In this essay, I will be presenting a developmental observation of my nephew Jerry. Jerry is in middle school, and he is around eight and a half years old. Jerry is the son of my elder sister, and we have interacted since he was born. Consequently, his overall development is of great importance to me because I have witnessed him undergo vital stages of development including learning how to talk, read, write, ride a bike, and play video games.
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Jerry and his family that includes a mother, father, and younger brother live in the suburbs. Most of my interactions with Jerry occur whenever I visit his family mostly on weekends and holidays. On most of these occasions, we play either a video game or soccer with Jerry and his brother. On a few occasions, we go on hiking expeditions or visit the local animal orphanage.
One of the most prominent features in Jerry’s development is his competitive stance. I have noticed that Jerry is quite competitive whenever he engages in any activity. For example, Jerry is always quick to inform me about his class ranking at the end of every semester. This particular development can be explained using the psychosocial theory that was developed by Erik Erikson. According to Erikson, when human beings are between the ages of 6 and 11 years, they are in the “industry versus inferiority” stage of development (Rathus 59).
During this stage of development, children are mainly learning to be self-confident through their interactions with their age mates and the encouragement that they receive from their authority figures. This theory explains why Jerry is eager to compete with me in activities that make him feel confident. Besides, Jerry continues to feel confident because his school’s ranking system reinforces his educational prowess.
Jean Piaget’s theory of development puts Jerry in the concrete operations stage of development. According to Piaget, during the concrete operations stage “children can reason logically about concrete objects and events” (Piaget 35). Last summer during my grandfather’s funeral, Jerry was asking various questions about this particular event. This line of questioning continued for at least one week, and it was an indicator of concrete reasoning. Previously, Jerry only differentiated car models using their size as a guide. However, Jerry is beginning to recognize that some small car models such as Mercedes Benz and Ferrari can have higher values than some bigger vehicles.
This form of ‘scientific’ thinking is in line with Piaget’s concrete operations stage of development. Jerry’s introduction and subsequent fascination with the world of video games are other examples of his introduction to the concrete operations stage of development. Nevertheless, Jerry is often unable to unravel situations that require high levels of abstract reasoning. For instance, whenever I perform a magic trick for Jerry and his brother he often tries in vain to discover what transpires.
Using various theories of development, I can describe and define most of Jerry’s behaviors and mannerisms. This developmental observation exercise reveals that Jerry is in Erick Erickson’s industry versus inferiority stage of development.
On the other hand, some of Jerry’s actions align with Piaget’s concrete operations stage of development. Jerry is competitive in both sports and academic work although he is still unable to unravel the things that he considers ‘mysteries’. These observations enable me to understand most of my nephew’s mannerisms. Furthermore, I can promote activities that will aid in his development. I often look back into the stages of development that Jerry has gone through and reflect on them from a psychological point of view.
Piaget, Jean. Piaget’s theory, Berlin: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2006. Print.
Rathus, Spencer. Childhood and adolescence: Voyages in development, New York: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.