The titles of my selected chapters are conceptual development,Intelligence and academic achievement, moral development and genderdevelopment. I chose chapter 7 because it helps understand howchildren make sense of the world. It also helps to identify autisticchildren and how to help them. I chose chapter 8 because it isclosely related to chapter 7, and it helps to note and explaindifferences in children’s IQ. The final 2 chapters address crucialdevelopmental aspects of children, and just like chapters 7 and 8,are closely related. Generally, these chapters touch on the issues Iperceive to be most important in child development.
Chapter7: New Ideas learnt
In this chapter, I learnt about the theory of mind of a child. Theauthor says speaks about the theory of mind, which is a basicunderstanding of how the mind functions and how it influences a givenchild’s behavior. The theory includes knowledge of perceptions,citations and psychological states (including desires, believes andgoals). The theory on mind also has the element of false beliefproblems. For instance, children must recognize and comprehend thedifference between others’ desires and their actions. About the ageof 3 years, the child gains an understanding of how their beliefs anddesires affect their general behavior.
Instudying the origins of the theory of mind, Taylor interviewedchildren aged 3-4 years and others aged 7-8 years. He found that atthese ages, children have imaginary companions. I learnt that theseimaginary friends included both ordinary children and fancifulcreatures. The children use these imaginary companions for two majorreasons, for enjoyment and also to deflect blame. I learnt that mostchildren develop these imaginary friends at these ages mainly becausethey have begun forming their own identities and trying out bordersbetween fiction and realism.
I agree with the author that the theory of mind influences the way achild’s mind works and that it influences their behavior. Morespecifically, the experiment about “smarties” task clearlydemonstrates the difference between the mental development of anautistic child and a normal child, which is a practical explanationof the theory of mind. I also agree with the author that childrenindeed have imaginary friends, with whom they interact with likenormal people. The author is also correct with the idea that theseimaginary friends are not used only for play (enjoyment) but also fordefecting blame.
I do not agree with the author that 3 year old children have thecapacity to understand how beliefs and desires affect their behavior.In my own opinion, this is a rather young age for the brain to beable to process such complex issues. Children might not be in aposition to understand their beliefs until they start school, wherethrough interaction with fellow children, they may be able to learnmore about desires and behavior. Secondly, I do not agree thatchildren develop imaginary friends at the specified ages. Instead,children have imaginary friends throughout until they reach the ageof 8.
Children need these imaginary friends for many useful purposes. Thefirst application for imaginary friends in children is trying out newrelationships at a critical point in their lives. It is at this timethat the children are going through a stage of social development,which shapes their behavior in the future. For instance, imaginaryfriends help children to learn about new ways of controllingthemselves, discipline and interacting with other people in general.For instance, when a parent hears a child scolding their imaginaryfriend, they must not assume that they have been harsh to them.
Chapter8: New Ideas learnt
In this chapter, I learnt that intelligence can be influenced by anumber of factors, such as race and ethnicity, economic status andthe environment. I however took interest in how intelligence isinfluenced by genetics. These genes affect motivation, personality,confidence and other traits that determine the level of intelligenceof a child. The book shows that the performance of a child in schoolis affected by a number of genetic factors. However, it is not veryclear whether the same genes that influence the intelligence of acertain child also influence their social interaction.
Ialso learnt about three elements of intelligence. The author notesthat intelligence can be considered as a single trait, as a few basicabilities and as numerous processes. I took interest in learningabout intelligence as a single trait. The author says thatintelligence is not a profile of traits, and that a trait has to havesome appreciable stability. For this reason, there is need to have agood definition of cognition. I also learnt the application of IQtests in measuring children’s intelligence. Additionally, there aredifferent paradigms of intelligence, such as fluid intelligence andcrystalized intelligence.
I agree with the author that intelligence affects the academicperformance of a child. I agree that besides having highintelligence, a child needs to have equally high emotionalintelligence in order to perform well academically. This is becauseemotional agreement is a reliable predictor of academic achievement.If a child lacks emotional intelligence skills, they may not succeedacademically, regardless of the fact that they are smart.Additionally, if this child manages to succeed in academics, they maynot be able to grow into productive adults in later stages of theirlives. I also agree that declining academic performance if related toemotional disturbance.
I disagree with the author’s stance about IQ tests on children.Testing the children’s intelligence, such as reading, writing andmathematics may worsen their situation, as those who perform poorlywill end up feeling inferior to those who perform well. Instead oftaking these tests and letting the children know about theirperformance, it is wiser to orally test the children’s intelligencetraits and working to improve on areas where they perform poorly. Ialso dispute the statement that economic status has a role indeveloping a child’s intelligence. In fact, I believe that mostpeoples’ intelligence levels remain the same throughout theirlives.
I will use what I have learnt in this chapter to study aboutenvironmental influences of children’s intelligence in my futurecareer. I will work on studying the intelligence of fraternal twinswho are raised together and identical twins that are raised indifferent environments. From the paper, it has been hypothesized thatfraternal twins who are raised together tend to show similarity inintelligence scores, while identical twins that have been raised indifferent environments yield slightly different intelligence scores.However, I will apply the information from this chapter to study theexact environmental features and the extent of their influence.
