Developmental Stages Paper

Topics: Attachment theory, Developmental psychology, Child development Pages: 6 (2188 words) Published: March 18, 2007
Childhood development and it's implications to entire continents, nations, or more specifically, societies and cultures has gone through much research and development in the past decades. To illustrate, the research and development of childhood theories today involves theorists such as Jean Piaget (1920, e.g. child intellectual development) and Freud (1933, e.g. components of personality) to more recent theorists such as Lev Vygotsky (1934/1962, e.g. stages of cognitive development) and Urie Bronfenbrenner (1995, contextual development) (Sigelman & Rider, 2003). Specifically, the following paragraphs will focus and illustrate on how children develop during infancy and early childhood according to the social relationships and cultural context(s) of the child as an individual or group member. According to (Sigelman & Rider, 2003), development is defined as the changes and adjustments that individuals experience from the time of conception till death. They established that age grades, age norms and the social clock influence the development of individuals (children) socially. To illustrate, age grades are socially classified age groups which include pre-assigned statuses, roles, privileges, and responsibilities. Next, age norms refers to the society's permitted and prohibited behaviours individuals' should and should not do according to one's age. Last, social clock refers to a sense of what and when things have to be done according to one's age norms (Sigelman & Rider, 2003). As society evolves parallel to as time progresses, the context in time becomes very important to understand the social environment. In addition, Valsiner (1988) denotes that social development functions hand-in-hand with the cultural environment. Thus, as we understand the developmental process of the infancy and early childhood stage we must consider two factors such as the social environment and the cultural context of the child as an individual as we answer the developmental questions to attachment formation. According to Drewery and Bird (2004), attachment refers to an affectional bond between two people; and the field of attachment has inspired many theories and theorists in the research of attachment. Sigmund Freud for example, believed that a stable mother-child relationship (attachment) is very important to development (Sigelman & Rider, 2003). Interestingly, many theorists (e.g. Freud, Erickson, and Bowlby) unanimously agree that the very first social relationship (attachment) of an individual is the most important relationship of all (Sigelman & Rider, 2003). Infancy refers to children between the age range of 0 years to 2 years of life whereas early childhood refers to children between the age range of 2 to 6 years of life (Sigelman & Rider, 2003). John Bowlby's research on parent-child and other close relationships was the founding catalyst to "attachment" as commonly used in the field of psychology today. His research initially focused on children that were displaced during and after wars from which he hypothesised based on the work of another psychologist, Renee Spitz, that children who were separated from their mothers developed significantly slower and inferior to their peers. This condition of separation between mother and child was defined as "Maternal deprivation" (Drewery & Bird, 2004). Bowlby (1969) denoted that there are four principle theories that explain the nature of the "attachment theory" he noted. These theories are such as, to begin, the Theory of Secondary Drive states that every child has several physiological needs that drives the child to become attached to his/her mother due to the capability of the mother to care and supply to those needs. Second, he proposed the Theory of Primary Object Sucking where the infant inherently has a predisposition towards the human breast which soon after develops into an attached child-breast or child-mother relationship. Third, the Theory of Primary Object Clinging denotes that infants...

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