Development is a mover of human civilization. Everything in the world is continuously developing. So do the people. Child development is something that concerns everyone, everywhere and always. Speaking about child development, it is important to emphasize on different aspects of such change. It determines physical development, social, emotional and psychological development. These changes occur during the life, from the birth till the end of adolescence. What is more, each person has his/her individual development. Various factors influence the progress of mankind. Depending on personal qualities, every person reaches one or another level of progress. Among the main factors to influence the development are heredity, culture, nutrition, parental affection, environment, community of existence, school, friends, university and everything that takes about the person during his/her life. All these influences define the personality with its own characteristics. Though people have a lot in common, everyone is unique.
“Development, it turns out, occurs through this process of progressively more complex exchange between a child and somebody else – especially somebody who’s crazy about that child”, said Urie Bronfenbrenner, Russian-American psychologist. It is really hard not to agree with him. Parents, and family at the whole, best friends, favorite teachers have the biggest influence on children. They worry about his/her child’s future and success, that’s why they take an active part in the life of this child. It is also important to mention people about whom the child is crazy. I mean, the closest people, idols whom they often try to copy not only in particular situations but also in everyday life.
According to Teresa McDevitt and Jeane Elis Ormond, there are three main aspects of child development – physical development, cognitive development, and social-emotional development. Even though these spheres are meant to be different and independent from one another, in fact, they are closely connected and subordinate. It is because each aspect of development depends on another aspect; each aspect determines conditions of other sphere of development.
In order to define and characterize physical development, it should be said that it means changes of child’s body, his/her brain and all biological changes. To this development belongs child’s ability to walk, run, control gestures, speak, hear, and feel. It means his/her physical growth. Cognitive development concerns changes in language, memory, concepts, reasoning. It depends on children’s environment, school and community. Speaking about social-emotional development, I must admit that it refers to the changes in self-concept, moral reasoning, behavior, emotions, and motivation. Such development occurs in the child’s inner world, his beliefs by influence of his interactions with others.
Scientists that observe and learn child development find out all the facts and assumptions from their own experiences and practice. Though they believe that all children are developing in the same way, such factors as heredity, nutrition, parental affection and culture determine differences in the children’s growth. What is more, all these factors define changes when they are considered in connection.
Heredity is meant to be the most distinct factor. Genes are different depending on family, their origin, nationality, biological characteristics and personal qualities. Moreover, both parents have differences in these peculiarities. Their child can get them partly or predominantly. It depends whether mother’s or father’s genes are dominant. There cases when children in one family have nothing in common or are almost the same, not to mention children of different origin. Heredity can determine physical characteristics of the child – the growth, weight, skin color, hair, eyes, and stature. It also forms the child’s abilities and skills; views on life and reasoning. Parents’ way of life greatly influences the child’s health. That’s why, it is rather important for parents to keep a healthy way of life. Taking into account this fact, it is consequentially to go to describing another reasonable factor which effects the child development. Nutrition. Painful topic even for adults. Nevertheless, children not of all ages are able to control their nutrition. Before characterizing this factor, it is important to define what nutrition is. It is the so-called combination of food to support life. People should try to eat properly and keep to healthy food avoiding a lot of sugar and salt, fats and junk food. Speaking about children, it should be mentioned that it provides good health, helps to keep fit, and prevents from diseases. At the early ages parents must provide their child with nutrition. They should keep up their child to eat properly when he/she grows up. Though it is so important influence, not all parents have the possibilities to follow such instructions. It depends on their financial status, the way of life and even beliefs. Child will grow up healthier and stronger if he/she eats healthy food. The child will be happier when there is always enough food at home. Vitamins influence child’s physical and mental development. Here again we can see the connection between various factors. One leads to another. With the help of nutrition it is possible for the child to grow up socially and emotionally.
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“Every child has an inner timetable for growth – a pattern unique to him… Growth is not steady, forward, upward progression. It is instead a switchback trail; three steps forward, two back, one around the bushes, and a few simply standing, before another forward leap”, said Dorothy Corkville Briggs, a teacher of both children and adults, dean of girls, school psychologist, and marriage, family and child counselor. And it is definitely true. Where have you seen a group in the kindergarten where children are the same weight, growth and other characteristics? Personal features are determined by above mentioned factors. Most of us has heard in the childhood from our parents that nutrition and healthy food would make us grow up better and faster.
Child development is not only physical changes. Growing up is also becoming a personality with own beliefs, reasoning, behavior and temperament at whole. The most important factor that influences these features is culture. The word “culture” in this context means the country of existence along with traditions and customs, society, upbringing, and national stereotype. Culture is considered to be the most difficult factor to analyze as different regions has dissimilarities in their characteristic features. Society largely affects the child development at the early age. Children are like wire wools that absorb everything that is going around them. National stereotype is something that is ineradicable; it is determined on the reflex level. Scientists were able to define and distinguish different stereotype that made it easier to examine people’s behavior. The great impact on the child growth have their preferences in music, art, films and books. For instance, children who are fond of literature are considered to be more intelligent and comprehensively developed in the future. Reading books has always helped children to gain information and maturate. What is more, different kinds of music also influence children in different ways. It is proved that a portion of classical music per day has a positive effect on the child. At first, parents choose what their children would probably have to watch – animated cartoon, special films and programs for children. Later, their children grow up and they make such choices independently. It is important to decide properly what films to watch in order to avoid cruelty and violence. Culturally rich person will become in case when he/she impose himself/herself wish and love to visiting theaters, art galleries and other cultural events. Taking into account one individual, culture in this case means cultivation of his/her mind and soul. Child’s view on life, his/her attitude towards people, and perception of the world determine this child as a personality. “The idea of childhood must be seen as a particular cultural phrasing of the early part of the life course, historically and politically contingent and subject to change”, said Allison and Adrian James in their book. Cultural changes are determined by child’s knowledge of ethics, rules of conduct and politeness. Highly cultural developed child is better perceived in the civilization; it is easier for him/her to get along with others; moreover, such child is more successful in life as he/she has higher priorities than other children.
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At last, the fourth main factor that determines changes during child development is parental affection. Children who grow up in the loving families are considered to be with better character and more motivated. They will treat others the way their parents did. Without parental affection and attention children become cruel and ill-mannered. It means that such factor as parental affection influences others – culture and all correlated factors.
In conclusion, it should be said that child development is the process of different stages accompanied by physical, mental, social, cultural and emotional changes. Every child overgoes such process in different way. “Children allowed to develop at their own speed will usually win the race of life”, said Fred O. Gosman, U.S author. It is really true, as the closest people and society may influence but not determine the way of development. The most important thing for child is to choose the right path in life.