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Childhood and Middle Age Growth and DevelopmentEssay

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Childhood and Adolescent Development

Comparison between boys and girls in middle childhood

The WHO merged data sets form a smooth transition at five years for BMI-for-age, weight-for-age, and height-for-age. For BMI-for-age the magnitude of difference between the 2 curves at 5 years of age is between 0.0 kg/m2 and 0.1 kg/m2. At 19 years of age, BMI values were 25.0 kg/m2 and 25.4 kg/m2 for girls and boys respectively at +1 SD (standard deviation), while +2 standard deviation values were 29.7 kg/m2 for both boys and girls (de Onis, 2006). According to statistics from the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), only 36% of 2 to 3 years olds and 44% of 4 to 5-year-olds engage in unorganized physical and sport activity every week. Adolescence is a period of change and challenge to any teenager. For females gross motor skills (speed, endurance and strength), improve gradually and plateau at age fourteen; adult height is reached at age fifteen or sixteen. For boys there is significant spurt in speed, strength and endurance (de Onis et al., 2007).

2. Erikson's stages discuss the typical developmental progress of the child from infancy to middle childhood

Erickson's theory of personality development describes individual development as a phenomenon that occurs through a sequence of 8 bipolar phases across one's lifespan (Sneed, Whitbourne & Culang, 2006). During the initial stage, the baby develops trust in her caregivers. In the first 3 months infants are completely self-absorbed. However, by the 7th month, the child identifies attachment figures and exhibits separation anxiety towards other individuals. Sameness and continuity of experience is important since it helps in the development of self-identity. If this development is denied the child turns all his or her own urges to manipulate and to discriminate against him or herself. The development of a sense of self-control that is devoid of any loss of self-esteem results in a long-lasting sense of pride and goodwill. Initiative adds the quality of planning and doing a task to autonomy for the sake of the child being active and on the move. The elementary school period is one in which feelings of inferiority develop. There is a need to support children in this period so that they can tackle the challenges of education (Sneed et al., 2006; Capps, 2012).

3. Pre-operational child and concrete operational child according to Piaget and how this will be manifested both at home and in the classroom

According to Piaget the concrete phase is a major stage in the cognitive development of the child, since it marks the beginning of operational/logical thought. This child is now considered mature and can utilize logical thought (i.e. rules). Children in this phase are often between ages 7 to 11 years old. They gain abilities of reversibility and conservation (children can understand the concepts of volume, area, and numbers in the classroom or the orientation of the home environment). Their thinking is more rational. Though they can solve problems logically, they are usually not able to think hypothetically or abstractly. Preoperational stage is that between 2 and 7 years old. At this stage the child can't use logic. The child can't also separate or combine ideas. An infant's development entails building experiences through adaptation and moving towards the stage (concrete) where it can utilize logical thought. Near the end of this stage children can have often gained semiotic function (can have mental representations of objects and events) and can participate in symbolic play (Wilberg, 2002; Wavering, 1984).

4. Increased capacity to take more information and effects on self-concept, emotional understanding, perspective taking, and moral understanding

Self-concept primarily occurs with regards to name, location and physical characteristics. Children begin to define themselves with regards to feelings, personality and thoughts. Family is significant in making children understand that they are worthy and competent. Peers are also important for self-esteem. During middle childhood children have often developed a sense of empathy (Groeben, Perren, Stadelmann & Klitzing, 2011). The ability of children to cope and deal with distressful situations increases. At this age, girls with poor self-regulation freeze with anxiety, while boys tend to react with hostility. School age children have the ability to describe emotions by talking about their internal states (happy or sad). At around age eight, children become aware that they can experience more than one emotion at the same time, each of which can differ in intensity (Hoglund, Lalonde & Leadbeater, 2008). In middle childhood self-conscious emotions of guilt and pride are no longer governed by adult monitoring but by personal responsibility. More self-awareness and social sensitivity adds to the gains made in terms of emotional competence in middle childhood. Changes occur in the experience of emotional understanding and self-regulation and self-conscious emotions (Groeben et al., 2011; Hoglund et al., 2008).

5. Sequence of hormone changes that produce the adolescent growth spurt and entrance into puberty and impact on body image. Gender differences that may exist in this developmental process.

The concentration of sex hormones is usually very low in childhood, even though exogenous gonadotrophins increase production. The low concentration of sex hormones inhibits the production of gonadotrophins in girls in puberty. At puberty the hypothalamic-pituitary system changes and becomes less sensitive to suppression by the low concentration of sex hormones, resulting in the release of Gn-RH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone). Gn-RH begins stimulating luteinizing hormone and resulting in a huge increase in ovarian production hormone -- the FSH. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), is the key stimulus for the secretion of estrogen, it stimulates a follicle to mature and thus ovulation follows (Acerini et al., 2012; Eugster, 2009).

In boys the first change in puberty is the enlargement of the testes and the scrotum. As the two continue to enlarge, the penis elongates and then the penis grows both in length and size. In girls the first puberty change is the development of breast buds. The areola increases in size at this time and breasts begin to enlarge. The nipples and areolas then elevate and form a projection on the breasts. There is growth of pubic hair in both girls and boys (Tfayli & Arslanian, 2007; Acerini et al., 2012; Eugster, 2009).

6. Development of the adolescent's cognitive processes from concrete to formal operations, according to Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development and how a teacher should accommodate this shift in the classroom

From ages twelve to eighteen, children grow in their thinking as they move from concrete thinking to formal operations. It is crucial to understand that each child grow at their own rate, with their own views about the world; some of them are able to utilize logical operations in their classwork long before they start utilizing them in dealing with their personal problems. A child's ability to think in complex logical ways can be affected by emotional issues (Martins, Lauterbach, Lu's, Amaral, Rosenbaum, Slade & Townes, 2013; Hoglund et al., 2008).

According to Piaget, adolescence is the time when teenagers move beyond the restrictions of concrete mental operations and start thinking in a more abstract way. Piaget called this new ability 'formal operations'. 'Formal operations' is the ability to perform mental operations using intangible and abstract concepts such as "justice." Teenagers at adolescence also seemed to be able to be more logical and scientific in their thinking; Piaget called this type of thinking "hypothetico-deductive reasoning." This ability has practical applications because it allows teenagers to choose the most logical solutions to questions they face in the class environment. Also a teacher can, through the observations of the students' expressions, behaviours, appearance and comments, interpret or make reasonable guesses about what the students want, or what they are thinking (Martins et al., 2013; Peverly et al., 2002).

7. Comparison of Erikson's & Marcia's theories of adolescent identity

According to Erikson, babies develop their identities through their experiences with their mothers. Each one of us goes through 8 stages of conflicts in understanding the world. Children must go through these stages and emerge from each stage with a favourable percentage of positive over the negative (Crain, 2000). Erickson's psychosocial theory of individual development describes the 8 stages that humans go through across their lifespan. At each of these stages a developmental crisis has to be resolved. The word crisis refers to psychological issue which if resolved enables a person to take a crucial step in their development. An unresolved crisis can impede further development (Johnson, 2006).

Marcia describes 4 identity challenges faced by adolescents. Theories should be utilized to understand human behaviour and not to predict it. Psychosocial development is defined as natural changes that occur in humans over time. According to stage theory, each person goes through the same stages in a predictable order, but not necessarily at the same pace. Children think in a different way compared to adults because they look at the world differently. Adolescence is thus a period of intense experimentation and exploration on different dimensions and levels. The reasons for our behaviours provide us with a sense of our… [END OF PREVIEW]

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