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John Santrock Life Span Views and Experiences Term Paper

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Updated: May 25th, 2020


John Santrock views lifespan development as essential in human life. Research in human development motivated Santrock to result in the well-researched documentation of childhood development. Specifically, Santrock zeros in on the management of vast volumes of content that is intrinsic to life span development and the assurance of its dependability on assigned material in the learning. This term paper focuses on diverse views of life span based on experiences of an individual and the accompanying concepts of psychological theory. The contemporary research is about personal experiences in view of John Folk-Williams childhood.

Main Body

The Experience

John is currently working to rebuild his self-esteem. He states that he is not sure whether or not the lack of it supported despair or despair slew the self-esteem. Though it is not important any longer, John’s childhood was full of confidence. He was sure of who he was and felt like a whole person. However, the feeling never took off into maturity. What happened in his childhood was filled with psychic interplanetary. He indicates that he never felt as a child as it should be. Some of the experiences were good, while others were bad. John reminisces that something was terribly wrong. Most of the events that he was experiencing were not good enough. His parents never paid as much attention as a child requires between the ages of 3 and adolescence. The parents were too engaged in accumulating wealth, and alcohol consumption derived from strained marriage.

As a child, one does not comprehensively analyze himself/herself. Children look upon their parents for something. Unfortunately, John did not get much of the ‘anything’ from the parents. Instead, he became quite hard that made him sink deeper. The words and the tone John received from his alcoholic parents were devastating. As he grew up, he sought cues to become more relevant in society. He was anxious and only waited for a signal that would launch his dream. However, this never came to be as John grew into adulthood, capable but still shaky inside. He spent considerable time with psychotherapists. According to John, he struggled in making the link between life with family and his altered individuality. He perceived himself as possessing self-conquering conduct and miserable.

When I asked about his childhood experiences and how he was reacting to the same, John said that he had written and documented a number of incidents and unmet needs. He adds that in recent years, he had supplemented the list with many things that he initially assumed as isolated cases of a child who was undisciplined and rebellious. John took a moment to add that these parts of the long-gone past precipitously shaped up to create what he views as the bigger image of his childhood and the naivety attached to child development.

John states that all the experience he had undergone finally dawned on him when he was reading a report. The report abridged research conducted on the effect of diverse types of childhood mistreatment on the mental challenges that progress later in life. These psychological problems include depression. John admits that he never thought of himself as having an abusive childhood considering that the parents never beat him. He only experienced negligence from both parents. The lack of attention from the parents had made him unsociable.


The childhood mistreatment that John experienced was not evident to him as he grew up. However, when he realized that the depression he felt emanated from his experience, he chose to help children who were going through the same. He formed an organization meant to mentor children with the involvement of their parents. He has managed to alter the attitude of many parents who unconsciously let their children sink into depression due to lack of attention and parental guidance.

Short-term and long-term effects

The majority of children who experience maltreatment, including lack of parental attention, exhibit noteworthy psychological, behavioral, and emotional problems. In the short-term, Folk-Williams exhibited psychosomatic conditions, including depression. These included stuttering, nervousness and doubts, academic failure, and problems in interacting with peers. The lack of parental attention in his early childhood resulted in him lacking proper social skills and the development of an egocentric personality. However, Folk-Williams indicated that he realized these shortcomings while in high school and sought the assistance of psychologists.

Textbook Interpretation

For centuries, childhood development has been overlooked. Minute attention was given to the diverse developments in cognitive capabilities and the physical growth of kids as they are simple versions of adults. The study of child development emerged in the 20th century. However, it seemed to focus on the abnormal behavior of children. Gradually, scholars progressively got interested in various topics about childhood development.

In his book, John Santrock (2013) pays attention to a variety of childhood development concepts. Among the outstanding theories of childhood development that Santrock writes about are psychoanalytic child development, Cognitive child development, and behavioral child development theories. The theorists addressed include Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, and John Watson. In view of John Folk-Williams’ experience in childhood, psychoanalytic child development, and behavioral child development theories are applied. In respect to Sigmund’s theory, Folk-Williams had a problem in psychoanalytic development.

The relationship between his parents made him despise marriage life. Child development is defined by Sigmund as a sequence of psychosexual stages. Each of the stages entails the gratification of instinctual biological drives. The stages later play a role in an adult’s life. Folk-Williams’ childhood was devoid of a father-figure, and the mother was virtually absent in his life as well. When a child misses any of these stages, they develop an obsession that influences their relationship with the opposite gender (Cherry, 2014).

According to Sigmund, the childhood experiences and events that take place in a child are significant in an individual’s life. Folk-Williams childhood was full of anxiety due to the limited attention he received from the parents. The result was detested for women while he viewed men as negligent. The situation was a paradox for him as he would not understand why the parents were negligent.

He considered himself as a bad one and the parents as reacting to his conduct. In view of theorist Erikson, development occurs in every stage of a person’s lifespan. The theorist held that every stage of physical and psychological development regards overcoming an encounter. Consequently, children require parental support to overcome these challenges. For example, the main encounter a child faces before the age of ten is the development of a sense of belonging. The lack of this feeling results in low self-esteem, and a child becomes withdrawn. When the situation continues without rectification, the child becomes depressed, affecting cognitive development.

