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Psychology in Childcare: Theory and Practice Essay

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Updated: May 25th, 2021

Children psychology is one of the most studied branches of psychology that explores the psychological processes of a child from his prenatal development through adolescence. The particular importance of children’s psychology is explained by its practical sense as understanding the normal and abnormal psychological patterns might help parents to learn how to best interact with their child. Also, child psychologists identify delays in children’s development, signs of autism, and other problems. In the given research paper, the theoretical aspects and practical implementation of children’s psychology are studied in regard to challenging behavior in children and their cognitive development.

Challenging behavior is a common issue in children as they are just beginning to learn how to self-control themselves. Challenging behavior interferes with development, learning, and pro-social engagement; it may be harmful to other people. Children with such behavior often drop out of school, experience peer rejection, have a fatal risk of unemployment and divorce. According to Dishion, French, and Patterson (1995), neglected problems with behavior might lead to delinquency, gang membership, and imprisonment. So, the costs of failing to address this issue are high.

Childcare psychology might appear to be useful in dealing with this problem. Early intervention services and even tips for parents and teachers on communicating with children with emotional behavior might decrease aggression and anxiety in children as well as promote positive relationships with peers and parents. Kathleen Van Antwerp incorporates children’s psychology when giving tips for parents on addressing challenging behavior.

In particular, she highlights that parents should concentrate on understanding and assisting their child, helping him achieve moral autonomy by supporting the child, guiding him through the problem, and loving him unconditionally (Antwerp, n.d.). As a result, the child’s social-emotional health will be improved.

Brogle, Jiron, and Giacomini (2013) state that international planning can significantly prevent challenging behavior. Based on this assumption, a set of practical pieces of advice is given to parents and teachers on communicating with children with challenging behavior. To be more specific, parents should intentionally plan activities for their children, be concrete when telling them what to do, and create opportunities to practice the desired behavior of kids. Teachers should promote the development of social skills by initiating special activities where children should take turns, wait and share. Planning ahead as well as teaching them how to interact will increase the desired behavior.

Theory of cognitive development designed by Jean Piaget in 1936 shed light on how children construct their mental perceptions of the world and emphasized that they are different from the ones which adults have (McLeod, 2018). Before Piaget’s work, it was generally acknowledged that children think similarly to adults. Piaget’s theory reflects on mental processes and mechanisms through which a child grows into an adapted person who can think and reason (McLeod, 2018).

Taking and understanding information from new experiences, a child’s cognitive skills progress through four main stages of development: sensorimotor stage (ages 0 to 24 months), pre-operational stage (ages 2 to 7 years), concrete operational stage (ages 7 to 11), and formal operational stage (ages 11+).

Based on the detailed analysis of the children’s cognitive system functioning, Piaget’s theory might have educational implications. In particular, teachers and parents can facilitate children’s learning by encouraging them to discover themselves through direct interaction with the environment. Parents might also benefit from the theory by monitoring their children’s cognitive development regarding learning, problem-solving, and thinking (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018). Early detection of signs of possible developmental delay might resolve the issue in a timely manner.

To sum up, children’s psychology is a powerful tool in childcare that allows for a better understanding of a child’s social, mental, and behavioral development. Children psychology promotes maximizing a child’s well-being through evaluation and treatment of early developmental traumas and delays. In particular, children’s psychology might be of help when addressing challenging behavior in children. Cognitive children psychology, in its turn, gives insights on how children should be treated and taught so as to facilitate their intellectual development.

References

Antwerp, K.V. (n.d.). Understanding challenging behavior.

Brogle, B., Jiron, A., & Giacomini, J. (2018). . Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). . Web.

Dishion, T. J., French, D. C., & Patterson, G. R. (1995). The development and ecology of antisocial behavior. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Wiley series on personality processes. Developmental psychopathology, Vol. 2. Risk, disorder, and adaptation (pp. 421-471). Oxford, England: John Wiley & Sons.

McLeod, S. (2018). Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Web.

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