Chapter14: New Ideas learnt
In this chapter, I learnt two things about a child’s moraldevelopment, which are Piaget’s theory of moral judgment andKohlberg’s theory of moral judgment. From Piaget’s theory ofmoral development, I learnt that there are three stages that childrenare supposed to pass at certain approximate ages. The first stage isthe pre-moral judgment stage, where children do not understand theconcept of rules and morality. The second stage is the moral realismstage, where children understand these concepts, but only see them asexternal or immutable. The last stage is the moral realism stage,where the children understand the concepts of rule, and begin obeyingthem.
Accordingto Kohlberg’s theory, there are six stages that are arranged inthree main levels. The three levels are pre-conventional or pre-morallevel, the second one is conventional/role conformity and the laststage is the post-conventional/self-accepted moral principles. Fromstudying these stages, I learnt that moral reasoning, which is thebasis of ethics, develops at a very early age of a person. However,the theory holds that it is important to correlate a child’s scoreand their behavior, and that a child’s future moral behavior can bepredicted from an early age.
I agree with this chapter that children develop morally in stages.There is no child who improves their moral behavior overnight. Theyundergo stage-by-stage development, from understanding the conceptsof morality, adapting to moral behaviors and finally making their ownjudgment about what is morally upright and what is not. For instance,a child of two years does not appreciate good things done to them bysaying “thank you”, and does not understand why it is necessary.As they grow, they get to understand why it is necessary to do so,and can appreciate things without being forced to.
Upon further investigation about the theories, I uncovered facts thathave serious implications about their applicability. Kohlberg usedinformation from research on male participants only to come up withhis theory. This means that girls’ concerns are not adequatelydescribed. It is a known fact that the development processes of agirl child and a boy child have significant differences. Secondly,the two theories do not address the question regarding inconsistencyin moral judgment of the children. Children are understood to beunpredictable, especially regarding how they perceive morality andethics as they grow up. The author fails to explain this in thechapter.
This chapter can be applied in studying the factors the affect thedevelopment of a child’s conscience. In specific, it helps me tostudy empathy, which is crucial moral development that a child needsto develop at an early age. Using this, I can study how a childdevelops psychological motivation for those who are in distress.Building strong empathy helps children to develop betterrelationships with their peers and also determined to what extenttheir friends will help them back. Throughout the stages of moraldevelopment, as described by the two theories, children developvarious degrees of empathy.
Chapter15: New Ideas learnt
I learnt that girls are more physically and neurologically advancedthan boys at the time of birth. Despite the fact that boys are morebuilt muscularly at birth, they are more vulnerable to diseases andother complications. Additionally, girls develop verbal skillsquickly than boys. However, the boys are quicker in developingvisual-spatial and numerical skills than girls. I also learnt thatboys have a superior grasp of geometry than boys. Socially, as theboys develop, they become more aggressive and have stronger emotionalproblems than girls. Generally, the male children are moreindependent, confident and competitive amongst themselves.
I also learnt that processes of gender socialization begin evenbefore a child is born. Once a child is born, the parents react totheir sex, and immediately begin acting in ways that orient the childto adopt the norms of their sex. With this, the parents help thechildren to identify themselves either as boy or girls. At the sametime, the child begins to develop their behaviors and interests, andwith this, gender differences are developed. This is a prerequisiteto gender roles and identity, which shapes the child’s behavior,thinking and characters. The author has clearly addressed this issue.
I agree with the chapter that there are biological factors thatinfluence gender differences in children. These biological factorscan be used to explain why the two genders develop strengths incertain fields, such as mathematical skills and verbal skills. Thechapter also explains the inconsistency in learning ability betweenboys and girls. Additionally, the author has explained welldevelopment of gender stereotypes and gender based behavior. Thechapter explains that these factors are not fixed, and that there arecertain degrees to which gender patterns may be fixed or flexible. Ialso agree with the author’s explanation of infancy throughchildhood.
I disagree with the way the author addresses the gender socializationissues by looking at it from the home setting only. By the age of 5years, most children will have begun attending school, and may spendup to half of their day interacting with many other children. It isthrough this interaction that the children develop gendercharacteristics, and boys learn to separate themselves from girls.Therefore, by limiting the study to gender socialization at home,many important aspects about gender identity may not be captured. Forthis reason, the author would have equally looked at gendersocialization at the school setting too.
This chapter can be applied in researching gender development andexploring how the field has grown and evolved. In my profession, Iwould definitely want to study more about the processes of genderidentification amongst children, so as to fill in the gaps inknowledge and research. By using the information presented in thischapter, I can be able to explain the differences observed incognitive abilities amongst the sexes, instead of just stating them.Additionally, I would apply information from this chapter to researchhow children develop a sense of male privileged status and whyopposite sexes rebel each other socially.
The chapters that have been reflected upon in this paper have helpedme to gain new ideas about a child’s development. Additionally, Ihave learnt about stage-by-stage development of a child in variousareas that are addressed in the chapters. Most importantly, I havelearnt that children’s development is affected by a number ofinternal and external issues. Parents, teachers and peers also affectthe extent to which children develop, either physically, emotionallyor socially. I have identified many fact in the chapters to which Iagree, according to personal opinion. At the same time, I haveidentified a number of areas I disagree, either because of themethodology or application.
Siegler, R.S., DeLoache, J.S. and Eisenberg, N. (2014). Howchildren develop. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
1st Chapter: Conceptual development
2nd Chapter: Intelligence and academicdevelopment
3rd Chapter: Moral development.
4th Chapter: Gender development.