Developmental Theories Demonstrate How the Two Theories Term Paper

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developmental theories. Demonstrate how the two theories impact child raising practices and ultimately impact personality development.

There are many developmental theories that essentially deal with the psychology of human cognitive development. One of the better-known theories on Cognitive Development is, however, that which was developed by Piaget, known as the 'Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory'. This theory states that children, at various stages of their lives, are faced with certain challenging situations with which they must deal with or face, and they must have the mental abilities and the capacity to deal with such situations. This, in fact, according to Piaget, occurs at several different stages in their developmental process, and when they are able to successfully deal with the situation at that particular stage of their lives, then they would be able to successfully move on to the next stage of cognitive development. As and when every new stage has been reached, there will be a plateau, in which the child or the person would be able to think in advanced and intelligent ways. This theory is, in essence, what a developmental theory is about. (Psychology Glossary) There are many more such theories, and these have been developed by prominent psychologists and psychoanalysts.

The developmental theory developed by Erik Erikson is called the 'Erickson's Eight Stages of Human Development." Erikson states that all human babies are born with a few basic temperaments and also a basic capability to handle things. On the way to adulthood, throughout the age when these babies are growing up, they inadvertently have to pass through certain dramatic changes in their lives, and Erikson states that every individual has to pass through eight such stages in his life. These stages may also be referred to as 'psychosocial changes', and each such stage would be characterized by a different psychological 'crisis', which they must experience and pass through before they can move on to the next psychological crisis. In general, if the individual feels unable to cope, or is maladjusted to any particular stage that he has to pass through in his life, then this would inevitably mean that this individual would be unable to cope with similar situations later on in his life. (Erickson's Eight Stages of human development)

Erikson also states that the very sequence of these several stages of life are in fact set by Nature, and when Nature sets a course, there is nothing that can be done to change or alter it, and everything must move within those set limits. Therefore, the First Stage in Development, according to Erikson, would be that of Infancy, that is, from the age 0 to one. In this first year of an infant's life, it would, out of necessity, have to depend on other people for its food and warmth and for affection, and it would depend on its primary caregivers for these. The infant, therefore, must be able to blindly trust and believe that the parents or caregivers would take care of him, and that they would provide him with all his basic needs and wants.

In this stage, according to Erikson, the crisis situation would be formed by 'Trust vs. Mistrust', and when the infant feels that he can trust the parents completely and fully, then the infant would learn to trust his parents and other caregivers, and also develop a faith in his surroundings and in his environment. This is a positive sign of the trust that he has placed in his parents. However, if the result is negative, and the child fails to receive the love and the care that he expects at this stage in his life, then the result would be negative. Then the infant would learn to mistrust his parents and his environment, and also in things in general, and he even learns to mistrust himself, as well. Therefore, in this first stage of life, when the infant is less than a year old, the trust that the infant places in his parents must not be broken, otherwise, he would be unable to trust anyone else later in his life. (Erickson's Eight Stages of human development)

The Second Stage, according to Erikson, is when the infant is one-year-old, up until when he is two. This is the stage when an infant starts to learn to take acre of some things himself, like for example, he can walk, he can talk, he can use the toilet, and he can do many other small things for himself. This is also the stage when an infant would be able to develop self-confidence. The crisis that may occur at this stage is 'autonomy vs. doubt', or, 'independence vs. shame'. At this stage, the parents must be able to take part in their child's development, and encourage and share in his initiative. They must also be able to reassure their child when he makes the inadvertent mistake or two. When this is done, the child would be able to develop the confidence that is needed to face certain tough situations later on in life, and be an independent and self-confident person. However, when there is negativity at this point, that is, when the parents are over protective, or when they discourage and disapprove of the child's various acts of independence, then the child would either become completely self-doubting, or lose confidence in his ability to do things. (Erickson's Eight Stages of human development)

The Third Stage is when the baby is three years old, till when he is six. This is the time when the child has developed motor skills, and he can interact with his surroundings and the people around him. He can also enjoy the power that his newfound skills can give him. He must, at this stage, learn to control his childish impulses, and behave in a responsible manner, instead of indulging in irresponsible behavior, which may land him in dangerous situations. The crisis that may occur at this stage is initiative, or guilt. When the parents are encouraging, and at the same time, are steady in their disciplining methods, then the child would be able to accept the fact that certain things are definitely not allowed, and there must be no guilt in this acceptance. At the same time, he must believe that he can indeed use his imagination to indulge in make-believe role-play. If this does not happen, then the child would feel guilty, and learn that he must not be independent.

The Fourth Stage, when the child is from ages six to twelve, is the stage of his life when school becomes a very important part of his life, and this is when the child learns to create things, acquire various skills, and use certain tools. All this is achieved when the child is making a transformation from his own home to the world of his peer group. The crisis that may arise during this period is that of 'competence vs. inferiority'. When the parents can encourage their child into learning things for himself, and acquiring pleasure in intellectual stimulation, or from creating things, being productive, using tools, and so on, then they would be able to develop a keen sense of competence and a belief in themselves and their abilities. If this does not happen, the result would be a sense of inferiority. (Erickson's Eight Stages of human development)

The Fifth Stage, that is, when the child is now an adolescent, that is, from twelve to eighteen years old, he is constantly in search of some form of identity that would lead him into adulthood. This is also the stage when most adolescents are frequently troubled by the question, "Who am I?" The conflict at this stage is between the child's 'identities', vs. his 'role confusion'. If the child had been successful in overcoming most of the crisis situations that he had passed when he was growing up, then he would be a better adjusted and a more self-confident and a very well adjusted individual, if not, then he would lack in self-confidence, and would be mistrusting and wary of his surroundings and the people around him. The adolescent would be, if things had gone well in his early years, able to make certain important choices regarding his basic identity, and if he finds that he cannot make these important choices, especially about his vocation, about his life in general, about his sexual orientation, and various other issues, and then role confusion is a real threat. It is at this important stage that the adolescent, full of self-confidence, would be able to make good choices in his life, and be able to establish an identity that would be separate from that of his parents. (Erik Erikson's 8 Stages of Psychosocial Development.)

The Sixth Stage, as described by Erik Erikson, is when the child has now grown form adolescence into young adulthood. This is the stage of life when the crisis that may arise is between his desires for either 'isolation' vs. his desire for 'intimacy'.…[continue]

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