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The Psychology of Childhood Development

The Psychology of Childhood Development

Question One

Piaget believed that a child’s mind is like a blank slate, and they must learn through their own experiences. As they gain new experiences, they gradually construct their own understanding of the world (Veraksa & Samuelsson, 2022). The sensorimotor stage lasts from birth to around two years old. In this stage, children learn through their senses and motor skills. They gain a basic understanding of cause and effect as they experiment with their environment. At a preoperational stage, a child’s mind is not yet able to perform operations or mental actions can be reversed. Children in this stage are egocentric, meaning they see the world from their perspective. The concrete operational stage is when children start to think more logically. They can understand conservation or the principle that certain properties do not change even when they are transformed in some way. At maturity,  people in this stage can think about hypothetical situations and understand scientific principles.

On the other hand, Vygotsky believed that children learn through their interactions with others. He said that children’s cognitive development is determined by their culture. Culture provides the tools children use to think, which he calls “mental tools” (Pramling, 2022). These mental tools include language and symbols. Children learn these mental tools from adults and older children. Adults and older children provide scaffolding or support as children learn to use these mental tools. Scaffolding helps children to understand new concepts and to think more independently. As children gain more experience, they need less scaffolding.

Scaffolding helps children understand new concepts and think more independently. An example is when a child is trying to build a tower of blocks (Veraksa & Samuelsson, 2022). The child can stack the blocks independently but needs help to understand how to balance the blocks on top of each other. The adult provides scaffolding by demonstrating how to balance the blocks. As the child practices, they gradually learn how to do it independently. Scaffolding is also important because it helps children to connect what they are learning with their own experiences.

Question Two

Children’s emotions become more stable during play from around three to five years old. They start noticing the emotions of others and can empathize with them. They also start to understand the concept of rules and learn how to control their emotions (Singer, 2022). Self-soothing behaviors, such as thumb sucking and rocking, become less common. At two-three years, they began to express their feelings through their behaviors. For instance, when happy, they might dance or clap their hands. When angry, they might hit or throw things. As they get older, around four to five years old, children begin to understand and use words to express their emotions. They also start to understand the emotions of others and can empathize with them. Management of emotions is a complex process involving different brain areas. The prefrontal cortex, responsible for higher-order thinking, helps regulate emotions. As they grow, they become sensitive to the emotions of others and can empathize with them.

Parenting style can affect a child’s emotional development. For instance, authoritarian parenting is a style where the parent is very strict and expects the child to obey rules without question (Singer, 2022). This type of parenting can lead to children who are afraid to express their emotions or who have difficulty empathizing with others. Permissive parenting is a style where the parent is very permissive and allows the child to do whatever they want. This type of parenting can lead to children who have difficulty controlling their emotions and may act impulsively. Authoritative parenting is a style where the parent sets rules but is also responsive to the child’s needs. This type of parenting can lead to children who are able to express their emotions and empathize with others. Some research has found that authoritative parenting is associated with the best outcomes for children since it provides a balance of structure and support.

Question Three

Kohlberg’s theory of moral development is divided into three levels: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional. The first level, pre-conventional, is made up of two stages: the obedience and punishment stage (Stage One) and the instrumental relativist stage (Stage Two). Children learn that rules are important at the obedience and punishment stages because they lead to rewards or avoid punishment (Mathes, 2021). An example is a child who only cleans their room because they know they will get a reward if they do so. Children start to think about what is best for them as individuals at the instrumental relativist stage. An example is a child who shares their toy with a friend because they know it will make the other child happy.

The second conventional level comprises two stages: the interpersonal accord and conformity stage (Stage Three) and the law and order stage (Stage Four). At the interpersonal accord and conformity stage, children learn that it is important to get along with others and follow societal rules (Mathes, 2021). An example of this is a child who helps a classmate who is being bullied. Next, children learn that rules are important for maintaining order in society at the law and order stage. An example is a child who follows all the rules at school even when no one is watching.

When children reach the post-conventional level, they start to think about moral principles that are not based on societal rules. This level has two stages: the social contract stage (Stage Five) and the universal ethical principle stage (Stage Six). Children learn that rules are important at the social contract stage because they help maintain a functional society. An example is a child who helps a neighbor clean up their yard even though they do not know them. At the universal ethical principle stage, children learn that there are moral principles that everyone should follow. An example is a child who stands up for what they believe is right, even if it goes against what others are doing.

Kohlberg’s theory has been criticized for being too Western and not considering the cultural differences in moral development. For instance, some research has shown that people in collectivist cultures, such as those in Asia, tend to emphasize the importance of interpersonal relationships and conformity to group norms. In contrast, people in individualist cultures, such as Western countries, tend to emphasize the importance of individual rights and autonomy. Kohlberg’s theory does not take into account these differences. Another criticism is that Kohlberg’s theory is too male-oriented and does not consider the different ways that men and women develop morally. The female view of morality is more relational and contextual than the male view, which is more abstract and universal. Again, Kohlberg’s theory does not take into account these differences.

References

Mathes, E. W. (2021). An evolutionary perspective on Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. Current Psychology, 40(8), 3908-3921.

Pramling, N. (2022). Vygotsky and Piaget as Twenty-First-Century Critics of Early Childhood Education Philosophizing. In Piaget and Vygotsky in XXI century (pp. 191-206). Springer, Cham.

Singer, E. (2022). Piaget and Vygotsky: Powerful inspirators for today’s students in early education and developmental psychology. In Piaget and Vygotsky in XXI century (pp. 129-143). Springer, Cham.

Veraksa, N., & Samuelsson, I. P. (Eds.). (2022). Piaget and Vygotsky in XXI century: Discourse in early childhood education (Vol. 4). Springer Nature.

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Question 


Assignment #2

Respond to all questions in this assignment.

Q1:

Explain Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s views about the development of children’s minds at this stage of development. How is scaffolding important?

The Psychology of Childhood Development

The Psychology of Childhood Development

Your answer should be at least 1-2 pages long.

Q2:

Explain the emotional changes that develop during the play years. How might the different parenting types affect such development?

Your answer should be at least 1-2 pages long.

Q3:

Describe Kohlberg’s stages of moral development and provide a situational example of a child or adult exemplifying each stage. Give a brief description of two specific areas that critics of Kohlberg’s theory have pointed to that may affect his findings.

Your answer should be at least 1-2 pages long.

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Format For Assignment:

Page Length: 6-12 pages
Paper Format: APA or MLA, Double Space, 10-12 pt font.
File Format: Create one document that answers all three issues above, and post it in your drop box for this assignment. Make sure the document is a Word document with a .doc extension or similar.

 

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