Human development is a dynamic process that constitutes passage through several life transitions. Contemporary nursing has laid considerable attention to these diversifying life stages to provide a deeper insight onto the aspects of human development so that prudent and pragmatic approaches may be conferred as applicable to the unique stages. Development of an individual follows a path where physical, social, moral or cognitive issues throughout the lifespan play distinctive roles in shaping the personality of the individual (Feldman, 2016). Therefore, it is imperative to understand the developmental milestone with respect to each stage for ensuring the provision of the most suitable nursing care delivery. The following assignment will highlight the cognitive and social development based on exposure to a variety of predictable as well as unpredictable life transitions by referring to the case scenario of 3 years old child named Jack who has been attending day care twice a week and for two hours a day. Works of eminent theorists like that of Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson will be utilized in the discussions of the essay thereby offering scope for exploring the cognitive and social development of children thoroughly.
Piaget’s theory of cognitive development may be referred to for understanding the concept associated with cognitive upbringing of the child. This comprehensive theory adequately addresses the nature and development surrounding human intelligence and was first promulgated by the Swiss developmental psychologist Jean Piaget. It has laid considerable emphasis on deciphering the modality of understanding. In this respect, assimilation and accommodation have been recognized as complementary processes that help an individual to become aware through internalization. A dialectical relationship defines these two components’ interaction, as they are intimately associated despite the fact that one may essentially predominate other at a given instance. As per this theory, the intellectual or cognitive development of a child may be categorized into four distinct stages comprising of sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational stages. It has been opined that each child goes through all these stages in the exact same order while child development is determined by virtue of biological maturation and environmental interaction. However, the rate of progression to the later stages may vary for each child. Further, according to this theory a child of 3 years as applicable in case of Jack, he may be found to belong to the preoperational stage that spans the timeframe of age 2 to 7 years (Carey, S., & Gelman, 2014). Thought process at this stage is mostly based on symbols for the children, as they are able to make a thing, an object or a word to represent something other than its usual meaning. Another crucial feature of this stage is that thinking is essentially egocentric and the child encounters issues on accepting the viewpoints of others. The child presents greater efforts in better expressing its feelings and emotions through acquisition of linguistic skills as language development happens in this time span itself thereby indicative of prioritizing the childcare needs for the caregivers (Bjorklund & Causey, 2017).
However, in Jack’s case his mother Vanessa has expressed concern that he has not attained his developmental milestone with respect to speech development as he spoke in one-to-two word sentences while mostly resorted to babbling rather than uttering coherently in distinct sentences. Thus, the stark features as reported in preoperational stage are not so prominent in Jack. Further, it may be speculated that certain constraints are restricting his speech and normal language development. His mother being working, the child is likely to feel lonely and rejected thereby adding to his egocentric nature that characterizes this stage.
Another crucial developmental theory in relation to psychosocial development may be studied in the light of the theory postulated by eminent psychologist Erik Erikson by virtue of which development may be segregated into eight stages constituting the time from infancy until adulthood. It has been mentioned that in each of the stage, the individual is most likely to confront certain psychological crisis that might have either positive or negative impact with respect to personality growth. In case, a child is unable to overcome these challenges in course of his or her developmental stage it might turn into perpetual problems at later hours. According to this theory, a child of three years belongs to the age of early childhood or toddlerhood where the basic virtue of will predominates to counteract the psychological crisis surrounding autonomy as opposed to shame. Ongoing physical development and enhanced mobility characterizes this stage when the child simultaneously engages in exploring the world around him. The caregivers if nurture the child’s abilities and provide sufficient encouragement by burgeoning independence, the child might assert his or her own rights thereby gaining a sense of autonomy. Contrarily, feelings of shame might generate in the child in case the parents or caregivers foster excessive dependence or discourage the child. Socialization skills develop eventually in the child through emergence of awareness with respect to both self as well as others (Dunkel & Harbke, 2017). Further, it has been stated in relevant literature that subjected to provision of suitable encouragement from the caregivers and parents, the child may attain confidences and nurture requisite skills to survive in the world. A delicate balance is expected out of the parents to enable the child to do things on his own rather than criticizing his efforts so that he might attain a state of self-control without losing self-esteem through continual encouragement (Friesen & Besley, 2013).
Observations with respect to Jack in the given scenario reveal that he has not yet been able to acquire toileting skills in contrast to his same age counterparts. Physical separation from his mother due to enrolment in the day care facility twice a week has posed hindrance to his ability to socialize. He has not been self-sufficient to do things on his own in absence of support from concerned persons like that of her mother at home due to her work engagements.
Social and cognitive development is vastly an interrelated affair and has been topic of investigation in various literatures. Personality development and the manner in which a child interacts with his near environment are largely dependent on his communication and relationship with the individual components. Early years of a child’s life is very much crucial to his or her development in later years and significantly affect the actions in subsequent years. Both social as well as cognitive development drives a child’s response to his near environment and aids in building trusted relationships with others. Interlink between these two modalities of development is crucial for the holistic development of the child that enables him to develop as a responsible citizen of tomorrow. Almost in line with the acquisition of linguistic skills through speech development, social skills tend to appear in greater prominence (Bremner, 2017). A child who has satisfactorily attained his developmental milestone is capable of displaying his social skills in a likewise manner as well. A reciprocation of social skills may be achieved through higher cognition and complex thought process that set in eventually as the child passes through distinctive developmental phases. Hence, nurses must be proactive in their endeavors to succinctly understand the developmental benchmarks unique to each transitory phase in course of a child’s development for providing optimal care facility tailored to perfection for catering to distinct needs of the child (Olds, 2016).
Nursing practitioners must undertake proactive initiatives and efforts to render suitable nursing care to the children in accordance with their age depending upon the developmental milestone achieved by the individual in the life stage in which they belong. Human development does not follow a singular discourse, rather is reliant upon interactions among several intermittent stages that exerts their unique influence. Theory of the social development as proposed by Erikson and theory of cognitive development as put forward by Piaget are helpful in this context that pave the way for greater and adequate understanding of human development for the nurses to streamline the nursing care delivery catering to the developmental needs
Bjorklund, D. F., & Causey, K. B. (2017). Children's thinking: Cognitive development and individual differences. SAGE Publications.
Bremner, J. G. (2017). An introduction to developmental psychology. John Wiley & Sons.
Carey, S., & Gelman, R. (2014). The epigenesis of mind: Essays on biology and cognition. Psychology Press.
Dunkel, C. S., & Harbke, C. (2017). A review of measures of Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development: Evidence for a general factor. Journal of Adult Development, 24(1), 58-76.
Feldman, R. S. (2016). Life span development: A topical approach. Pearson.
Friesen, M. D., & Besley, S. C. (2013). Teacher identity development in the first year of teacher education: A developmental and social psychological perspective. Teaching and Teacher Education, 36, 23-32.
Olds, D. (2016). Building evidence to improve maternal and child health. The Lancet, 387(10014), 105-107.
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