Jean Piaget asserted that children reason differently from adults. The relationship they have with those around them determines their cognitive development. They perceive what the others are doing as either right or wrong, depending on the reaction of those around them. When children misbehave, and the parent reprimands them, they are likely not to repeat the same mistake in the future. However, when parents overlook such misbehaviors, the child assumes that it is the right thing to do. When good behavior is appreciated by the parent, the child is likely to repeat the same in the future. Consequently, when parents pay attention to their children, the child learns to differentiate between what is right and wrong in accordance to how the parent reacts to their conduct.

Current Research

Contemporary research paints a grim image of how childhood neglect impacts the development of the brain (cognitive) and the resulting psychological underdevelopment often demonstrated by depression and low self-esteem (Keim, 2012). The conclusion emerges from the research conducted on rats placed in seclusion early in life. The research on its surface may appear redundant. However, it has a close connection with human experience that indicates that neglected children undergo stunted mental development. The tenacious lack of meeting a child’s primary physical, social, and psychological needs results in severe impairment of health, social, and cognitive development.

The view of child negligence has altered considerably. Child negligence is currently among the most dangerous types of abuse, considering the harmful and often deadly effects. It is often hard to describe neglect, considering that most descriptions revolve around an individual’s opinion of negligence. These descriptions include what entails ‘good enough’ care. Diverse professional backgrounds often mold professional comprehension of neglect. The perceptions also differ within and transverse diverse services.

The origins of childhood negligence vary significantly. However, research indicates that amongst other variables, parental psychological health, drug abuse, unsatisfying marriage, and poverty aggravate the chances of physical and psychological neglect in many children. Children raised by negligent parents typically experience various hostile factors (Gardner, 2008). The mental health of parents and the degree of responsibility is often associated with parents struggling to balance work, marriage, and meeting the needs of the children. Normally, parents share these responsibilities.

However, when the parents abscond their responsibilities, children tend to be the losers. Such parents often result in substance abuse, further aggravating an already bad situation. The misuse of drugs and alcohol plays a vital part in undermining parental ability in coping with responsibilities. Children are psychologically affected. They become withdrawn and have low self-esteem. Their social skills are suppressed as they view life as unfair to them.

According to research documented by the United Nations, pre-school kids are vulnerable to experience neglect by working parents. Most neglected children do not necessarily encounter physical abuse from their parents. The effects of negligence include nervousness, sadness, rage, aggression, and dissociative experiences. These feelings can have serious implications in adulthood. An adult who has undergone such experiences in childhood finds it hard to associate oneself with others.

Anxiety disorders are among the most predominant psychological disorders in childhood and persist to adulthood. The impact on such individuals is passed onto children once the individuals establish a family. When an individual fails to recognize such disorders, the children of such parents pass on the disorders to successive generations if not treated. Individuals who experience neglect in childhood are likely to abuse substances in adulthood. The individuals become unnaturally passive, indicating childhood negligence mostly on the part of the mother. Neglected children who grow up devoid of ordinary sentient and social interaction have been shown to have considerably different brain structures. Research findings indicate that there is the possibility of such children experiencing developmental ‘catch-up’ in white matter.

The situation arises due to extreme environmental and social deprivation. How individual differences in both cognitive and interpersonal aspects of social cognitive competence influence the association between peer problems and behavioral and emotional problems is not well understood. Researchers propose that children who can appreciate others’ cognitive interpretations of a social event might legitimately differ from their own cognitive ability.

They can balance the interpersonal perspectives of the self and others in social encounters. Subsequently, they may be better able to forecast others’ emotions and intentions in social interactions. Consequently, they can successfully prevent or proactively manage peer rejection or neglect. The confidence accumulates when parents give children proper parental attention. On the other hand, a skillful understanding of others’ interpretations or perspectives may heighten children’s sensitivity to peer rejection or parental neglect and could serve to increase risks of the problems (Pereira, Pereira, Barros, Mendonça, & Muris, 2014).


The impact of childhood neglect on individual adults is evident in the way they associate themselves with people around them. Typically, children who experience childhood neglect have anxiety disorders evidenced by sadness, low self-esteem, and withdrawal. Parents are encouraged to endeavor to meet the social needs of their children. Children who receive parental attention in childhood demonstrate social skills, high self-esteem, and self-confidence. Social-cognitive studies that also include parental ratings of neglect are essential in the future. Such studies will further unravel the long-term impact of childhood negligent on the psychological, cognitive, and social wellbeing of individuals in adulthood.


Cherry, K. (2014). . Web.

Gardner, R. (2008). Developing an effective response to neglect and emotional harm to children. London, UK: NSPCC. Web.

Pereira, A.I., Barros L., Mendonça D., & Muris P. (2014). The relationships among parental anxiety, parenting, and children’s anxiety: The mediating effects of children’s cognitive vulnerabilities. Journal of Child Family Studies, 23(1), 399-409. Web.

Santrock, J. W. (2013). A topical approach to lifespan development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Web.

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