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Child Growth and Development

The subject of the observation is a seven-year-old boy who has reached second grade at school and becomes less dependent on his parents. He is a clever and active child who knows how to ride a bicycle, roller skates, plays badminton and table tennis. The boy is attentive and can read, retell stories, and easily solve various puzzles. He is physically developed, 3 feet and 12 inches tall, and weighs 24 kilograms. The child grows and changes, the body is slowly preparing to become an adult (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). Seven years is a special age, especially for boys, when baby years end and the first stages of growing up are visible. However, he is facing a seven-year-old crisis, a transitional period that opens up a new view of the world for the child. It allows him to move to another level of development. The observation was made both at home and on the playground. This paper is based on the observation and analysis of the changes occurring with a seven-year-old boy, mainly, the important aspects of his physical, psychosocial, emotional, and cognitive development.

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Child Development Observation

Every day, the boy spends about an hour and a half on the playground. There he behaves actively, runs with children, jumps, plays the ball, and hangs on the crossbar. According to the observations, the muscles of the legs, arms, chest, and back are actively developed. He becomes hardy and strong; he can cover several miles on foot. He can run slowly or quickly, changing the speed of movement. While moving, he can jump over small obstacles and change the direction of movement without slowing down. He can jump on one foot forward, up, to the sides, and over small obstacles. He easily climbs up and down the stairs, as well as the rope ladder. The boy does not have any developmental delays; instead, he can easily hang on the crossbar. Besides, he easily socializes and communicates with his peers at school and other children in the playground.

Watching him on the playground, it has become clear that the boy has a high level of physical development. He becomes strong, enduring, dexterous, and, therefore, requires regular exercise. He understands and accepts the rules of team games and the requirements of the coach while playing sports (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). There is also an active development of small muscles of the hands, ossification of the phalanges of the thumb and index fingers. This process is enhanced by the additional stress on the fingers at school since the boy several times complained of the pain in the wrist.

The observer has also noticed the changes in both cognitive and intellectual skills of the boy. The most striking of them is that he becomes interested in new, unknown words. The boy not only tries to repeat them but also understand their meaning. As it can be easily noticed, the boy develops imaginative thinking (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). He can not only remember the name of the unknown object but imagine it in details. In his imagination, the child can create experiments and solve complex problems (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). He can easily distinguish different sounds and find differences in two identical words. To train this skill, parents offer him to play various word games. He can concentrate on one task and complete it in 25-30 minutes. As a second grader, he reads and writes well, correctly draws geometric shapes, and paints them carefully. He can easily retell a long story, count to 100 and in reverse order, as well as solve logical problems. He continues expanding his literacy and reading comprehension skills while learning more complex words and reading various genres of literature.

What concerns his psychosocial development, it seems that he quickly adapts to new conditions. The boy asks adults to aid him complete some tasks, and he also expresses a desire to help his parents. According to the observations, he has analytical skills because he can successfully comprehend the offered task, analyze the problem, and come to a conclusion based on his knowledge. Of course, this is not yet mature logic and reasoning, but the first attempts to analyze are important for the formation of critical thinking (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). He easily engages in educational activities and can even perform tasks that are not interesting to him, without being distracted by a play or other activities.

However, such strong changes in the child’s psyche affect his behavior and perception of life. The observer has noticed that the boy is a subject to a seven-year-old crisis, associated with the transition from a childish behavior to a conscious adult one. From time to time, he copies and imitates adults around him. It means that he tries new social roles for himself. Therefore, he suffers from mood swings and frequent irritation. Children of his age want autonomy and independence, as well as an equal position with an adult, the ability to make important decisions by themselves (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). The observer has also noticed that the boy is afraid of rejection and it is important for him to be loved and accepted. He seeks to please adults and children at school and the playground to get their positive attention. This is especially evident when he brings various interesting things and toys to the playground to achieve a positive attitude towards himself from his peers. However, such behavior leads to negative consequences since other children begin to love not the boy himself but those things that he brings.

Child Development Analysis

According to the observations, the child’s body is actively formed and developed. Processes of improving the musculoskeletal system are taking place, as well as the articular-ligamentous apparatus and muscles are developing. The boy’s body is rapidly approaching adult proportions, and the growth spurt that began a few years ago is gradually fading away. By the age of seven, changes occur in different systems and organs of the child’s body (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). Growth of arms and legs can be noticed due to an increase in tubular bones, lengthening of the spine, and expansion of the sternum. The bones in the body change in shape, structure, and the process of ossification continues. Thus, the boy meets all the parameters of physical development for his age. The ongoing processes in the musculoskeletal system require parents to carefully monitor the child’s nutrition and offer their son a sufficient amount of physical activity. The child must walk outside for at least an hour and a half a day.

