Children’s Mental Development and Thinking

Cognitive Psychology – Children Mental Development and Thinking


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The essay aims to discuss the development of Children thinking in relation with cognitive psychology and the selected theme is ‘Increasing understanding of children’s thinking is yielding practical benefits as well as theoretical insights.’

The essay aims to discuss children’s thinking develops within a social context. Parents, peers, teachers, and the overall society influence what children think about, as well as how and why they come to think in particular ways. Societal background is the main basis of the learning of an individual. The day when an individual is born, steps in this universe and until the end of his/her life, the connection with other members of the society helps one form the perception regarding the universe. The knowledge of young children develops the way parents communicate with them, the way the play and interact with other children, as well as the way learners are assisted by their professors.

Summary of Current Knowledge

From the day a child is born, they are known to be the energetic partakes in this intricate universe. The relationship with their parents is known as the infant’s first kind of societal exchange understanding. Interactions which are healthier in nature form a relation or connection. The basis of a relation is initiated with the connection between two individuals (Pruitt, 1998). A relation or connection is created with the help of interaction based on face gestures, engagements and spoken communications

Youngsters rise up in families of various kinds. There are few parents which look after and brace up their kids while others pay no attention to or treat their children insensitively. While there are also children who experience to live in divorced families while some might not. A few may also experience to live with their step mother or father. Both the parents of some children are engaged in full time work and leave them in the care of after-school programs while others have either of the parents at home to look after them. Some kids are raised up in fairly consistent regions. A few children may also be raised up in families which are not well-off and suffer poverty while others have strong financial backgrounds. So all these scenarios, in which a kid is brought up, have a strong influence on their maturity.

From infancy the children create a bond and attachments due to healthy exchange with their parents. This is the first bond of the child. Studies tell that those children who have strong attachment with their parents are more fluent are better in language, social cognitive and emotional development (Raikes,1996). If this bond is not created due to any problems discussed before then the child may experience asocial behaviours (Wardle, 2003).

Not only parents are involved in children psychological development but as now they are enrolled in schools or care-centres in early ages the teachers also play a vital role in child’s early psychological development. The teachers further extend the child-parent relation and create a bond with the child. This bond creates a security in the mind of a child which creates trust for the teacher through which children are able to perform well and learn better. Teachers provide a support, advance skills, provide assistance and activities and further more they promote prosocial behaviours.

Many teachers also stay in touch with the children’s parents to better understand their culture. They form a collaborative relationship with their family in this way they get the information to develop the child’s language and literacy. They get to know the strengths, weaknesses and needs for every child they are caring. When they know about their cultural background they are able to teach the child any aspect that is difficult for them to understand or accept. By knowing the language, norms, values of the child the teacher can help the child to build their interests and skills. (Parlakian & Sa?nchez,2006).

Through various teaching strategies and activities the child is able to identify various social skills and get to understand that how those will be used. For example the teachers provide such games through which children are able to learn conflict resolutions, are able to encourage social interaction, they emphasize on cooperation rather than competition, etc. They are also taught to care and be empathetic.

To enhance their learning they are asked exploratory questions repeatedly so that they can produce new answers each time with thinking and taking situation in consideration. This way they are learned to make choices (Preusse, 2001). They are also given blocks so that they can produce new things from their mind. They are asked to make things out of clay and to draw and color. This is the mental exercise through which a child is able to build trust on him/herself. These activities help them to make choices.

The teachers should also teach the children to manage the conflicts. Marion (2003) suggested 6 steps for managing conflicts: 1) To make them identify the conflicts. 2) Invite the child to resolve the conflict. 3) Assist them to produce a solution for the problem. 4) See how each idea will work. 5) Help them to apply the solution 6) evaluate whether the idea worked.

It is also very important to teach the child to reduce the stereotype. One of the most helpful and influential technique is to respect children’s culture by inserting multicultural literature in curriculum. There should be discussion on cultures and they should be taught about every culture (Parlakian & Sa?nchez,2006).

This way they will learn about their culture and will be able to learn about their values. The child must be also taught self discipline and self control. Harter and Shaffer (cited in Preusse, 2001) said, “Self-control is an essential part of how children learn, is important in a child’s growth and development, and is fundamental in preserving social and moral order.” Through self-control and self-discipline the child is taught to depend on their own action rather than other telling them.

In order to promote the development of self-control Kostelnik et al. (1988) suggested four strategies: 1) Tell the child what is the appropriate behaviour, inappropriate behaviour and the alternative behaviour. For example: stopping the child from certain behaviour like no more ice-cream for today or telling the alternative behaviour like don’t ride the bicycle inside, go outside. 2) Tell the difference between right and wrong. 3) Tell them the consequences of the wrong thing they are doing. 4) Make the child learn emotions which will help them to respond appropriately (in Preusse, 2001).

Furthermore children who have more secure and trusted relation with the teacher have positive peer relationships (Raikes, 1996). Through play the child interacts with other children. They make friends. In this way they learn to share, cooperate, positive verbal communication, help and showing concern. They learn how to interact with others and give confidence to them.

Future Issues Child Development’s underlying themes

There are several questions and issues that underlie the field of child development. One of the major issues is that the development is in continuous change or discontinuous change. In continuous change the change is slow and gradually increasing. The change process is same for the whole life and one achievement is built on another achievement making it a process. On the other hand discontinuous change occurs in steps and stages and every stage tends to bring a unique behavior in a child’s life which is observed to be completely different in terms of quality from the behavior of children encountered at early stages.

Studies have also shown that a child’s thinking and understanding drastically changes in various ways as they develop more in their life and also the change is not just a quantitative change but a qualitative change as well.

A big question which occurs in a child’s life regarding development which affects the child’s future behavior is whether the future behavior depends upon nature which is genetic dependent or whether it is upon nurture which is environmental based. The answer is rather simple, nature mostly only affects the appearance of a child like the color of eyes, height, skin color etc. it has very less to do with the behavior of the child and how a child will grow up to be. While, on the other hand nurture plays a big role in developing the child’s future behavior because from the very early age, the environment a child lives in has a deep impact and a lot of influence in the child’s development of future behavior. So there is very little debate to be held regarding this topic because mostly nurture dependency is the prominent case.

However, there are a few cases where nature also plays a vital role in the phenomena for example a child’s intelligence sometimes largely depends and is inherited by the parents directly and the human mind development which refers to the child’s performance in studies depends upon the nature. Shedding further light to the issue, we cannot just leave the intelligence factor only on nature because that would be too vague and simple. It definitely involves some complications as well, meaning the environment and standard of education plays an equal role in developing a child’s future behavior and intelligence.

So, all in all nature plays a slightly bigger part but nurture has it’s perks as well in developing the intelligence of a child’s behavior and intelligence because nurture tends to further improve the intelligence level of the child.


Pruitt, D., 1998.Your child: Emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development from birththrough preadolescence.New York.

Preusse,K., 2001. Your child: Emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development from birth through preadolescence.Earlychildhood NEWS.

Parlakian,R. & Sa?Nchez, S.Y., 2006. Cultural Influences On Early Language And Literacy teaching Practices. Zero To Three Press.

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