My virtual child

My virtual child is Schneider. I had mixed feelings when I started this project, as I did not know what to expect because I had never tried to raise a child online before, or even considered the possibility of doing it in such a manner. It was strange trying to raise a child through an online simulation, considering real life experience cannot be substituted in such a way. As time passed, however, I began to understand the great significance of learning how to parent in relation to understanding the nuances concerning a child’s development, along with their needs and the different ways in which they respond to their environment.

This strange and unique process created in me a stronger desire to learn more from the class, not just to understand the requirements for being a parent, but for the future process of raising a child in the real world. Any tools I can gain from this, what I first thought was an absurd exercise, will greatly increase the probability of my success as a parent in my future.

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For this assignment, I observed the development of my virtual child, from a newborn infant through adulthood at the age of 18, not much younger than myself. The main focus of my writing here will be my own descriptive observations of my virtual child’s behavior and several examples that relate to my observations in relation to information which was covered in our class text book.

My virtual partner and I decided to breastfeed Schneider until the age of eight months.

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We then moved to baby food and formula from the age of eight months through two years old. I am aware that we were two months past the national recommended cycle, where in developed countries mothers stopped breast-feeding by six months so they could go back to their regular life (Control, 2012, P. 106). According to my eight month old virtual child report, it was suggested that we feed Schneider from many different varieties of baby food as well as some fruits and vegetables, which I followed. Schneider at that time, exceeded expectations with his sleeping schedule and was at the normal range for babies at eight months of age. Occasionally he would wake up in the middle of the night but he was easily put back to sleep and received an average of over ten hours of sleep during that period. According to Snell, the normal sleep cycle for a child until the age of three is eleven hours (Snell, 2007,P. 104), so I feel comfortable with the amount of sleep he received. The pediatrician’s report described Schneider’s motor skills test as being advanced. It was also stated that Schneider loved crawling, pulling himself up, and manipulating objects. My child was currently at a normal pace for his age according to the fine motor skills PowerPoint slides from class (Harvey, 2019, Ch. 4). Schneider’s eating habits and sleep patterns were also described as being at a normal pace in the virtual simulation at that time.

Schneider’s problem solving and exploratory behaviors can be explained by using Piaget’s theory at the different stages of cognitive development. The first theory, assimilation, takes place when new experiences integrate into pre existing experiences of the child. The second, accommodation, arises based on experience modification, and third, when there is no equilibrium, theories need to be reorganized in order for equilibrium to return to the normal stage. The four stages of development exist because of this theory. These four stages are the sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage, the concrete stage, and the formal operational stage. The first stage goes from birth to two years old. During this stage, a child’s progress goes from simple actions to more complex and symbolic processing (Kail, 2015, pp. 162,163). At 5 months Schneider was displaying a sense of interest in different things, such as recognizing familiar faces in his environment and showed the ability to react to, or show emotion and feelings towards new things such as new toys. This is what shows the relation to the sensorimotor stage. Going from age two to seven, my partner and I tried to involve Schneider in many different physical activities such as soccer, track and baseball. At that age, we noticed that Schneider became more demanding for objects such as toys and gifts and used more symbols for events, which is represented by the second stage, preoperational. Schneider was two and a half years old at this stage and he knew about several dozens of words and frequently attempted to use signs for the words he understood the meaning of, but couldn’t yet pronounce. At around the ages of seven to eleven, Schneider began to solve problems by using his mental aporations, which would fall under the third stage, concrete operational (Kail, 2015, P. 167). As far as the final stage formal operational goes, Schneider seemed to be falling behind, albeit not far. His mind could think hypothetically and deductively just as any other child in this category.