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As for the psychosocial development of the boy, the stage of industry vs. inferiority was observed. At the age of seven, children develop numerous skills and abilities at school, at home, and among their peers. According to Erickson’s theory, the sense of identity is significantly enriched when the child’s competence grows in various areas (Knight, 2017). The child asks himself the question whether he is capable to perform this or that task. At this age, it is important to encourage children to do what they love and learn new skills. It is necessary to praise and reward a child for the results. Parents who see their child’s work as self-indulgence contribute to the development of the feelings of inferiority (Knight, 2017). As observed, his sense of competence and hard work is also highly dependent on school performance. During this period, the formation of arbitrariness and visual-figurative thinking takes place. The child’s psychological changes are closely related to play and learning activities.

What concerns cognitive development, according to Piaget, the boy has already entered a concrete operational stage. At the age of seven, changes in the qualitative perception of reality gradually appear in the child’s psyche (Knight, 2017). A clear border is formed between the fictional and the real world. Not only parents but also teachers influence the formation of his personality. Most often, children trust all the words said by teachers, and if they disagree with the words of their parents, a critical attitude towards everything that others say increases.

Between seven and eight years, children develop new cognitive and psychological qualities. Thanks to daily communication with peers at school, they begin to learn patience and joint activities. The child also begins to use speech not only as the main way of communication but also for internal dialogue (Ahmad, Ch, Batool, Sittar, & Malik, 2016). To develop this skill, parents need to teach him to solve various problems, orally discussing the conditions and the course of the solution. The ability to correctly construct the course of solving the issue aloud is a step towards the rapid assimilation of the material. To study, the child uses observation, search, and examination to compare the studied subject with his knowledge of other things (Knight, 2017). It is recommended to further stimulate this skill by offering to solve various tasks, buying and offering to work with the specialized books on the development of logic.

The younger school age also refers to the prepubertal period of psychosexual development. According to Freud, children at the age of seven enter the latent stage of psychosexual development, which is one of the quietest stages (Knight, 2017). The child’s libido is reorientation to social activity through sublimation. During this period, the child is interested in various intellectual activities, sports, and communication with peers. The latent stage can be viewed as the preparation time for growing up. During this period, the child is significantly less dependent on parents, because the superego is increasingly perceived as an internal instance (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). These intrapsychic forces profoundly affect the child’s behavior and relationships with others.

The boy also has an acute need for love, acceptance, and belonging. According to the Maslow’s pyramid, this need is satisfied through a positive attitude of other children towards the boy (Desmet & Fokkinga, 2020). The development of self-esteem and self-actualization need is also noticed. Parents and teachers should support the child’s statements and the judgments offered by him. The child must be guided not by someone else’s, even authoritative, opinion, but boldly declare how he perceives a particular situation (Desmet & Fokkinga, 2020). In the course of supporting the child’s initiative in judgments, parents should strive to ensure that he justifies his statements and unfolds them as much as possible, revealing what he is interested in.

The formation of ethical ideas and changes in moral judgments is an aspect of personality development and is directly related to the development of consciousness. According to Kohlberg and Piaget, thinking cannot be derived only from innate psychological factors but must be understood from the relationship between the child and the social environment (Ahmad et al., 2016). Thus, moral development of the boy depends mainly on the influence of social factors on the structure and functioning of the child’s thinking.

Conclusion

A seven-year-old boy is an already formed personality who studies at school and is able to systematically receive and assimilate a significant amount of knowledge. At the same time, he is still a child and needs free time to play. He also wants the love and recognition of his parents and peers. By the age of seven, he has become vulnerable and painfully perceives his failures and disapproval from adults. These changes are accompanied by a seven-year-old crisis, a surge of stubbornness, irritability, and capriciousness. The child retains many childish qualities, such as frivolity and naivety, but he is already beginning to lose childish spontaneity in behavior. He has a different logic of thinking and perceiving information. Most important, he begins to understand his place in society.

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References

Ahmad, S., Ch, A. H., Batool, A., Sittar, K., & Malik, M. (2016). Play and cognitive development: Formal operational perspective of Piaget’s theory. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(28), 72-79.

Desmet, P., & Fokkinga, S. (2020). Beyond Maslow’s pyramid: Introducing a typology of thirteen fundamental needs for human-centered design. Multimodal Technologies and Interaction, 4(3), 38-60. doi:10.3390/mti4030038

Knight, Z. G. (2017). A proposed model of psychodynamic psychotherapy linked to Erik Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 24(5), 1047-1058. doi:10.1002/cpp.2066

Papalia, D. E., & Martorell, G. (2015). Experience human development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

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