Understanding how a child thinks is really the key to making sure that any parent can properly handle their development. Children are going to go through a substantial amount of changes as they get older, and it begins as early as one year of age.

As parents noticed these changes, they need to have strategies that they can implement in order to properly raise their child and avoid strategies that can impede their development. Here are 4 child psychology topics that a parent should understand in order to become the best possible parent that they can become.

Stages Of Human Development

One of the first things that a parent should understand are the stages of human development. There are several aspects to the strategies such as understanding physical development, but for parents, they need to be more understanding of cognitive, emotional and psychosocial changes.

Parents should begin studying the development of the human mind first. One of the best resources for this information is the work of Jean Piaget. He was a Swiss clinical psychologist, and then that lived most of his life in Switzerland, and it was his theory of cognitive development that really change the way that psychologists developed their own strategies.

Piaget outlined six specific stages that a child would go through as they were developing through life. It started with the use of reflexes, and was followed by acquired adaptations, visual objectives, and what he called the application of known means. In the later stages, the final two focused upon the discovery of new means which occurred around the second year of life.

At the same time, a child would begin to invent their own schemata for how to process the world. It is very important during these first two years that a parent uses proper strategies for helping a child understand their boundaries. They must not confine them or punish them for doing things wrong, but provide them with alternatives and redirection that can help them understand how to modify their own schemata of the world in a positive way.

The Origins Of Intelligence In Children

Jean Piaget took this a step further in his book on the origins of intelligence in children. He stated that children will go through cognitive development as a natural part of the human process, and their development was not influenced significantly by intervention from either educators or their parents.

However, many other psychologists were not pleased with this concept, believing that your environment literally molds the person that you become. Another psychologist by the name of Vygotsky stated that child development was not just a natural process, but it had more to do with the problem-solving abilities of the child. Despite this support, it was clear to many other psychologists that the environmental situation in which a child is placed can play a large role in how they develop.

The Social Development Of Children

In contrast to Piaget were the writings of Eric Erickson who developed theories on life stages. Although he used information that he obtained from Piaget to develop these theories, his understanding of life stages went in a completely different direction. He discusses how circumstances and events can affect a child’s life, causing them to react to what is around them.

It was through social interactions, and environmental conditions, that their perception of the world and schemata for reality would be molded as a result of these interactions. He further stated that it was not just environmental conditions that could affect a child’s growth. It could also be personal physical weaknesses such as a disability or chronic illness.

It also had to do with sociocultural factors related to race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and poverty. In addition to this, life-threatening or traumatic situations could also completely rewrite certain parts of their schemata, changing the way that they would see the world and react to certain circumstances.

Therefore, Piaget was not taking into account outside influences, whereas Eric Erickson understood the value of proper parenting. There is one more psychological topic that must be understood by parents that will bring all of these concepts together. Of the 4 child psychology topics that are presented, this is the one that will allow parents to understand how personal development, and response to environmental factors, are constantly molding your child on a daily basis.

Intellectual Growth

Based upon a child’s own ability to process the world around them, and how they deal with environmental circumstances, they would begin to go through intellectual growth. Psychologists have determined that there are four stages of intellectual growth that a child will go through utilizing Piaget’s cognitive development theory as part of this process. Early on, sensorimotor skills play a large role in the development of the child up to the age of two.

This would be followed by preoperational skills up to the age of six. Concrete operations would be developed substantially during the ages of 6 to 12 where the schemata of the child would become the foundation for how they would view the world as adults. This would lead to formal operations where they would begin to identify themselves with certain viewpoints and perceptions, and they would automatically respond to environmental factors almost on autopilot.

Therefore, although Piaget did not take into account environmental factors, psychologist today understand the importance of both personal development and modifying your schemata due to environmental factors as a child grows up.

These 4 child psychology topics are of great importance for all parents to understand. It gives them more insight as to why their child may be reacting or acting in certain ways. Once they are able to identify what stage they are in, they can modify their parenting in order to help their child develop a much more flexible and resilient way of perceiving the world.

It should be stated that these 4 child psychology topics are not representative of the totality of all psychological concepts that relate to child development. They are simply an outline of the constant exchange of a child’s view of the world, and his or her surrounding environment, that allows them to develop into the person they will become as an adult.