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Child Social and Cognitive Development

Child social and Cognitive Development: Case Study

The process of development of humans is a lifelong process that involves emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and physical change and growth. During the early life stages, from childhood through to adulthood, major changes take place (Sigelman & Rider, 2015). The process of change involves the development of values and attitudes that form a basis for their understanding, relationships, and choices. In addition, as human beings are sexual beings, the process of sexuality development is also life-long. The same importance that is accorded to the processes of cognitive, emotional, and physical growth should be considered with regards to the growth of their sexuality. Each developmental stage is marked by a series of traits and changes. Jack is in the age group 3 to 5, one that is associated with increased activity and curiosity. With reference to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, this paper is going to review the cognitive and social development during this stage. To achieve this, this paper will start by reviewing the normative cognitive aspects and then proceed to explore the normative social aspects of development at this stage.

Piaget provided a description of human developmental stages from birth, which offer a foundation for understanding intellectual development among individuals (B Newman & P Newman, 2015). This intellectual development incorporates aspects of knowledge, judgment, and thought[ CITATION Dav15 p 33 l 1033 ]. Of the four stages suggested by Piaget, Jack belongs to the second stage, referred to as the Preoperational stage, which includes children as from 18 months to 7 year olds (Green & Piel, 2016). According to Pearson, some of the children may go through the stages at ages that have not been likened to the stages. In addition, other children may exhibit traits of different stages at the same time. Nevertheless, the psychologist suggested that cognitive development among children remains subject to the sequence he provided and that none of the stages could be skipped. Each of the stages is marked with a better worldview and new intellectual abilities[ CITATION Dav15 p 34 l 1033 ].

The preoperational stage of development is associated with increased thought structures among the children, whereby they start to employ symbols in their thinking[ CITATION Dav15 p 35 l 1033 ]. In most cases, the foundation for their language is laid during the previous stage, and that it becomes more mature at this stage. The children also develop imagination and memory, such that they are able to take part in make-believe and to understand the distinction between the future and the past. Nevertheless, the thinking of this category of children is not fully logical and is founded on intuition. The more complex concepts including comparison, time, and cause and effect can still not be grasped by children in this stage. The fact that Jack has not fully developed his speech when his peers have does not necessarily mean that he will not develop it[ CITATION Dav15 p 35 l 1033 ]. Like Piaget pointed out, different children may pass these stages at different ages. This means that some children may demonstrate more complex behaviors that surpass their developmental stage as stipulated by their age, while others may exhibit less skill development for their age[ CITATION Dav15 p 35 l 1033 ]. As such, Jack is still within the preoperational stage until when he will reach seven years. Thus, he is still presented with numerous opportunities to develop speech and other skills that are developed by individuals his age, including the toileting skills.

Erikson explored the psychosocial development of individuals through his establishment of eight stages of psychosocial development. According to Erikson, as individuals grow, they are present with more room for growth and development across their life span[ CITATION Dun17 p 60 l 1033 ]. In his assumptions, Erikson believed that each stage presents a form of psychosocial crisis, that is defined by a conflict between societal needs (social) and individual needs (psycho) (Scheck, 2014). The theory proposed by Erikson proposes that each stage’s successful completion leads to the embracement of basic virtues and attainment of a health personality[ CITATION Cha13 p 374 l 1033 ]. Basic virtues refer to strengths in character that one’s ego can employ in resolving crises. If a child fails to go through any of the stages with success, their ability to complete any other of the stages may be hampered, resulting in an unhealthy sense of self and personality.

With references to Erikson’s stages of development, Jack falls under the second and third stages. The second stage involves children between one and a half years of age and three years. The psychosocial crisis at this stage is between Autonomy vs. shame and the best virtue to be achieved in the will. At this stage, the child attains a sense of independence and control over physical skills. At this stage, Erikson argues that it is important for parents to grant their children level of independence and allow them to test their limits while encouraging them and tolerating failure[ CITATION Dun17 p 61 l 1033 ]. Jack’s attempts to construct sentences are within his limits and he should receive support from Vanessa. Importantly, it is crucial for Vanessa to tolerate Jack’s failures to use language or employ toilet skills like other children his age, and provide him with an encouraging environment that would facilitate the development of such skills.

The third stage on the other hand involves a psychosocial crisis between initiative and guilt, with the best virtue being purpose[ CITATION Cha13 p 375 l 1033 ]. It occurs among individuals between the ages of three and five. Children in this stage start to assert power and control over their surrounding by facing challenges, accomplishing tasks, and planning activities[ CITATION Dun17 p 62 l 1033 ]. When these children experience success, they develop a sense of purpose. In the cases where their initiative is discouraged or dismissed via control or criticism, a sense of guilt is developed. It is imperative the Vanessa understands that Jack is still in the process of learning and that criticizing his efforts to speak or develop toilet skills instead of encouraging him may result in hi, developing a sense of guilt, an aspect that will interfere with the proper development of his personality.

The understanding of cognitive and social development of children among nurses is an aspect of great importance. It is integral to note that apart from physical development, children also develop mentally, socially and emotionally (Scheck, 2014). These factors are interrelated in a manner that defines the being of a child, and thus their health. Case in point, there are emotional factors that may result in physical manifestations of health among children, which ought to be understood in order to facilitate holistic care and proper development encouragement. Nurses who deal with children are also faced with the responsibility of educating their caregivers on various aspects that affect the health and general well-being of the child. As such, knowledge of child development is critical not only to the assessment and care of children, but also to the facilitation of proper child care through caregiver support.

In conclusion, it is evident that child development is a process that entails more than physical growth and development, and that it is important to understand the other areas of development, including cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial development in order to provide the child with the required support to effectively achieve the milestones at each stage of development. Piaget provides a clear description of the cognitive process of child development, using a four-staged model. Jack development is clearly described in the preoperational stage, which provides that proper encouragement is required to achieve optimum cognitive development. On the other hand, Erikson provides a description of the psychosocial development of children at different stages, including the second and third stage, which describe Jack’s current developmental stage. Clearly, Vanessa needs to be aware of the critical nature of his child’s development and that the kind of support he receives would determine his general development.


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