Does child psychological development follow the same path as child physical development?

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In an ideal scenario consisting on

  • the meeting of psychological and biological needs
  • authoritative (versus authoritarian) parenting
  • emotional support
  • functional family values
  • discipline and permissiveness in balance

psychological and physical development are more likely to occur in tandem than when life changing events cause traumas and other blockage that impedes full psychological growth. Now, a separate development, which is cognitive development is much more likely to go hand in hand with physical development whether optimal factors are present or not.

It is certain that the combination of "just-right" elements do facilitate the expansion of inherent skills in all three of these types of development: for example, in a loving home a child will be likely to expand on the human potential to feel sympathy, to be agreeable, and to develop self-awareness.

In the same scenario, a functional home can also enhance inherent cognitive skills that include good choice-making, critical thinking, and deductive/inductive analytical skills. Equally, a healthy and resourceful home is more likely to produce healthy and well-developed children. Conclusively, all that has a strong foundation will end up being more productive in the end.

However, even in scenarios that are not optimal, maturity (psychological development) still takes place naturally. The issue is that this is not an exact process and it happens individually from one person to another. According to American psychologist Gordon Allport's Trait Theory (1937), the manner in which our inherited traits combine with our immediate environment is what ultimately produces our unique personality traits. This is what psychological development is all about: a progression of small transformations.

Conclusively, while cognitive and physical development happen almost in tandem if all the right elements are present, the case is not the same in psychological development. This is evident in the manner in which some people seem more "put together" than others, that is, more mature, more behaviorally capable, and more sensible regardless of their age.