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What Is Child Psychology?

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Samuel Chiltern Profile
Samuel Chiltern answered
Child psychology is often also referred to as developmental psychology, although the latter extends the study of children to encompass adult development, and the effects of ageing too.

Child development focuses on the functioning of the mind, and the way in which it develops, from the prenatal stage through to adolescence.

Key Areas Within Child Psychology
There are many different areas within child psychology, but some of the most notable include:
  • Genetics - the influence of physical characteristics upon the mind
  • Environmental influences
  • Prenatal development - the influence of development before birth
  • Social growth - the development of the child within its social world
  • Personality development
  • Language
  • Gender roles
  • Cognitive development - how children learn to understand their world
  • Sexual development
Emergence of Child Psychology
Although he never identified himself as a psychologist, Jean Piaget is attributed with being the first to argue that children think differently from adults. Whilst this may be strikingly obvious to us now, it had previously been assumed that children were merely smaller versions of adults.

Piaget's research helped him to identify several important developmental stages in child development.

Key Debates About Child Psychology
Some of the key debates within the field of child psychology include:

  • Whether early formative experiences affect development more than later ones
  • Whether it is nature, or nurture, that has the greatest impact on development - or a combination of both?
  • Continuity versus discontinuity - does development occur smoothly, or does it jump forward in discrete steps?
  • Abnormal behaviour versus individual differences - traditionally, psychologists focused on developmental deficits, in an attempt to explain behaviour, whereas the more modern approach is to focus on what makes individuals different from the norm.
Sarah Ahmed Profile
Sarah Ahmed answered
Children are the most sensitive creatures to any form of learning, they imitate and store in their vast storage system in their head. Try it yourself, you can recall incidents that happened even since you were 7 years old exactly and accurately.

As for the psychology of children, it is more complicated than for adults because they are fragile and flexible and torn apart easily under any relevant experiences. If you want your child to be well-brought up, then allow yourself to read and learn more.

It is not you bringing up your child however, it is a process of a mutual learning. A child can appear as spontaneous but his psychological background is a vast mirror mimicking all the surrounding systems and retaining them until old age.

To have the ability to treat children right, one has to guide children without direct instruction, because many children revolt against a direct instruction or guidance - they tend to follow what is attractive and new and more startling.
Ashwani Kumar Profile
Ashwani Kumar answered
Child psychology is a new branch of psychology associated with the personal and
social development of children. In fact, it can be defined as a branch of developmental psychology which focuses on the changes of human psychology at each phase of life.

It is one of the most interesting career options. It lets you study various perspectives of child psychology, including issues of nurture and whether the child is a product of heredity or a product of society and environment.
d ds Profile
d ds answered
Each and every person has a different personality, and their personality and behaviours are formed due to an accumulation of experiences over that person's life. The behaviours acquired during childhood play a very important role in the years to come.

Child psychology can help provide an understanding of a child's behaviour and emotions. Only after gaining this understanding can the child be influenced in a positive manner and at times it can help in the correction of behaviours that may be detrimental to the child as well as society.
Shelagh Young Profile
Shelagh Young answered
Child psychology is a specialism within developmental psychology. This is the scientific study of human development and behaviour.
Child psychologists might work therapeutically with children and their carers, perform research on child development and behaviour, or do both at some stage in their careers. There are lots of theories informing this work.

The most well known is the nature vs. Nurture debate. This asks the question about whether we are born to become the adults we grow into, or whether parenting and other influences make a difference.

Research into genetics and longitudinal studies throughout people's lives now suggests a combination of both. The influence of mothers and fathers, whether or not they remain the primary caregivers throughout childhood, is thought to be a crucial factor in the psychological and emotional development of all children.

All psychologists start with a similar educational background. Those who go on to specialise in child psychology might turn to work in educational psychology, which is an important part of the modern education and welfare system in the US and Europe.

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