Individual capacities are generalized abilities or skills necessary to achieve desired outcomes. According to Antonovsky (1996) what all capacities have in common, is that they foster repeated life experiences that help one to see the world as making sense, cognitively, instrumentally, and emotionally. These experiences motivate people to address challenges (meaningfulness), enhance their ability to understand current and future challenges and support the attitude that one can utilize available resources to meet challenges (Antonovsky, 1996). The importance of well developed and integrated capacities for enhancing or maintaining good health lead to the interesting issue of how these capacities develop.
This essay is aimed to examine broad issues of child development. For this purpose the author observed a child (a one-year-old infant from neighbors) and then had a brief interview with the parents as how they interaction with the baby and how she react and learn.
Human Development and Psychology
From a complex integrationist perspective, human a development is considered the consequence of bidirectional person-environment transactions over time. The term transaction is used to emphasize that individuals play an active role, not only in their own development but also in transforming the physical and social environments they are exposed to and embedded in. Complex interactions operations of multiple factors operating within individuals, between individuals, between individuals and their physical and social environments, and between different levels of society.
Individuals are feeling, thinking, and behaving, biological systems that use these processes to determine, sense, perceive, and respond to aspects of a changing social environment. All behavior, therefore, require simultaneous functioning across and between psychomotor, cognitive, social-emotional, and biological (i.e. neurological) domains regardless of whether the behavior is in the service of a primarily cognitive, social or emotional goal.
Capacities emerge naturally as children actively observe, imitate, negotiate, and practice the routines, concepts and skills that surround and involve them. Children require repeated opportunities to observe and practice developing skills in different contexts. Parents play a seminal role in the developmental process because infants' early experiences with the physical and social environment typically occur in the context of the family. Parents function to guide, encourage, and support children's naturally developing initiative to control their physical and social environments in socially acceptable ways. From the beginning parents provide a structure through which children experience the world. Through the provision of functional and play routines, children begin to anticipate and therefore act meaningfully on their environment. Furthermore, parents go about controlling the environment in full view of developing children, revealing causal and controllable relationships. Parents directly teach specific behaviors and skills, and provide feedback. Finally, parents naturally engage children in activities that require communication, problem solving, emotional regulation, social skills, and motivation to decide on and achieve personal and share goals.
There has been increasing theoretical acceptance in child development, and in related fields, of the transactional-ecological model of human development in which the human personality is viewed as self-righting mechanism that is engaged in active, ongoing adaptation to his/her environment (Sameroff & Fiese, 1990, 2000). Further interactions between the individual and his or her environment are both multidirectional and complex (Bronfenbrenner, 1974). Both individual and their environments are transformed as a consequence of such transactions.
The experiences of the child adapting and interacting with its environment over time affect health by transforming capabilities, as well as personal and social resources. These transformations involve psychological changes in the organism and its preparedness to deal with new challenges (physical capabilities). Master or adaptive experiences also develop and strengthen access to attitudes, knowledge, and skills that can be called upon to deal with new challenges (personal resources). Finally, the physical and social environments themselves may be transformed as a consequence of actions of the individual whose health, in turn, in thus affected. Examples include building support networks and the resources to acquire food and shelter (social resources).
Theories of child development are a key component in the understanding of human biological and psychological growth from birth to adolescence. There are several theories in psychology that seek to explain child development in order to explain how we grow and become adults.
In western psychology, many theories of child personality development have been crated. Erik Erikson (1950-1968), a post-Freudian theorist, extends many aspects of Freud's theory of psychological development to create the foundation for his own which introduces the role of social aspects of development. Erikson is widely known and regarded for providing a valuable understanding of human social development. In his theory, child development is explained as an interaction between the biological, cognitive, and the social worlds of child. For Erikson 'ego-identity,' is central to the development of the child's personality.
Erikson's theory is normative, stating that every human will pass through the same phases of development. Also, his theory reveals an understanding of human development from a social and biological perspective. In some cultures certain social aspects differ, especially in the underdeveloped world. Erikson's stages provide a framework of what to expect with regard to human development in general.
Before conducting interview with mother, I observed the child for 30 minutes and noted the child was healthy and active and responded enthusiastically to her parents. However, as I was stranger to her, she was reluctant to come to me and respond to my offering of eatables.
The research on psychological development show that the informative value of contingent experience for personal agency can be greatly enhanced by creating conditions that encourage infants to try controlling actions by linking outcomes closely to actions, by using aids to channel infants' attention to the outcomes they are producing, and by heightening the salience of functional value of the outcomes (Bandura, 1997). Mrs. Sam told me that they use toys for the education and development of their child and try to teach her using this theory.
Microanalysis of familial interactions (Papousek & Papousek, 1979) show that parents naturally structure contingent experiences in ways that help infants discover that their actions have social effects. Parents, for instance, establish close eye contact with their infant to ensure adequate attentiveness. Mrs. Sam described that she attends and responds to her needs and thus her daughter has learned that whenever she is in need of her mother she will get her attention. Further, she has started walking a little bit and tries to speak small sentences following her parents.
Parents react to their infant's actions quickly and animatedly to create highly noticeable proximal effects. Further, to aid the infant's perception that actions produce outcomes, the transactions are often repeated in rapid succession. Finally, parents often engage their children in game or play routines that highlight cause and effect relationship, such as imitation games and peak-a-boo (Papousek & Papousek, 1979). In all these examples, parents respond contingently to infants interests but in particular ways that scaffold their infant's awareness of causal relationships.
Longitudinal studies in which parents are explicitly taught how to provide their infants with experiences of mastery demonstrate that enabling influences during infancy build a sense of agency conducive to cognitive development. Infants who are taught how to be causative are more cognitively competent in childhood than those who have not had the benefit of these early mastery experiences (Bandura, 1997). Thus it is very important to teach parents and strategies and latest research about child psychological development so that they may bring up their children in a better way.
Premature infants of disadvantaged, unmarried mothers make big gains in cognitive development when mother are taught how to give them challenging tasks that encourage them to initiate activities and produce effects with changeable objects (Scarr-Salapatek & Williams, 1973). The more enabling mastery activities the mothers provide their infants, the better is their cognitive development.
When infant behaviors are not responded to immediately and accurately, the infant experiences distress. Under conditions of stress, a series of hormones are secreted that increase heart rate, alter the processing of glucose, and dilate the pupils (Cynader, 1999). Chronic stress, or conditions of stress that are uncontrollable can cause depression of the immune system and impair brain functioning. According to Cynader and Frost (1999), "there is evidence that repeated and prolonged exposure to stress hormones cause neurons to die. Further, emerging evidence suggests that neurons in the brain that are most ready to learn are the most vulnerable to the cell death and degeneration associated with chronic stress" (p. 174-175). Consequently, contingently responding to infant needs decrease infant distress and thereby support infant states that are more conductive to learning. Mrs. Sam (The mother) also confirmed that her baby gets irritated when there is no one to respond to her and when she ignores her.
The parents in this case told me that they are continuously in touch with their infant. She was very responsive. She describes her needs initially weeping, when she sees something interesting around her like a toy, or any shining object she expresses excitement tries to run toward that and…