ROLE OF ENVIRONMENT IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT 12
Roleof environment in child development
Childdevelopment and aspects of development
Childdevelopment relates to various stages of social, psychological andphysical changes that occur in human beings from birth till the endof adolescence. It is a continuous process, and every child hasunique course (Meggitt, 2009). Child development occurs in differentstages, and each stage is deterred by the preceding development. Thedevelopment stages are in most case affected by genetic factors andother events during the child growth and hence the importance ofprenatal development. This development may change due to certainfactors like maturation, environmental factors, human’s nature andthe effort to learn from the environment. The most commonlyidentified aspects of child development include social, cognitive,moral, adolescent and psychosocial development (Bukatko & Daehler2012).
Moraldevelopment stage is a crucial level in every child`s development.Moral development is a learning process that helps a child know thedifference between what is right and wrong. Moral development, likeany other levels of development such as physical growth, the parentalinput is essential (Kurtines & Gewirtz 2011). This step ensuresthat the child gets a solid foundation. This development deals withthe child`s experiences and the environment.
Infancyis the first stage of a child`s moral development. An infant has noability to moralize because they are egocentric. This means thattheir sense of what is right or wrong depends on what applies totheir feelings and needs. A newborn child is taken care of in thewomb and after birth he expects the same to continue (Thomas, 2012).Babies considered being breast fed and cuddled as a feeling ofrightness. On the other hand, they recognize hunger and loneliness asuncomfortable feelings thus it’s wrong. They consider morality assomething right if they feel it is right.
Theother stage of moral development is the toddlerhood. At this stage,children recognize that others have rights too and realize that thehouse he lives in has rules, and he should learn to live by them. Heis not aware of the concept of right or wrong, but he follows whatothers tell him (Kurtines & Gewirtz 2011). For instance, a childdoes not know that hitting a person is painful but he knows it’swrong because parents tell him so, and he will also get punished. Thechild learns to be obedient is a norm depending on how parents teachhim. They follow the rules to avoid punishments.
Thethird crucial stage is the preschoolers. The child is between threeto seven years. It represents a turning point in a child`s moraldevelopment. At this development stage, the child familiarizes withthe family values and develops his norms. They are also aware of theconsequences of their actions to others. With the help of theirparents, their behaviors change can now understand the concept ofGolden rule and expects wise people to be in charge (Thomas, 2012).According to research by Betty Hardwick Centre, instead of feelingsad when a child I punished, he feels sorry because he has upsetothers.
Atthe stage of seven to ten years, the child now can realize that noone is perfect. According to AskDr.Sears.com, a child at this stageof moral development is familiar with religious and fairness values(Thomas,2012).Children show interests to participate in making of the rules and areaware of the rights and wrongs.
Thefinal stage in moral development is the preteens and teens. At theage of ten or eleven, children have a wider view on morality, andthey see it as a guide to benefit everyone. They are prone to Peerpressure and values. They now realize that following rule is apersonal decision they should make and these decisions affect thosesurrounding them. They can do a moral wrong deed in order to gainpopularity from their peers because they are fully aware of what ismorally right and wrong (Kurtines& Gewirtz 2011).
Thesecond important aspect of a child`s development is the psychosocialdevelopment. Erik Erikson`s theory of psychosocial development bestelaborates on this. He believes that this development has differentstages (Kohlberg, 2009). A central element in his theory is thedevelopment of ego identity. It refers to the self that we get as aresult of social interaction. He argues that a person`s ego identityoften changes due to new experiences acquired daily throughinteractions with other people. The first crucial stage is the trustversus mistrust level. It occurs between birth and one-year-old. Thechild develops trust according to the parents’ quality of takingcare of them. A child develops trust if the parents are consistentand emotionally present all through (Weinstein, 2009). Failure todevelop confidence will lead to fear, and they will grow upconsidering the world as unpredictable. Erikson considers a balancebetween the two in order to have a successful development.
