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Factors which influence children’s emotional and psychological development

Discuss about the Private and Public Speech for Vygotsky.

Vygotsky recognizes language as one of the most important tool that helps in cognitive development. Vygotsky proposed use of the language to equip child with thinking strategies since it is linked with culture and thought. Though language and though are initially separate system, the two merges when child is three years old thus producing verbal thought1. Private speech refers to the speech spoken by the child between age of 1 to 7 to oneself for communication. The children are known speak to themselves that help them gain cognitive and communication skills as they develop. The importance of egocentric speech is that it helps child to monitor, plan, regulate and develop self-guidance skills1. Vygotsky reported positive correlation between the child’s private and public speech and their task performance and achievement. However, the private speech diminishes as the child grows1.

Emotional and psychological development of a child is highly influenced by environmental risk factors which in most cases cannot be avoided. Such factors include; living in an unsafe community-this is a community where the child is exposed to risks such as criminal activities, drug abuse and even early exposure to sexual activities such an environment impacts negatively on the growth of a child. For example, in the case of criminal activities the child grows up knowing that criminal offenses are normal in any set up and they are likely to pick up such behaviours. They eventually end up with an emotional and psychological perspective of picking up such characters and they appear normal to them[1]. With drug abuse, once exposed early to such activities the child ends up abusing drugs as well and its evident that drugs such as bhang makes a child to fail in controlling their emotions and they also get affected psychologically. With a low quality child care set up children are left on their own with less moral guidance from their seniors and they pick up characters such as theft, use of abusive language and exposure to sexual acts which are unknown to their parents and in most cases are detrimental to their psychological and emotional development.

Family risk factors; these may include maternal depression which directly affects a child’s character. Children tend to learn and pick characters from their mothers and in the event that a mother is under repeated cycles of depression the child is likely to grow up depressed as well. Such children often fail to develop emotional attachment to those around them since they develop a feeling of betrayal by those causing their mother depression. A depressed child does not function well emotionally. They find it hard to put their emotions in check and cannot tackle issues in the right way. Growing up with a depressed mother may cause a child suicidal thoughts since they grow up not seeing their mothers happy most of the times[2]. This in the end damages them psychologically.

Environmental risk factors

With parental substance abuse, such as alcohol abuse, the child is exposed to an environment in which they grow up not seeing their parents functioning well. In a substance abuse environment there are often cases of fights between parents, negligence of parental duties such as food and medical care. In such a setup, the child ends up learning things on their own, taking up responsibilities from tender ages and so they miss out on being children like their peers. It’s very hard for a child to get the right emotional and psychological development because such environments are always full of violence among parents and sexual abuse as well. 

With family violence either from parents or elderly siblings, the child’s emotional development is affected in a big way. Violent family results to the child living in fear not really knowing what to expect next. They also end up losing love and trust from the abusive or violent family member[3]. The child will grow up with the notion that that’s how the society is meant to be and so to them violent is normal. Such children end up being violent even when grown up and take this behaviour to their families. It ends up being a vicious cycle from generation to generation. Family poverty implies that the child may grow up lacking some of the basic needs and even luxuries that other children in the society enjoy. Such an environment impacts negatively on the emotional development of the child. The child grows up feeling of less importance in the society compared to other children in the society that are not affected by poverty.

Within child risk factors; these are the characters of the child such as fussy temperament which in most cases makes the child unable to deal and control their emotions. Such children are quick to react to issues and in most cases they pick up violent characters[4]. Developmental delay causes a child to act less of their age, they find it hard to do tasks that their peers do with a lot of ease. This affects their emotional and psychological development as they always feel left out. Developmental delay is more evident in serious health cases such as autistic children whose mental development is often delayed leading to them being incapacitated in many ways and they cannot interact with their peers well. 

Many factors often influence the development of self-esteem and identity in individuals. In children society, media and family and friends are the key factors that can either build or bring them down.

Family risk factors

Society-pressure from society contributes a lot to low self-esteem because children are pressured to live and dress in a certain way and have only certain jobs when they grow up. Such pressures weigh on children leading to emotional despair.

Media-children are obsessed with media which undermines emotional development in a healthy way. With ready access to social media, children are influenced to look and act like celebrities and public figures. It thus becomes overwhelming for children who are struggling with identity issues[5].

Friends and family-these are the people a child spends most of their times with and thus influence their self-esteem. Friends can assist one to develop their self-image or bring them down. To build them up, some people humiliate others with or without an awareness of the impacts of their actions. A profound effect on one’s self esteem is gotten from the family they grow up with or come home to on a daily basis. A family that works in unity by building each other up contributes to healthy esteem in the young ones growing amidst them. 

 A child is expected to grow in all spheres of life so as to achieve the roles of growth in life. One action in the developmental stages is likely to affect the child in multiple ways. Once a child has been successfully trained in the early stages of development the rest becomes gravy and falls in place automatically[6]. It entails biological dimensions where a child receives comfort while upset from their mother, cognitive dimensions that may involve changes in a child’s language and intelligence and socio-emotional dimensions which involves changes in how a child relates with others as they grow. 

A child develops in a way that is quite predictable provided they do not have medical complications[7]. Any normal chills will go through a series of steps from one stage to adult hood without skipping any process. They may start of by learning things from their caregivers, develop murmurs and slowly speak up word by word. In normally developing children some things are taken as child development milestones. Such observations predate written language and spoken language[8]. For as long as children have been in existence, adults have observed children developing in some sequential ways and no stage is skipped. 

From science it’s evident that environment and genes play important roles in a child’s development. They shape human development in a huge way[9]. There is a misconception that genes are ‘set in stones’ but research indicates that the early experiences determine the expression of genes and how they are turned on and off and the expression of some. For healthy development of all body organs in a child including brains the extent of how genes are activated to perform certain roles matters a lot. The early life experiences by children play important roles in the brain development[10]. Care givers should therefore ensure that children have good growth promoting early life expediencies so as to boost their ability of becoming healthy and productive members in their societies[11].

Brownell, Kopp, ‘Socioemotional development in the toddler years’ (2010). 

Burke, "Self-esteem: Why?; Why not?",  (2008) Homiletic and Pastoral Review, New York. 

Ferguson, ‘Genetic contributions to antisocial personality and behavior: A meta-analytic review from an evolutionary perspective’ (2010). The Journal of Social Psychology, 160 

KENPRO, ‘Child Development Theories’ (2010). KENPRO Online Papers Portal. Available online at www.kenpro.org/papers 

King, Keyes, Malone, Elkins, Legrand, Iacono and McGue, ‘Parental alcohol dependence and the transmission of adolescent behavioral disinhibition: a study of adoptive and non?adoptive families’ (2009). Addiction, 578 

Kochanska, Aksan and Joy, ‘Children’s fearfulness as a moderator of parenting in early socialization: Two longitudinal studies.’ (2007). Developmental Psychology, 43(1), 222–237. 

Maslow, ‘Motivation and personality’ (1970). 2nd ed. New York: Harper &ow, Publishers. 

Olson, Russell, Fazio, and Anthony Hermann. ‘Reporting Tendencies Underlie Discrepancies Between Implicit and Explicit Measures of Self-Esteem’ (2007). Psychological Science 287 

Plomin, ‘Commentary: Missing heritability, polygenic scores, and gene–environment correlation’ (2013). Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 1147 

Rueda & Rothbart ‘The influence of temperament on the development of coping: The role of maturation and experience’ (2009). New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 19.

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