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The Different Phases of Cognitive Development

Piaget created his cognitive-developmental theory because children actively acquire knowledge and skills as they explore and manage the environment around them.A child's age corresponds to the four phases defined by Piaget's theory of cognitive development: sensor motor, preoperative, concrete operational, and formal operational(Bergen, 2008).

Sensory motor development occurs between birth and age two and is defined by the belief that newborns “think“through influencing their environment(Lerner, 2018).At this stage, Anna was supposed to be staying with both her father and mother but unfortunately; she was staying with her grandmother. She could have learned by influencing the caring environment of her father and mother. Ages 2 to 7 are known as the preoperational stage because children use symbols to describe their discoveries. At this stage, she was also still staying with her 60-year-old grandmother, therefore missing the most crucial step of learning from her parents by using symbols to describe her discoveries.

Between the ages of seven and eleven, children enter the concrete operational stage, during which their reasoning becomes more concentrated and logical. Between the ages of 11 and maturity, the formal operational stage occurs; during which children develop the ability to think abstractly (Lerner, 2018).Anna stayed with her mother during both the operational and formal operational stages. She was not very active in school as other children, thus missing the ability to develop her logical reasoning and ability to think abstractly.

Sigmund Freud's theory of psychosexual development is predicated on the notion that parents are critical in managing their children's sexual and aggressive desires to promote their correct development throughout the first few years of life (Coccia, 2019).According to Freud's structural model, personality is composed of three interdependent components: the id, the ego, and the superego.Freud's psychosexual development theory includes the oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital stages.According to his idea, each stage of psychosexual development must be completed; if we do not receive adequate caring and parenting throughout a stage, we may become trapped in or obsessed with that stage. On the other hand, Erik Erikson developed Freud's psychosexual theory and transformed it into an eight-stage psychosocial developmental approach. Erikson's eight phases of development need a person to successfully resolve two competing beliefs to evolve into a confident, productive member of society(Broderick, & Blewitt, 2020).

Because Anna spent the majority of her life with her grandmother as a child, she could not get the much-needed attention of her parents. She lacked the parental management of her sexual and aggressive desires throughout the first few years of her early life. This affected her interaction with her peers. Her teachers say that she interacts with peers and adults immaturely, swinging between excessive shyness and excessive loving behavior.

According to Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory, child development is a complex system of relationships influenced by several layers of the surrounding environment, ranging from private home and school environments to broad societal values, laws, and practices. Toanalyze Anna’s development, we must include Anna and her immediate environment and the more excellent environment's interaction with her.Bronfenbrenner classified the human environment into five different systems: Microsystems, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem (Arnett et al. 2018).We shall be discussing how these systems have affected Anna through different interactions.

Sigmund Freud's Theory of Psychosexual Development

The microsystem is the level of ecological systems theory that has the most significant influence. This refers to the child's most immediate environmental contexts, such as family and school. In a microsystem, relationships are bidirectional. This means that the child can be impacted by other individuals in their environment and influence other people's ideas and actions (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2018).Additionally, the child's reactions to persons in their microsystem can impact how they treat those individuals in return.Microsystems interactions are frequently highly intimate and are critical for fostering and supporting a child's growth. When a child develops an excellent nurturing bond with their parents, it benefits the youngster.Anna believes that Frank was her biological father; she even started developing normatively and seemed attached to Frank.This is what Karen, her mother wanted. This could positively affect her and help her in interacting with others. Unfortunately, Frank tells her that he is not her biological father, and thus, affecting her interaction with others.

Mesosystem covers relationships between a child's microsystems, such as those between parents and teachers or between peers at school and siblings.For instance, if the parents and teachers talk, this connection may affect the child's development (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2018).Throughout the case;we don't see Karen interacting with the school teacher of her child, Anna. The teachers try to inform her of Anna's progress as much as possible. This shows no connection between Karen and the teacher, which hurts Anna as she interacts with others. Even her performance in school is not improving despite the efforts of her teachers.

Exosystem encompasses additional formal and informal social institutions that do not contain the kid directly but indirectly affect them via one of the microsystems.Neighborhoods, parents' workplaces, parents' friends, and the mass media are all examples of ecosystems. These are circumstances in which the child is not actively participating and are not part of their experience but affect them.Karen has the pressure of work, which has also hurt Anna.

The macrosystem is a subset of Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory that examines how cultural factors such as socioeconomic status, wealth, poverty, and ethnicity affect a child's development. In our case, Anna grows up in a poor and struggling family. Her mother cannot adequately take care of her; she even logged a lawsuit against Frank to help take care of the children. This cultural setup has affected their growth and interaction with Anna with her peers.

The chronosystem system encompasses all environmental changes over a person's lifespan and affects development, such as critical life transitions and historical events. Some life transitions, such as the divorce of Karen and Frank, also affected the growth and interaction of Anna. Anna has grown affection towards Frank, who she thought was her biological father. Unfortunately, because of domestic violence, they divorced, thus affecting its growth of Anna.

Anna’s biological father left them while she was young. She stays with Frank, who she thinks is her birth father, and needs attention and affection from him, but he doesn't provide. This affects her concentration in school, which further affects her study.

Erik Erikson's Psychosocial Developmental Approach

The behaviors of alcoholism, and the divorce, among others that happened naturally, affected her concentration.By Nurturing, Anna was not well nurtured as she spent most stages of her life with her grandmother. Her father had left her while she was still young, and the man she thought her father could not give her the affection she needed. Thus, she was not nurtured well; therefore, she developed shyness, among other behaviors.



