children Grow and Change

Understanding how children develop and change from infancy to puberty requires a thorough understanding of human development theories. Some of the more well-known theories are evolutionary psychology, psychosexual theory, theories of cognition and development, theories of learning, cultural theory, social role theory, and systems theory. Biological and evolutionary underpinnings of behaviour are the main focus of evolutionary psychology, while the importance of sexuality in development is emphasized by psychosexual theory. On the other hand,  the importance of cognitive processes in action is noted by theories of cognitive development like those of Piaget and Vygotsky. Consistently, the importance of experience in influencing behaviour is indicated by learning theories like social learning theory and cognitive behaviourism (Yusra et al., 2022), while cultural theory strongly emphasizes how culture shapes development. Notably, the social role theory strongly focuses on how social roles influence conduct. Finally, systems theory emphasizes the interconnectedness of various systems that influence development.

The Easiest Theory to Explain to Parents

Though some theories of human growth are more straightforward to understand, others can be difficult. Some of the most straightforward approaches to convey to new parents relate to cognitive development, such as those of Piaget and Vygotsky. Cognitive developmental theories emphasize the importance of cognitive processes in action. The emphasis is on the mental growth and learning of youngsters. The idea of Piaget strongly focuses on how children’s active exploration of their surroundings shapes their cognitive development (Miller, 2022). Moreover, Vygotsky’s theory emphasizes the importance of social interaction in influencing cognitive development.

Ideas that Might be More Difficult to Explain

Specific theories of human development may be more complex to understand or divisive than others. For example, Freud’s psychosexual theory of evolution has drawn a lot of discussion and criticism since it focuses on sexuality and lacks empirical support (Mead, 2023). Similarly, the cultural approach, which emphasizes how culture shapes development, can be challenging to describe due to how intricate and varied cultures are. It is crucial to remember that each theory offers a distinctive viewpoint on how kids develop and evolve from childhood to adolescence and can help comprehend many facets of human development.


Mead, L. (2023). Dance/Movement Therapy as Sex Therapy: A Grounded Theory Research Study – ProQuest.

Miller, P. H. (2022). Developmental theories: Past, present, and future. Developmental Review, 66, 101049.

Yusra, A., S, N., & Erianjoni, E. (2022). A Review of Behaviorist Learning Theory and its Impact on the Learning Process in Schools. International Journal of Educational Dynamics, 5(1), 81–91.


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Imagine that you had to explain development to a group of new parents. Which mechanisms or processes do the seven theories offer to explain how children grow and change from infancy to adolescence?

From Tiny Tots to Teens- A Guide to How Children Grow and Change

From Tiny Tots to Teens- A Guide to How Children Grow and Change

Which would be easiest to explain to new parents? Which ideas might be more difficult to explain or more controversial?

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