Autonomyversus doubt is another crucial step in psychosocial development.This helps in developing a sense of personal control. Eriksonbelieved that certain activities like going to toilets requiredtraining. He further argues that learning controls the body functionsthat lead to self-control and a sense of independence (Kohlberg,2009). Other notable events include food control and clothingpreferences. Children who complete this stage are confident whilethose who do not develop a sense of self-doubt.
Psychosocialstage three involves initiative and guilt. This occurs during thepreschool years. Children start asserting their power through socialinteractions (Newman, 2012). They are capable of leading others.Failing to complete this step leads to guilt and lack of action. Theego quality of purpose arises when a child balances betweeninitiative and a willingness to work.
Theother crucial stage in psychosocial development of a child is theindustry versus inferiority. It covers children aged five to elevenyears. Children start developing a sense of pride due to socialinteractions. Parents who actively encourage their children help themdevelop a feeling of achievement in their activities and skills(Nevid, 2009). Those who lack encouragement from either the parentsor teachers doubt their capabilities. Competence arises afterestablishing a balance between the two, and this greatly helpschildren accomplish the assignments set before them.
Identityand confusion also contribute to the psychosocial development of achild. Adolescence is the stage where a child explores hisindependence and can establish a sense of self (Nevid, 2009). Parentsare encouraged to motivate their children in order to develop a senseof self, independence and control. Erikson argued that children whosuccessfully completes this step leads to fidelity that is theability to live according to the society`s expectation.
Further,Erikson argued on the importance of intimacy and isolation stage. Heinsists that this development stage is essential in psychosocialdevelopment of a child (Kohlberg, 2009). It helps to explore personalrelationships. He argued on the importance of commitment and closerelationships with each other. A child who completes this stagesuccessfully will show commitment and is prone to establishing astable and secure relationship in the future. A strong sense ofpersonal identity helps establish an intimate relationship. A studyby Erikson shows that children with the poor sense of self developweak relationships and suffer loneliness and depression (Newman,2012). This step leads to a virtue of love and the ability toestablish lasting and meaningful friendships.
Eriksonfurther insisted on the importance of generatively and stagnation.This mainly focuses on how people build their lives focusing onissues like family and career. A child who completes this level has afeeling that he is contributing to the world through actively beinginvolved in society and at home (Nevid, 2009). Others will feel thatthey are nor productive and uninvolved in the activities of thecommunity. Children develop a virtue of care and watching childrengrow to be caring parents in the future is an achievement of thisstage.
Finally,Erikson elaborates on integrity and despair as the last stage inpsychosocial development. This reflects on the life during old age(Kohlberg, 2009). They are with the feeling of despair and regrets.On the other hand, those who have successfully completed the levelare with integrity. They have few or no regrets are satisfied withtheir lives. They are full of wisdom in the rest of their life.
Theorieson environmental influence on a child`s development
Differenttheories have been used to support environmental influences onchildren`s development. The first theory is the environmentalistapproach. Albert Bandura and John Watson developed this theory. Theyargued that the child`s environment helps shape their behaviors.Human development, learning and behavior are all due to reactions tothe environment (Lerner, 2013). Children respond well to theenvironments at schools through rules, activities at school andinstructions. Research shows that children learn well through routineactivities. At home also they develop through activities such ascoloring that require little interaction from the parent.
Theother relevant method is the constructivist. This was developed bytheorists like Jean Piaget. This theory concluded that children learnand develop when they interact with the environment and itssurrounding. It further insists that a child is fit for school if hehas the initiative to interact with the environment and itssurrounding. Jean believes that educators should pay attention to thephysical environment and education to enhance a better development ofthe child. Dividing learning into levels equips the child with thenecessary materials required (Lerner, 2013).
Environmentalfactors affecting development
Differentfactors affect a child`s development including internal and external.The child`s environment is imperative and determines how heprogresses. It is essential to understand the aspects of theenvironment because they help a child acquire whatever he needs inorder to develop optimally. This also helps the parent to identifythe problems that a child faces.
