Family life: Children’s issues
Introduction (Psychology and Mental Health)
Childhood is a time of rapid development and change. The family adjusts to these changes daily as the child develops physically, cognitively, socially, and emotionally. Families pass through several separate developmental stages as children are growing up. Perhaps the best known is the eight-stage model outlined in 1948 in the Report of the Committee on the Dynamics of Family Interaction written by Evelyn Millis Duvall, secretary of the National Conference on Family Relations, and Reuben Hill, a sociologist at Iowa State College. This theory of family development focuses on group processes that resemble the aging and maturation of individuals. Briefly, those eight stages are the following:
•married couples (no children)
•childbearing families (oldest child aged birth to thirty months)
•families with preschool children (oldest child aged two and a half to six years)
•families with schoolchildren (oldest child aged six to thirteen years)
•families with teenagers (oldest child aged thirteen to twenty years)
•families launching young adults (beginning when the oldest child leaves home and ending when the youngest child leaves home)
•middle-aged parents (beginning with the “empty nest” and ending at the start of retirement)
•aging family members (beginning with the spouses’ retirements and ending at their deaths)
This eight-stage model was...
(The entire section is 431 words.)
Contemporary Stages of Parenthood (Psychology and Mental Health)
In the early 1980’s, Ellen Galinsky, the president and cofounder of Families and Work Institute, a Manhattan-based nonprofit organization that conducts research on the changing family, took a creative approach to stage theory. She looked at family life from the parent’s perspective and developed a six-stage model that described parent development. The image-making stage occurs during pregnancy, when parents form and reform images of the upcoming birth and the changes they anticipate. This is a period of preparation. In the nurturing stage, parents compare image and actual experience during the time from the baby’s birth to the toddler’s first use of the word “no” (about age eighteen to twenty-four months). This is a period of attachment and also of questioning. Parents may question their priorities and also how they spend their time. The authority stage occurs when the child is between two years and four to five years, when parents decide what kind of authority to be. This is a period of developing and setting rules, as well as enforcing them. The interpretive stage stretches from the child’s preschool years to the approach to adolescence; this stage has the task of interpretation. In this period, parents interpret their own self-concepts as well as their children’s. Parents also are concerned with interpreting the world to their children. The interdependent stage occurs during the child’s teen...
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Child Development Within Family Stages (Psychology and Mental Health)
Child development during the image-making stage of parenthood involves the development of the fetus in utero. This translates into the importance of good prenatal care for the mother.
During the nurturing stage of parenthood, from the child’s birth to eighteen to twenty-four months, families go through numerous transitions. Much of the infant’s day involves activities such as feeding, diapering, and holding. This is the time for parents or caregivers to provide opportunities for the infant to interact naturally with the environment. Parents need to respond to the infant’s interests and abilities and to create a healthy and challenging environment that will promote physical, mental, social, and emotional growth.
New research on infant brain development confirms the importance of loving and protecting children. An infant’s experiences during the first three years of life shape both learning and behavior. Everyday moments, such as feeding a child while lovingly gazing into his or her eyes, provide nourishment for the child’s brain as well as for the body. During the nurturing stage of family life, the interaction between parent and child stimulates brain growth and development.
In traditional family development theory, the preschool level is stage 3 or the authority stage of parenthood. Determined by the age of the oldest child, preschool refers to children two and a half to six...
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Sources for Further Study (Psychology and Mental Health)
Arnold, Catharine. Child Development and Learning, Two to Five Years: Georgia’s Story. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1999. Documents the study of one child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Provides insight about child development on a personal level.
Berk, Laura E. Child Development. 8th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2008. This resource has been considered a standard text in child development, and the updated edition includes such topics as school, media, neighborhoods, and values.
Galinsky, Ellen. The Six Stages of Parenthood. Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus Press, 1987. While there are many books on child development, this is the first book to describe parents’ growth comprehensively. Based on a nationwide study of a diverse group of 228 parents, this book is a valuable aid to parenting.
Keenan, Thomas. An Introduction to Child Development. 2d ed. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2008. Provides a comprehensive introduction to developmental psychology. Covers methods and theories and offers a grounding in the principles of developmental psychology.
Sutherland, Peter A. Cognitive Development Today: Piaget and His Critics. Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1992. This book provides a general outline of the dominant schools of thought on cognitive development, with a focus on Piaget. Application of theories to...
(The entire section is 229 words.)