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Development: Infancy Through Adolescence Essay

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Updated: Jun 17th, 2021


The evaluation of physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development in different age groups of childhood can be made due to the observation of specific subjects and conversations with them. As targeted participants in the study, a 7-year-old boy and a 14-year-old adolescent will be engaged. They belong to distinctive age groups; therefore, their indicators are likely to be different. For the analysis, theoretical concepts will be involved, and the academic studies of various authors will be used as a justification.

As key assessment criteria, the respondents’ answers and the observations of their behavior during the interview process will be used. It is assumed that the development of both subjects is not characterized with any deviations; however, for more detailed evaluation, the findings will be analyzed in detail, and the data obtained will be used as a rationale for recommendations.


The use of modern theories to assess the development of children and adolescents makes it possible to analyze much information about the principles of maturation. The methods of upbringing that are promoted today allow parents to receive maximum data about the characteristics of their children’s natures, difficulties at certain stages, and the ways of intervention. At the same time, distinctive traits among different age groups are significant, which is manifested not only in unique stages of development but also in the perception of the surrounding world.

Based on the previously conducted interviews with two subjects, it is possible to perform comparative analysis and determine whether certain interventions are reasonable and which distinctive features the respondents have.

This work involves the evaluation of the answers obtained and the review of those age norms that should be taken into account in specific cases. As a justification, topical academic sources will be utilized to support certain facts and arguments. Assessing the lifestyles of children and adolescents, analyzing their cognitive, social, physical, and emotional skills, and comparing specific indicators among two age groups may help to provide a comprehensive picture of their development.

Analysis of Behavioral Observation Forms

In order to identify similar and distinctive features in the development of two age categories, it is required to consider the data of the completed observation forms based on interviews with two subjects. As respondents, a 7-year-old boy and a 14-year-old adolescent were interviewed, and conversation with them is the main evaluation criterion. Among the key questions included in the survey, the subjects were asked to respond to how they perceived the world around them and communicate with their parents and peers, whether they had any difficulties with socialization, whether they had secrets and fears, and what environment was optimal and comfort for them.

The evaluation of the answers allowed making a comprehensive picture of the respondents’ satisfaction with their living conditions. Also, on the basis of the analysis, data on their cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development were obtained. The assessment of their behavior during the interview was one of the factors affecting the final conclusions.

As a theoretical basis for analyzing the answers of respondents, the stage theory described by Steinberg, Vandell, and Bornstein (2010) was used to compare specific data. Based on the provisions of this methodology, it was possible to determine whether the levels of development corresponded to the standards that were typical for the age groups of the subjects. According to Steinberg et al. (2010), at each stage of life, any child acquires new skills and, starting from the infancy period, valuable attainments develop, for instance, sensorimotor practice.

Also, the theory of external influences was considered one of the factors determining the effect on children and forming their view of the world. Steinberg et al. (2010) note that habits adopted by a child at an early age are gradually strengthened and can become the wrong behavioral patterns. All these theoretical aspects were used to determine the impact of various factors on the development of both respondents and to identify those areas of evaluation that deserved attention.

Comparison of the Results Obtained

Based on the aforementioned criteria, the comparison of the two age categories (middle childhood and adolescence) may be conducted. In accordance with the results of the two interviews, it can be noted that the 7-year-old boy behaved more relaxed and did not experience discomfort during the conversation. The teenager, on the contrary, demonstrated a feeling of mild anxiety, and it was noticeable that he was not very pleased to answer questions related to his personal life.

The child willingly maintained the dialogue and did not show stress, telling in detail about his experience at school and communicating with his peers and parents. The adolescent respondent answered with short phrases and tried to avoid unnecessary details. Unlike the child, the 14-year-old boy did not use the non-verbal means of communication, which indicates his insufficiently developed emotional level and the lack of interest in the conversation. When assessing the behavior of both subjects, it can be argued that the 7-year-old boy was more relaxed and felt more confident than the second survey participant who was not ready to share his experience.

Interpretation of the Respondents’ Skills

In order to compare the data of the respondents of the two age groups in more detail, it is necessary to assess such aspects as the skills of physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. In each of these criteria, there are certain requirements regarding certain ages, and compliance with these standards is the evidence of the child’s normal growth and an ability to accumulate the experience gained. The deviation from the indicators, on the contrary, allows talking about some violations in children’s perception of the surrounding world and problems caused by different reasons, both internal and external. To analyze and compare factors, modern educational practices and theories need to be applied to detect specific developmental difficulties and identify potentially important areas for intervention.

Physical Skills

In terms of the features of physical development, both respondents meet the standards of their age. In this case, the aforementioned stage theory proposed by Steinberg et al. (2010) proves that the children do not have abnormalities that can affect their growth adversely. During the conversation, neither of the boys demonstrated any physical impairment, although the 7-year-old child was more active and energetic than the adolescent.