Erikson Stage






Industry vs. Inferiority


Still young




Trust vs. Mistrust


Supported by her father

Lack of both parental care



Initiative vs. Guilt


Supported by his father

Lack of both parental care





Intimacy vs. Isolation


Taking care of her children


Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis



Generatively vs. Stagnation




Grandmother Catherine


Integrity vs. Despair

Satisfaction or failure

Taking care of her grandchildren



Environmental Modifications

How the modification impacts three others



she might benefit from a support group with others with similar disabilities, also once home might access vocational or educational classes to enhance her employability.

Anna, John, and Katie may become confidence and be able to interact with other students well. Anna’s performance may even improve.

Grandmother will have to struggle to take care of the children.

Anna’s studies will be catered for.

The support will give Anna Confidence by interacting with others.

Vocational training and education can enhance her chances of being employed.



He needs substance abuse treatment and social worker support to find housing—he should not move back in at this time

Anna may start developing confidence as she interacts with others, Karen may be relieved as she will have someone to support her raise the children, while Frank's position as the houseman may be taken.

Walter is Anna's biological father, and he wants to support the children.


discontinues childcare payments

he needs a court mandate to pay child support and needs anger management treatment.

Through the social worker, and the organization, Anna will be supported in her studies and develop confidence; Frank will have to keep his children by law, and Karen will now be able to be assisted by the Welfare.

The Welfare will act to ensure that the family is fully supported through the law.


Anna could get help from a social worker to access numerous food sources through additional federal and state funding along with community and church food banks

The children will be able to feed themselves

There would be enough support for the children in terms of food.


Loses her job

John, Katie, and Anna are affected

Because when Karen loses her job, she lacks a way of supporting them; thus, they are affected.

Grandma Catherine

Dip into her savings and reoccurrence of breast cancer

Grandma would do well to move out and get her own home in a retirement community, interact with her family as she wishes, also get community support for her cancer

This will relief Karen on the burden of caring for her mother.

Because the retirement community home will be supporting the mother on her behalf. The grandma will also get support for her cancer from the community.


Needs a referral for extra academic and social support. Perhaps after school hobbies, sports, or community peer programs

Improvement in the studies.

She will get free studies and extra academic and social support which will improve her studies.


Needs an evaluation for his anger and aggression and perhaps an intervention program

This will enable him to control his anger and further be helped by analyzing the reason behind the aggression.

Through the intervention program and adequate evaluation, John will improve on his characters.


She will do better once she is in school. Family members need to schedule one-on-one time with her

She will be helped on the issue affecting her, such as schools among others.

Being in school and interacting with other students and in addition to one on one counselling.

social worker

Helps Karen by enrolling Katie in school

Karen will be relieved as she is supported. Katie will also get the attention and affection from the teachers.

Enrolling her after the COVID has been controlled will enable her to interact with teachers and other children.

The year 1930 was characterized by a great depression that swept not only the Americans, and European nations but also the entire world. The great depression led to mass loss of jobs, high cost of living among other factors. Therefore, if this family could be living at such era, then their living condition may have been worse. Karen could have definitely lost her job due to depression and hard economic times. This could have resulted in her lacking an adequate means of raising her children. Since in that time the health facilities were not advanced, then I think the grandma Catherine could not have been healed of her breast cancer.

Suppose these events had occurred in families of diverse races, ethnicities, and immigration statuses experiencing social discord, racism, and unsafe, unhealthy, and unstable living conditions. In that case, their lives could be different. Most families from developing countries face such issues, which lead to theft, robbery, and other criminal activities. This family could both be staying in slums and being involved in illegal activities or engaging in another form of social immorality. Considering that Walter was an immigrant from Eastern Europe, then their lives could have been different. With some governments intervention in helping the immigrant settle in their countries. This family could be offered government support in settling. Other country discriminates and treat immigrants as a second-class citizen. Then also in such scenario, they could face worse and hardship. Lack of government support and to some extent be shifted back to their country of origin.


 American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). ISBN: 9781433805615   

Arnett, J., Chapin, L., & Brownlow, C. (2018). Human development: A cultural approach. Pearson Australia.

Bergen, D. (2008). Human development: Traditional and contemporary theories. Pearson Prentice Hall. pp. 52-53

Blay, A. D., Gooden, E. S., Mellon, M. J., & Stevens, D. E. (2018). The Usefulness of Social Norm Theory in Empirical Business Ethics Research: A Review and Suggestions for Future Research. Journal of Business Ethics, 152(1), 191.

Broderick, P., & Blewitt, P. (2020). The life span: Human development for helping professionals (5th ed.). Pearson. p. 36

Coccia, M. (2019). Theories of development. Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance, 1-7.

Kail, R. V., & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2018). Human development: A lifespan view. Cengage Learning.

Lerner, R. M. (2018). Concepts and theories of human development. Routledge.

Lerner, R. M. (2018). Diversity in Individual↔ Context Relations as the Basis for Positive Development Across the Life Span: A Developmental Systems Perspective for Theory, Research, and Application:( The 2004 Society for the Study of Human Development Presidential Address). In Special Issue: Risk and Resilience in Human Development (pp. 327-346). Psychology Press.

Moon, S. M. (2021). Theories to guide effective curriculum development. In Social-emotional curriculum with gifted and talented students (pp. 11-39). Routledge.

Papalia, D. E., & Martorell, G. (2021). Experience human development (14th Ed.). McGraw Hill. ISBN: 9781260726602 (bound ed.); ISBN 9781260788679 (loose-leaf edition).

Stewart, F., & Cornia, G. A. (2014). Towards Human Development: New Approaches to Macroeconomics and Inequality (Vol. First edition). Oxford, United Kingdom: OUP Oxford.

Weiss, H. B. (2017). Family support and education programs: Working through ecological theories of human development (pp. 3-36). Routledge.

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