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Human Growth & Development, Essay Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1723

Essay

Abstract

An unknown philosopher contemplating on human growth and development concluded that man begins life with a cry and ends it in stillness. However, during the cry and stillness attempts are made to make the most noise possible (unknown). While this may summarize the whole idea of human progression from birth to old age, scientific studies have gone beyond this analogy to research elements of the noise that actually brings humans to the demise of stillness.In the following pages of this document an analysis of theoretical perspectives espoused by Gesell (1971); Erickson (1995); Piaget (1936); Mahler (1979); Maslow (1943) and Kohlberg (1958), will be referenced in interpreting the noise phase perpetuated by this unknown philosopher.

Psychology: Human Growth and DevelopmentObservation of a 10 year old female

Introduction

An observation of a 10 year old person was conducted and documented during a play interaction with two other older twin siblings in a household with parents. This observation lasted for 45 minutes during which segments of distinct changes in behavior of the subject were recorded. The child was pretending to be a mother with two children who did not want to complete their homework.

The family lives in a house consisting of two stories. This play exercise was carried out on the open lawn at the back of their yard. The scene was set up by mom (10 years old) who took to the back yardbooks, chalk and imitated chalkboard to offer assistance while children (two other siblings) were forced to complete their assignment.

From the setting it was an English Grammar homework wherebystudents had to look into a dictionary and find meanings to words given by their class teacher. There were twenty words to be researched. Precisely, the older twin siblings in this play interaction pretended to be reluctant in finding these words.

Mother (10year old) relentlessly encourages and then begins to discipline them for not completing the work in the time frame she had set. During the instruction help the twin siblings wandered off on the lawn playing and chasing after each other, to her dismay. Eventually, she went into the house and picked up a switch and began chasing after them enforcing that they sit and complete the work. Theymomentarily complied then repeated their objection to the treatment.

After the third time she solicited the help of their parents who then encouraged the boys to comply playfully with their younger sister. Immediately, they voiced their objection to the switch that she used to frighten them into completing the home work. This issue was addressed by both parents who emphasized that the action could be considered abuse in a normal setting and should not be tolerated in the home neither outside of it in the wider society.

Physical (Gesell)

According to Gesell’s (1971)theory of growth and development, comparable as well as parallel measurements of a child’s mental and physical progress can be derived from observations. Precisely, it has been discovered to be an orderly process involving ten milestones. These are detected as motocharacteristics; personal hygiene; emotional expressions; fears and dreams; interpersonal relations; play and past times; self and sex; school life; ethical sense and philosophic outlook (Papalia, 2008)

When these ten criteria are assessed in relation to the observation conducted on this 10 year old it can be deducted that emotional expression; fears and dreams; play and pastimes; school life; interpersonal relations and ethical sense (Papalia, 2008) were the major landmarks in the this 45 minute play interaction among these siblings with their 10 year old Mom play figure.

Even though these milestones may project beyond the physical, spreading across into psychosocial, an important observation was that motocharacteristics wrapped up in desire to chase/ use a switch had to be consistent with the physical growth pattern of a 10 year old. The chasing episodes were intermittent 10-12 minutes periods of the play accounting for approximately 30 of the 45minutres interaction in getting the home work assignment done. Therefore, in this case the play was more motocharaterized than the other ten milestones mentioned by Gesell in his theoretical assumptions.

Psychosocial (Erickson)

Erickson’s (1995) theoretical assumption pertaining to the age group observed related the psychosocial deposition of “Competence: Industry versus Inferiority.” The main question is regarding how I can be good as well as integrating division of labor into daily activities within a social context(Papalia, 2008).

Ten year olds struggle with this identity. Adapting the role of mother this 10 year old is practicing how to be “good.” It begins in ensuring that her children complete their home work on time and follow her instructions as a mother. Even in the presence of disobedience she seeks refuge first for a switch then her parents as a backup plan. Competence is the goal.

Cognitive (Piaget)

Assimilation and accommodation are two major theoretical concepts from Piaget (1936) that are applicable towards enactment of the role play during the observation assignment. Even though theoretically, the role ‘mother’ played by this 10 year old was not new information since she might have observed similar roles played by her mother, it could be considered application of previous knowledge to a new situation(Papalia, 2008).

Perhaps, she never played that game of mother and homework before. However, utilizing the intelligence theory posited by Piaget (1936) regarding assimilation and accommodation the 10 year old intelligence was directed towards adapting measures of compliance in a situation where her identity appeared to be disregarded. Thus, she altered the environment to fit the scene she intended to portray. Clearly, the paradigm posits that assimilation and accommodation are the Siamese twins of the Piaget theory of intelligence.

