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Emotional and psychological development are associated with three theorists. Erik Erikson, Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby.

Erik Erikson
He built after Sigmund Freud’s work. He discovered eight separate stages across lifespan. He identified that in each stage people face difficulties that needs to be solved in order to grow emotionally and socially. There should be a positive or negative outcome of each stage. The environment plays a major role to determine the outcome, and the experiences to which we are exposed.

Erikson discovered eight stages and they are:
Trust versus Betray (infant)
Autonomy versus Shame and doubt (toddler)
Initiative versus Guilt (preschooler period)
Inferiority versus Industry (young adolescent period)
Identity versus Confusion (adolescent)
Intimacy versus Isolation (adult period)
Stagnation versus Generativity (middle adult period)
Ego versus Despair (old age)

John Bowlby
John Bowlby tested the attachment relationship between parents and their children. He discovered four phases in which the attachment develops. He ensured that children are born with a variety of behaviours. These behaviours include laughing, crying and so on and so forth. The attachment between child and parent develops over a period of time and is achieved by routine giving tasks to parents and children that parents and children are involved in.

Mary Ainswoth
In 1970s Bowlby’s work was used by Mary Ainsworth for her own approach. An experiment developed by Mary to the test quality of the attachment relation between mother and their children. The fact that the infant is securely attached determined by the ‘Strange Situation’, or the infant insecurely attached or avoidant of the parent.

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Theoretical Perspective
The theoretical perspective towards emotional and psychological development of a child in childhood is a combination of functionalist theory and dynamical theory. When a child encounters with an environment it can be seen as dynamic transactions that include multiple emotion related components (e.g., physiological patterning, actions, motives and goals, social and physical context, experiential feeling) that change when child gets mature with time and response to changing environmental interactions. Except that it also reflects social experience. Emotional and psychological development should be considered from bio-ecological framework that regards human beings as dynamic systems. Emotional and psychological development is the scientific studies of human beings that develop over the different stages of life. It is originally connected with infants and children; the theory has expanded to involve adolescence, adult development and the entire lifespan. Psychology development examines the influences of nature on the process of human development which change over time. Developmental psychologist includes wide range of fields.
Educational psychology
Child psychology
Child development
Cultural psychology
Forensic developmental psychology

The attachment relation with parents is the initial stage in which a child’s life unfolds. If parents know and meet the infant’s need, the infant realize that the world is safe place for his or her and that others are trustworthy and responsible too.

The child is then secure in his or her attachment to the parents or caregiver. The parents or caregiver’s attachment plays a vital role for the development of emotional skills, and also set the stages for his or her social relationship. A safe and secure attachment of parents leaves a child free to explore.

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Would you like to read more about this topic? This book might interest you: Child Development Theories.

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