Term Paper: Child Development the Middle Childhood

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Child Development

The middle childhood is generally considered to be six to twelve years of age. I observed an eight-year-old boy playing at a playground. The boy's name is Chris.

He is smiling a lot so it can be seen that he has lost his baby teeth. Chris is rather tall for his age and he seems to be full of strength He is running, playing on a slide, ascending stairs, playing with a ball. His play is performed in the presence of his father. Chris is a very social individual who is making friends and exploring the world. He is interested in being out in the world with other people, going places, doing things.At eight, children evaluate themselves against the standards of others -parents, peers, and teachers. Because their performance often does not measure up to the perceived standards of others, they can feel inadequate and unhappy. At this age, the seeds of peer pressure are sown. Parents and teachers can help their self-esteem by providing opportunities for successful mastery. High expectations for behavior and school performance are important, but for the eight-year-old these external expectations should be realistic and accompanied by plenty of support and encouragement.

An eight-year-old does not like to be ordered around. For example, Chris has a tendency to spend more time with his play-mates than with his father, as he plays with the other children and at a certain moment he forgets about his father who is just standing there and watching him.

Motor skills are important in social interactions. Chris has excellent gross motor skills as he is running, hopping, kicking the ball. Chris is going down the slide with one of his playmates, like a train, holding on to each another. They are playing with a ball and they are kicking it showing that how flexible he is at his age. Later they are having a game that requires quick moves, so he has to run all over the park, to change direction and to make sudden moves. This shows that Chris is able to control his physical movements and that he has the necessary strength and force to do it.

Playing is very important for a child at this age. It is a way to make friends, to socialize with the other children, to become more popular. Play provides the opportunity for children to test themselves, work out feelings, experiment with roles, learn rules and expectations and develop and practice skills for later years as an eight-year-old, this child was aware of his environment and able to interact within it. He was cognitively aware of people around him and responded to them appropriately. He would respond to questions and ask questions of his own. There was a tendency to look for the attention of the parent within the environment.

There was also a younger boy, approximately five years old who entered the playground that the eight-year-old wanted to help and play with. At this age, positive social encounters and cooperative activity are important aspects which are the foundations of friendship. The interactions with other children add to competition and are a challenge to try new things. At this stage, highly cooperative play is prevalent and it is favored among playing activities. Playing with others helped him in experimenting things away from what he already knew and mastered. Chris is playing games with other children. They are playing games which apparently do not make any sense, but some are games with strict rules. They have to obey these rules, if not they are excluded. He is very communicative, he always laughs and speaks with the others. He enjoys a lot playing with the other children and he is never alone. If a child leaves the playground, he is quickly replaced.

As I said before, Chris has the tendency to forget about his father while he is playing with the other children. This means that the boy has an avoidant attachment style as he avoids or ignores the parent - showing little emotion when his father departs or returns. The child will not explore very much regardless of who is there. Strangers will not be treated much differently from the parent. There is not much emotional range displayed regardless of who is in the room or if anyone is there.

This style of attachment develops from a parenting style which is more disengaged. The child's needs are frequently not met and the child comes to believe that communication of needs has no influence on the parent.

He does not care if his father is there or not, and when some strangers came to the playground with their children he showed them the same attention. He plays with strange children and he does not care if he knows them or not.

While he is playing with his ball, his father is asking for it. At first, he plays with the ball with his father, but when another child asks for the ball he gives it to the boy without caring about his father being left aside. He begins playing with the boy and forgets about his parent.

His parent does not seem to have a problem with this. In fact he seems to be happy that his son is quickly making friends, that he is able to play all by himself, without any help, that he can communicate with the others.And the most important of all is that the father seems to trust his son, even if he is only 8 years old. This means that the parent is a permissive parent. These parents "are more responsive than they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation" (Baumrind, 1991, p. 62). These parents accept child's uniqueness.They provide love, respect, and the feeling of being equals. They encourage their child to correct mistakes and develop capacities. This category of parents is to be admired because they give to their children the freedom to be themselves, they teach them what responsibility is.

Chris is representative for Piaget's concrete operational stage which is occurring between ages 7 and about 12.The third stage of cognitive development is marked by a gradual decrease in centrist thought and the increased ability to focus on more than one aspect of a stimulus. They can understand the concept of grouping, knowing that a small dog and a large dog are still both dogs, or that pennies, quarters, and dollar bills are part of the bigger concept of money.

They can only apply this new understanding to concrete objects (those they have actually experienced). In other words, imaginary objects or those they have not seen, heard, or touched, continue to remain somewhat mystical to these children, and abstract thinking has yet to be developed.

Like Piaget, Erik Erickson (1902-1994) maintained the idea that children develop in a predetermined order. Instead of focusing on cognitive development, however, he was interested in how children socialize and how this affects their sense of self. Erickson's Theory of Psychosocial Development has eight distinct stages, each with two possible outcomes. Chris can be included in the fourth stage, industry vs. inferiority. Children begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments. They initiate projects, see them through to completion, and feel good about what they have achieved. During this time, teachers play an increased role in the child's development. If children are encouraged and reinforced for their initiative, they begin to feel industrious and feel confident in their ability to achieve goals. If this initiative is not encouraged, if it is restricted by parents or teachers, then the child begins to feel inferior, doubting his own abilities and therefore may not reach his potential.

Children develop intellectually, physically and socially, step-by-step, in a progressive manner. Skills are… [END OF PREVIEW]

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