This following section will be used to explore and discuss Schneider’s attachment relationship. Schneider’s attachment was above average at this phase. He was not as close to me as he was with his mother, but this was due to the fact that his mother fed him and bathed him everyday when he was a baby, as the virtual child simulation progressed. Bowlby affirms that “by seven or eight months most infants single out the attachment figure, usually the mother, as an individual that is special” (Bowlby, 1969, P. 312). We as fathers are not usually the attachment figure, it seems, do to the fact that the mother is usually the primary caregiver for most of the beginning years of the infant’s life, as was the case in this simulation. Instead, fathers are more involved in the physical play with our child rather than feeding and bathing (Lamb, 2010, P. 313). This represents the usual kind of attachment that we fathers normally have with our children. According to the study that was conducted by Ainsworth, titled The Strange Situation (Ainsworth, 1978, P.313), there are four types of attachments. The four types are; secure attachment, avoidant attachment, resistant attachment, and disorganized attachment. Schneider fell mostly under the secure attachment type because he rarely cried at all when his mother left, as he understood that he would be with her again once she returned to him. According to Ainsworth’s theory of nurturing, it is best to keep a child in the same school and the same day care if at all possible. Ainsworth’s theory also suggests that parents should watch the way their children behave in order to improve their own parenting techniques. This helps us parents to become more knowledgeable about our children so that we can know how to better help them.

The next topic is Schneider’s temperament. There were five aspects of temperament that were listed in the virtual child exercise, the first being activity. When waking him up early for a doctor’s appointment, he would always seem energetic and ready to go to start the day with a great big smile on his face. The second aspect of temperament is sociability, which can be summed up as how well a child responds to the social environment around them and their interaction with others within that environment. Schneider was always a very social person from my observations. He always adapted well in new environments and made friends easily with new people when he had the opportunity to be. This caused me to conclude that Schneider was at the highest level he could be, on the social aspect. The third temperament aspect is emotionality. Schneider fell on the lower end of emotional category. Less emotional babies tend to cry much less as well as wake up in the middle of the night less frequently. They do not desire to be held frequently and prefer to be less involved and asleep , rather than awake. Throughout the observation, Schneider rarely ever became emotional or cried excessively. He knew how to control his emotions while understanding when it was appropriate to be emotional and when it was not acceptable to be emotional. Based on the virtual simulation report, Schneider’s emotion control was above average. The fourth aspect of temperament is aggressiveness vs. cooperativeness. Schneider was very far from being aggressive. When he was a teenager he naturally rebelled at various times but rarely ever became aggressive towards me or his mother. Schneider was respectful, calm, and a great listener. He obeyed most, if not all of the rules, and respected his mother as much as respected me. The last aspect is self-control. Schneider was amazing at self control. He would remain sturdy and calm through all of his doctor’s visits without any crying as a child.

Schneider’s speaking skills were great and he had no problem at all communicating to other people. After our last doctor visit with Schneider, the doctor informed us that we should spend as much time as possible talking to Schneider so that he could be even better at his communication skills. At his young age, it was best to teach him not to just respond to questions with a yes and no answer but to actually be able to reply with full sentences.

Regarding issues as a toddler, Schneider was a completely normal child at this stage. He had some of the same issues like all other toddlers his age would normally have. Occasionally Schneider would give me an attitude because I would tell him not to do something and other times he would just smile after doing something that he knew his mother and I didn’t want him to be doing. Schneider followed most of the household rules but sometimes he would say no if his mother or I asked him to do something which he didn’t want to do. He did well with all other people that he encountered and the kinds of behaviors he exhibited are considered to be normal child behavior.

In conclusion, Schneider’s developmental progress was at a very normal pace throughout the simulation. He was advanced in some of the aspects discussed and was average in others, which was typical for most kids in his age groups. Doing the simulation really did change my perspective drastically on raising a child. After summarizing all of my reflections on the information I learned about Schneider’s development, it is my hope that I have shown a proper understanding of what it is like to raise a child. I hope as well that I have reflected a better understanding of child development on my part from this experience. I know I have learned a great deal through this.

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My virtual child. (2019, Nov 27). Retrieved from

My virtual child
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