Tobegin, the way a parent or a caregiver treats a child has an impacton the child`s development. According to the Southern MethodistUniversity, parents who nurture their children in the best wayencourage their children, and they feel accepted (Simeonov et al.,2011). A supportive environment helps children focus on learning anddeveloping instead of being concerned about getting acceptance. Afavourable environment assists children to solve problems as well aslearning new things. The best way to nurturing a child is by spendingquality time together that helps them develop.
Nutritionis another environmental factor affecting a child`s development. Aresearch by the World Health Organization concludes improper dietaffects the child`s development and maturation (Simeonov et al.,2011). A malnourished child has a disadvantage when is comes tophysical development because their brains lack adequate nutrients fortheir growth.
Socialrelationships are interactions with various groups. Theserelationships help individuals achieve their goals. Theserelationships are either consciously or unconsciously. Theexpectation and norms of any relationship affect the way anindividual develops (Shaffer, 2009). Research shows that friendshipsare essential in future friendships that will help children developskills to cope with stress in life. Social development helps childrento make and keep friends. Further, socioeconomic status is animportant factor that contributes to the child`s development. Areport by Annual Review of psychology shows that a child from afinancially stable family grows to the optimal level as compared tothose from poor backgrounds (Shaffer, 2009).
Factorsthreatening a child`s development
Theparenting style refers to how the parent acts on the child, and thisaffects the development of the child. These techniques involvebeliefs, expectations and values that portray how a mother treats andpunishes a child (Biller, 2011). It occurs in instances where most ofthe parents are in control while others allow their child`s to takeover and lead in decision making. Most parents are not aware of theirparenting styles and how they affect their children`s development.According to a study by Child development professionals, they defineparenting styles in four broad categories namely Authoritarian,permissive, authoritative and uninvolved (Benson, 2012).Authoritarian parents are very strict when dealing with children anddon’t bother on child`s desires. Most of them expect their childrento what they say.
Theother category is authoritative parents. These are the kind ofparents who sets limits to their children although at a reasonableunderstanding. They are kind and in most cases motivate theirchildren in whatever they are pursuing. They support their childrenand require them to do things that are necessary for theirdevelopment (Biller, 2011). The balance of rules and a supportiveenvironment enables a child to develop with an adequate amount ofguidance. It also promotes democracy amongst children, and the childdevelops a sense of independence. This is considered the best way tobring up children as it shows healthy signs of social developmentwhen these children are interacting with others. Further, permissiveparents resemble authentic ones. The only difference is that theylack abilities of rule settings. They are free with whatever thechild does. The last category is the uninvolved parents. They do notparticipate in what the child does and are less concerned with thedevelopment of the child (Benson, 2012).
Authoritarian,permissive and uninvolved styles also contribute to the developmentof a child, but they are not as useful as authoritative parenting.For instance, authoritarian parenting promotes skill such asself-regulation through the expectations that they demand althoughthey don’t give children a hence to develop self-expression(Biller, 2011). A child brought up under a permissive parenting hasself-expression but lack rule focused framework to establish theircontrol. Children with uninvolved parents require attention and thussuffer during their development.
Differentfactors threaten a child`s development. First, parental bereavementis one of these factors. This refers to the process of grieving dueto loss of someone such as a friend, parent or guardian. Most child`sexperience loss after losing their parents or something of importanceto them. This changes their life and their reactions to suchgrievances depend on their ages. These experiences are natural arethe responses of children differ to those of adults. The bond betweenparent and the child breaks and this affects the child`s development(Holland, 2011). Most of the children suffer emotionally and mentallyand thus the need to seek health centers for counseling and guidance.The other protective measure is by having people around them whocomforts and gives them the love that they would expect from theirparents (Lerner, 2013).
Theother factor that affects child`s development is parental separation.Interviews with children from separated children show that most ofthem wish their parents were together. They experience lowself-esteem, unhappiness and their behaviors change in response tothese effects. The distress of separation to these children settleswith time and standard development resumes (Damon et al., 2010). Theeffect of divorce to children is that most of them show poor resultsas compared to the others. Children who live their homes to thoseeffects are greatly affected and may develop to be individuals theywould not be if the parents remained together.
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