The Different Stages of Emotional and Psychological Child Development

Categories: Psychology
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Piaget’s theory of child development is an explanation of how a child constructs a mental model of the world in which they are born. Piaget does not agree with the idea of intelligence in children being a fixed trait. Rather, it results from biological maturation and interaction with the environment. The theory is aimed at explaining the processes and mechanisms by which a child develops into a person who can reason and think using propositions. Piaget’s theory is different from other theories as it is concerned with only children, unlike other theories that focus on all learners.

The theory only focuses on development and not learning of information. Proposing discrete stages of development, the theory differs from others that show gradual increase in number of ideas. Piaget’s theory suggests different stages of development, the first one being sensorimotor stage where a child identifies the existence of objects. In the preoperational stage, a child improves to think about objects symbolically.

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Further, the concrete operational stage enables a child to work out ideas internally within the head instead of trying the ideas out physically. Formal operational stage is where a child has developed the ability to think about abstract concepts and test the propositions.

Erikson’s theory of development includes a series of stages that a child has to go through, failure to which the child may have difficulties in completing other stages in future. In the stages, a child has to develop trust versus mistrust through the confidence and sense of security around him/her.

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Children also go through autonomy versus shame and doubt even as they begin to have their independence. It is during the stage that children often feel ashamed in their abilities. A child also develops a sense of initiative versus guilt when he/she has lost control over the activities of the body. A child further develops a sense of industry versus inferiority as their levels of curiosity increases. When a child is discouraged, they feel inferior among the people who surround them.

A child then develops a sense of identity versus role confusion, more so in adolescence. A child then establishes identity by needing to have a role model to let go the confusion. The stage of developing a sense of intimacy versus isolation involves caring about other people whom we have personal relations such as marriage partners. The other stage is developing a sense of generativity versus self-absorption where people are concerned about their families. Lastly, a person goes through the development of a sense of integrity versus despair, where integrity results from people’s ability to view life with satisfaction.

Freud’s psychosexual stages of development are different from other theories as they are associated with conflict that ought to be resolved before proceeding to other stages of development. During the oral stage and anal stage where a child learns how to consume and egest, ego tends to develop and it must be dealt with before moving to the phallic and latent stages. People learn about their private parts and they later have no motivation for the parts. In the genital stage, there is the need to solve the conflict of sexual arousal by engaging in sexual intercourse.

Kohlberg’s theory of development suggests that people make progress in their moral reasoning as they grow. In the pre-conventional level, people tend to have according to the morally accepted norms because of orders from an authoritative figure. In the conventional level, involves following the morals that are found in the society and are regarded as the laws and obligations of duty. The post-conventional stage is the level that many people are believed to be dodging in their life. The stage suggests that people act while having the welfare of others in mind. The theory is similar to other theories as people can only progress from one stage to the other, one stage at a time.

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The Different Stages of Emotional and Psychological Child Development. (2023, May 24). Retrieved from

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