Object Relations (Mahler)

Margaret Mahler (1979) based her Objective theory from observing behavior in children regarding the emergence of an“objective self.” Psychologically, this could be interpreted as the child’s ideal or suspicious nature derived from interactions with parents during infancy and toddler years. Mahler (1979) emphasizes the separation-individual phase while interpreting self representations in assists in forming a stabled identity which is internalized as “object” (Papalia, 2008).

Precisely, when observing this 10 year old and applying Mahler’s assumption of ‘object relations’ it is clear that this child has already developed the object identity that children ought to be obedient to parents, completing home is important; a bit of spanking could help accomplish parental goals and others can assist in promoting control when violation of parental interest occurs.

Importantly, the subtle portrayal of intolerance of siblings’ continual refusing to settle down and finishing their homework could be interpreted as an infant or toddler ‘object’ interaction whereby parents can enforce disciplinary measures if the child did not comply with orders. It might have been a tap on the hand or something more severe.

Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow)

Evidently, if this 10 year old lower level needs are not met she would not have engaged 45 minutes of her after school time towards play, interacting with her siblings. According to Maslow (1943) this is a healthy psychological development for a child this age.

Basicphysiological needs such as air, food, water, sleep, excretion were all integrated into expression of the play. Safety regarding family shelter, health and the ability to play were apparent available. Friendship among family members, especially, depicted by siblings’ engagement in the play exercise is a security measure that was admirable(Cianci & Gambrel, 2003).

However, self- esteem seemed to have been thwarted when the two siblings insisted that it was not right for them to be chased with a switch as part of the play. Surely, the 10 year old observed that she had to establish authority as ‘mother’ in ensuring that her instructions are obeyed promptly. More development in morality as it relates to self actualization needs to be accomplished by this 10 year old from the interaction observed.

Moral development (Kohlberg & Piaget)

Kohlberg (1958) expanded on Piaget’s(1936) theory of morality to explain that moral reasoning has six developmental stages. More importantly, each one has the ability to response relatively better to moral dilemmas than ones previously conceived. The notion of justice became the core of Kohlberg’s (1958) arguments in contradiction to Piaget’s (1936) logical reasoning perception (Papalia, 2008)

The stages as outlined by Kohlberg are; Level 1(preconventional) – obedience and punishment orientation (avoiding punishment) with self interest orientation. At Level 11(conventional) are interpersonal accord and conformality along with authority and social order maintenance. Level 3(Postconventional) Social contract orientation and universal ethical principles(Kail & Cavanaugh, 2004).

From observing the play homework completion assignment, this 10 year old displayed awareness regarding development of the obedience and punishment orientation model inclusive of self interest. The variation lay in her initiating punishment being self interest motivated. This self interest travels into level 11 where the desire is conformity integrating imposed authority as “mother’ and social orderin compliance with school rules (Papalia, 2008)

It is not clear; however, when parents were required to join the play by intervening regarding the switch used to impose discipline, that this 10 year old understood the universal ethical principle related to using the switch which is corporal punishment. By other siblings identifying their disapproval of the method of order re-enforcement and parents supporting it did not clarify if the 10year old learnt the lesson from the reprimand. The only way this would be known is if the play homework is repeated and re-observed.

Conclusion

In the foregoing pages of this report growth and development of a10 year old female school aged child was observed at home with siblings and parents in a partial role play/real life environment. Based on the measurements and theoretical applications from Gesell (1971); Erickson (1995); Piaget (1936); Mahler (1979); Maslow (1943) and Kohlberg (1958) except for minor variations this 10year old exhibited characteristics consistent with age and psychosocial development (Papalia, 2008).

Moral development seems to be the area of weakness. Theoretical arguments are that people irrespective of age often struggle with the development of a moral conscience. Maybe, this explains the existence of prisons in modern societies, because individual morality seems to be in conflict with established social order (Bunch,2005).Hence, the recommendation is for more investigations from a socio-psychological perspective into what constitutes morality;how and by whom it is defined.

References

Bunch, Wilton H. (2005). “Changing moral judgment in divinity students”. Journal of Moral Education34 (3): 363–370.

Cianci, R., Gambrel, P.A. (2003). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: Does it apply in a collectivist culture. Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, 8(2), 143-161.

Kail, R. V., & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2004). Human development: A life-span view. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.

Papalia Diane (2008) Human Growth and Development (11th Ed). New York McGraw-Hill Higher Education

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