Cognitive Skills

When assessing the cognitive skills of respondents, it can be noted that the boy of middle childhood is more curious and shows more interest in the world than the adolescent. In accordance with the theory of adaptation reviewed by Steinberg et al. (2010), cognition may be considered “the process whereby knowledge is altered by experience” (p. 125). In this case, the 7-year-old boy is young enough to have a unique personal understanding of the world around him, and his interest in studying nature is due to the desire to gain valuable knowledge.

In the case of the teenager, it is possible to observe the lack of any desire for new experience, and Steinberg et al. (2010) argue that the role of parents, in this case, is essential. It may be their ignorance and indifference that can be the cause of the adolescent’s lack of initiative. Encouraging the development of cognitive skills should take place from an early age, and the role of family members is significant.

Social Skills

Regarding social skills, both respondents have a certain social circle, but the 7-year-old boy talks about his communication with peers and family members more readily than the 14-year-old teenager. As Schonert-Reichl et al. (2015) note, the adaptive theory providing for interaction with relatives and other people as one of the factors of development is a relevant methodology. The adolescent confirms that periodic conflicts with family members happen, and he does not talk about his friends in detail. The 7-year-old boy, on the contrary, shares his experience willingly and argues that he spends a lot of time with his family.

Although he feels more comfortable at home than at school, he maintains good relations with his peers. Such a difference in socialization is due to the fact that the adolescent’s denial of most adults’ opinions leaves a certain imprint on his level of communication. Those secrets that the teenager does not want to share with anyone are evidence of his cautious attitude towards others, including relatives, and the older respondent proves this theory.

Emotional Skills

The emotional development of children is closely related to cognitive since mental growth directly affects the perception of the surrounding reality and the manifestation of feelings. According to the survey of the middle childhood respondent, he does not experience any fears and hidden experiences, which, as Schonert-Reichl (2015) remark, is the evidence of normal growth and the lack of propensity for deviant behavior.

The adolescent has a lower emotional level, which is associated with his immunity to external irritants and the desire to hide personal feelings. This outcome probably indicates that in childhood, the teenager did not have a diverse experience, and parents are also responsible for this omission. Therefore, in terms of emotional skills, the younger respondent is more developed than the older one.

Summary of Appropriate Age Norms

When assessing age norms that are typical for the subjects in question, it can be noted that both respondents do not have obvious developmental abnormalities, although their indicators differ. Despite the older age of the adolescent, his emotional state is weaker than that of the child. However, regarding the physical, social, and cognitive aspects of growth, the subjects correspond to their age groups. The temperament of the teenager in relation to communication with family members is explained by changes in his worldview that occur at the stage of puberty.

According to VanderLaan, Leef, Wood, Hughes, and Zucker (2015), mental disorders, such as autism or gender dysphoria, take place at an early age, and both respondents have already passed the phase at which these problems manifest themselves. In general, the development results do not differ from the average indicators, and any additional interventions of specialists are not required. Nevertheless, psychologists may work with the adolescent and him to maintain his positive emotional state.


Some differences in behavioral and other features of the growth of the two subjects in question are due to the environment in which they are brought up and, as a consequence, their distinctive views. As Steinberg et al. (2010) note, the phases of social, physical, emotional, and cognitive development depend on various factors, including relationships with family members and peers.

Based on the data presented, the 7-year-old respondent demonstrated a higher interest in interacting with people, which is partly due to the upbringing promoted by his parents and his personal interests. In the 14-year-old adolescent experiencing the onset of puberty, hormone outbursts and other phenomena that are typical for this age affect his perception of the surrounding world and relationships with other people. As a recommendation, psychological help can be provided to the teenager if he confirms his difficulties in the process of socialization and agrees to interact with the medical staff.


For the comprehensive picture of the development of two age groups, observation and interviews were conducted regarding the respondents’ characteristics of cognitive, social, physical, and emotional skills. Based on the information obtained, both the 7-year-old child and the 14-year-old adolescent do not have deviations, although the teenager has some problems with communicating with family members and the insufficiently high level of feelings expression. The theoretical concepts utilized confirm that both respondents have sufficient skills to adapt to the environment. As a recommendation, the help of psychologists may be needed, which can be aimed at restoring the adolescent’s positive emotional background.


Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Oberle, E., Lawlor, M. S., Abbott, D., Thomson, K., Oberlander, T. F., & Diamond, A. (2015). Enhancing cognitive and social-emotional development through a simple-to-administer mindfulness-based school program for elementary school children: A randomized controlled trial. Developmental Psychology, 51(1), 52-56. Web.

Steinberg, L., Vandell, D., & Bornstein, M. (2010). Development: Infancy through adolescence. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

VanderLaan, D. P., Leef, J. H., Wood, H., Hughes, S. K., & Zucker, K. J. (2015). Autism spectrum disorder risk factors and autistic traits in gender dysphoric children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(6), 1742-1750. Web.

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