According to Psychologist Erik Erikson, the social and personality development of the infant involves trust versus distrust. Throughout the first two years of life, an infant goes through the first stage: If an infant is loved and well natured, trust will develop as well as a feeling of security and a positive attitude on their lives. If they are not loved and well nurtured, they become insecure and learns to mistrust others around them. Infants develop attachments to their parents, other relatives, or nannies. If the caregiver responds completely to the child, they feel a sense of security knowing that the parent will provide support when needed. Insecure attachments may not be the result of bad parenting, but more often will be the result of circumstantially irregular parenting. For example, a parent who is exhausted at the end of a day may find that fully involved childcare is not always possible.
This security seeking is less vital compared to the preschool child who is seeking to state their power and control over the world “through directing play and other social interactions” (Cherry, n.d.). Should they be successful at this assertion, they feel capable and are confident that they can lead others. If they fail, they begin to develop feelings of self-doubt and show signs of lack of taking initiative. Ideally, the preschool child who finds a balance of individuality and willingness to work with others the purposeful ego begins to emerge.
Rendering to Lawrence Kohlberg, a developmental psychologist who built on Piaget’s work to produce his own theory of the Stages of Moral Understanding, children at the preschool age base their morality on punishment and obedience. Fearing authority and trying to avoid punishment is how children see staying out of trouble. They follow the rules for this reason. They do not understand doing the right thing, but they do know the difference between good and bad behavior. This is what allows them to build a basis for more complicated moral thinking in the future.
Social behavior shows a difference between infants and pre-school children in the following ways. Infants learn social behavior by sharing toys. Pre-school children on the other hand learn by creating stories where they play- role and play together. Gradually friendships are built which add sources of security and create common goals.
2. The physical, intellectual development of the preschool child, the physical, intellectual/cognitive development of middle childhood, and the physical and cognitive development of the adolescent.
The physical development of a preschool child is monumental, and the type of things which parents say “ooh” and “aw” when they witness them for the first time. Some involve balance from standing on one foot for several seconds to walking on a plank to riding a bicycle, climbing a ladder to walking on tiptoe. Preschoolers can be taught to hold a pencil with the correct grip and catch a ball. They have most likely been rolling and bouncing balls for some time. Buttoning clothes or cutting with scissors is a small motor skill which can be mastered. Most preschool children can use utensils correctly and build by using blocks.
Socially and cognitively, the preschooler interacts mostly with other children by choice. A child who is over aggressive or overly introverted while playing is probably not progressing at the normal speed of a preschooler indicating that there could be developmental problems. Again, in developmental activities, playtime will demonstrate tremendous imagination in the normally developing child. Physically, unless there are other physical concerns, the typical preschooler has no difficulty keeping up, both mentally and physically, with others of his/her age. A sign that the child may have a developmental delay is if the child cannot jump and keep his/her feet together and run. It is, of course, important to remember that all children are different and that they reach their stages at different times or pace.
The baby-fat loss and muscle gain are two of the more significant changes to the body of the preschooler giving them the appearance of being more mature and stronger. The extremities begin to thin, and the upper body will narrow and taper (Your Preschoolers Physical Appearance and Growth, n.d.). It is now that relatives who do not see the child often notice that they are looking more like a child than a baby. Height and weight gains race each other to see who the winner is each month. Often the child will look frail and thin because other times they will look chubby and have a good deal of fatty tissue. Eventually, at the end of the 4th year, the growth will begin to slow.
Cognitive growth for the middle child focuses on the development of logic and reason applied to concrete examples as well as to higher, more mature social interactions. Their long-term memory is improving noticeably. This is the best time to learn a second language beyond simple memorization of phrases. Their growing foundation of knowledge is impressive as is their ability to control processes as their information processing skills become more finely improved. The adolescent finally makes the jump from concrete to abstract in their thinking.
Social relationships are particularly important during adolescence. There is also considerable “structural development during adolescence” (Social cognitive development during adolescence, 2006) in the brain. The greatest difference between adolescence, middle childhood and preschool is that the adolescent are more affected greatly by emotions set off by hormones.
Developmentally, the preschooler has a sharp beginning of change, leveling off by the end whereas the middle child and adolescent may have spurts, but not on a regular basis to be predictable for all children. The developments differ in that the preschool child is advancing most rapidly in physical changes while the middle child and adolescent are advancing more rapidly in cognitive learning.