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Stages of Growth Child Development, Research Paper Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1338

Research Paper

The period of early adolescence in the lives of everyone is the period of especially evident change. This period embraces children’s ages of 12 to 14 years old, it is a special period because 10-year-olds are considered to still be children, while 14-year-olds are “almost adults”. Cognitive, emotional, and physical changes are found most disturbing as they take place rapidly. At the age of puberty physical changes are viewed through changes in size and shape, body hair growth, development of either breasts and menstruation or testicles. These changes are vivid individually, where some are early bloomers while others are late bloomers. Cognitive changes are as dramatic as physical. During this period children go through the process of identity formation, and often mental changes are vividly demonstrated in emotional lives. These changes allow children to be more able to learn and familiarize more complicating material at school. In this period children are more eager to gain as well as apply the newly acclaimed knowledge. Meanwhile they consider their own ideas, options and perceptions. Public behavior is also changeable, where adolescents behave differently wit their classmates, parents, workers, etc (Ed.gov, 2003). Within the early teenage years, there is consistent and sometimes drastic development changes for children. This continues to grow and enhance in the daily actions of children as they grow older into their middle teenage years. For my son Gavin, he has shown very consistent performance in the classroom and has even taken up many extracurricular activities besides music. However, Gavin is beginning to show signs of sarcastic behavior and slight rebelliousness, which many children his age continue to go through. Our family has seen many different changes in our formation and our location over these years and these environmental adjustments have also likely led to many of Gavin’s changes and developments. Overall, he continues to show strong behavioral changes and has developed many strong moral beliefs that drive his daily activities and thoughts.

Perhaps one of the biggest signs of his cognitive change comes from his behaviors when he interacts with others. Normally, Gavin is very well intentioned and communicates very well, but there are times where he becomes defensive and due to stressful situations he lashes out or shuts down completely. This continues with the fight-or-flight response we have a problem with in his early pre-teen years. When Gavin is upset from a bad day at school, he will usually throw down his book bag and escape to his room to play video games by himself. During these tantrums, Gavin is very difficult to speak with and no matter what rationale I use to speak with him, he will often lash out at me and push me away as a defense mechanism to avoid dealing with the issues. This is an important issue because from a psychological point of view this way of coping with such tantrums and communicating will resemble Gavin’s behavior in his adult life. His mood swings are indeed the cause of emotional and physical formation, which also intertwines with building an individual social identity. Research has proved that early attachments between parents and children resemble the peculiarities of their behavior throughout adulthood (Ainsworth, Bowlby, 1991). If a child seeks comfort from parents when he is frightened, prefers parents to strangers, and returns to parents with positive emotions he will demonstrate trusting and lasting relationships, he will tend to have good self-esteem, he will be able to seek social support in different situations and will feel comfortable sharing feelings with friends and partners (Meadows, 1987). Meanwhile Gavin is showing a more ambivalent attachment behavior. With the aggressive rejection of parental support he is most likely showing that he is not comforted with the presence of a parent, this may directly influence Gavin to being reluctant to become close to others and when his relations would end he would become distraught.

My son has continued to show very strong skills and cognitive abilities in the areas of mathematics and science. He has just qualified to take all AP courses in his senior year of high school and has been preparing very well for the ACT and SAT exams. During his younger years, he used to struggle with writing, but has really taken a strong interest in writing poetry and stories. In fact, I have begun to enjoy reading his stories each time he is able to write another. I continue to support him in these areas as well as his musical interests. He has always excelled in music and has actually started a new rock band to make use of his song writing and singing ability. Gavin has even taught himself to play the guitar, which is his third instrument. I would not be surprised if he continues to use his musical or mathematical skills for a potential career. Engineering may be a useful career for him to make use of his strong mathematical abilities, but he has also continued to show interest in music. The current task is to show him the perspective of what he wants to achieve. It would be wise to further develop his mathematical skills because in adolescence his brain consumes a lot of information, thus he can use this period to achieve and master the knowledge he his most capable in (Cowie, Blades, Smith, 2005). An engineering career in a technical institute would probably suite best, meanwhile Gavin should be explained that he could still proceed in his rock band practices during studies in a university or college.

Although I have done my best to raise Gavin with my own beliefs, there are several factors that have influenced his development outside of my control. For instance, Gavin’s genetics and hormones have recently triggered a strong sexual interest in girls. His father and I have had to discuss sex with him on several occasions to make sure he makes the best decision and engages in safe practices. His friends also play a major role in influencing his development. Gavin continues to want people to like him and his behaviors tailor to this desire forcing him to engage in poor decision-making such as underage drinking and being around individuals smoking marijuana. These behaviors are very detrimental to his development, but they are out of my control. I have learned to express my concerns openly with Gavin and trust him to make the best decisions possible while keeping strict rules and responsibilities. However, his desire to be accepted has led him to other positive outcomes such as joining the baseball team. Gavin emphatically enjoys baseball and being around his friends in this manner. Such behavior in adolescence is typical, where the child tries to be socially popular and often does actions which are plainly irrational and foolish. Gavin is going through physical and cognitive changes which define his essence in society, identifying his interests and developing his psychological character. However in this period a lot of factors are apprehended such as surrounding violence, explicit sexuality, drugs and more in mass media and life. He may get involved into such negative surrounding activities if his parents will not direct him to the correct path. Thereby judging by the actions that Gavin takes, he is most likely also going through a conflict between identity and role confusion (Feiler, 2009). In this age he becoming more independent, it is the naturally psychological stage where the child develops emotionally and physically to a point where he could finally become self-reliant, the period of developing before adulthood.

Resources

Ainsworth, M.D.S. & Bowlby, J. (1991). An ethological approach to personality development’.  American Psychologist, 46, 331-341.

Cowie, H., Blades, M. & Smith, K. (2005). Basic psychology: Understanding Children’s Development. Oxford: Blackwell Press

Ed.gov, (2003). Changes — Helping Your Child Through Early Adolescence. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved Apr. 11, 2010 from http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/adolescence/part4.html

Feiler, R. (2009). Stages of Growth Child Development – Early Childhood and Middle Childhood. Retrieved Apr. 11, 2010 from http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1826/Child-Development-Stages-Growth.html

Meadows, S. (1987). Piagets contribution to understanding cognitive development: an assessment for the late 1980s. Retrieved Apr. 11, 2010 from            http://psychology.about.com/od/loveandattraction/ss/attachmentstyle.htm

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