What is Child Psychology?
Human’s infancy and childhood are the times full of fun but yet the most imperative part of their lives. These are the most pivotal ages of how a person will transform as an adult. Child Psychology, basically deals with :
- Understanding a child’s behavioural and developmental pattern as per the age group.
- It mainly deals with a child’s Physical, Social, Emotional and Cognitive development and its deviations.
- Child Psychology deals with how circumstances, internal / external factors change a person, right from an Infancy to an adult.
Why do we really need to know what children are thinking?
A child after being born reaches many milestones in their lives as in sitting, crawling, walking and these are distinctly visible to all of us. But there are many other milestones like, learning ability, social friendliness, handling emotions , developing personalities which can get easily get overridden by a parent. This is where, the need comes in to understand what a child thinks, how s/he behaves, what factors are leading to changes in the child’s behaviours.
And being a parent, it calls for a heads up. Observing any sort of deviance in normal psychology and its early treatment can help child grow into a positive and an healthy adult.
Understanding what your Child is thinking, is an answer to many “Why” which can crop up very soon. We all as a parent, try to understand our children to the best of our skill sets. A child’s brain is growing at a very fast pace and experiencing numerous conflicting emotions and different peer groups. All this is new to them and in this journey they need a friend, a guide in the form of their parents.
But there are many times wherein we may fail to interpret them / their actions correctly. Such mis interpretations form a wrong judgement of children in our minds and it often leads to poor decisions at our parenting part. These wrong decisions adversely affect our growing children and will also impact a parent – child relationship and a child’s psychology.
Hop on to understanding Child Behaviour as a Parent in easy 10 pointers!
Understanding Children’s Cognitive and Emotional stages:
Jean Piaget, an esteemed French Psychologist shared stages of Cognitive Development, which were an answer to what do the children learn at various stages and how do they react to the environmental factors. Sharing a small tabular form to help you understand Child Psychology in a much better way.
Cognitive skills, Memory, logics, reasoning, attention, emotions, all develop between ages 2-7years. And this is the major reason, why it is important for parents to understand what their child is visualising, thinking and trying to imbibe in life. These are the formative years of a Child’s Psychology and the resultant adult that s/he will become.
|Stages||Sensorimotor Stage||Preoperational Stage||Concrete Operational Stage||Formal Operational Stage|
|Ages||Birth – 1.6 – 2years||2-7year old (Toddlerhood – Early Childhood)||7-11year old||11 and older (Adolescence to Adulthood)|
|Developmental Factors||Learning via sensory touch, feel, visualisation of objects. Here they learn to react as per their immediate environment||Development of Imagination, Creativity, memory. Think about things symbolically. Understand between past and future. Thinking not completely logical||More Logical and reasoning aptitude. Kids start becoming less egocentric and understand that their own thoughts may be different from others. Become more aware of external events||More easy with Logical and scientific abstracts (Algebra, Science). They can now formulate hypothesis, use logic to solve problems|
|Other Emotional Research factors||Develop Emotions as Feeding, Rocking, rely on caretakers to provide emotional support under stress.||Express emotions as Shame, Pride, Joy, anger. Express emotions in plays. Empathic and altruistic behaviour can be seen||Self regulate their emotional states. Factors as cognitive development, self skills, Parental adjustment, parenting styles, family and school environment, Peer behaviour, Self Confidence and so play important role in Social and Emotional Development.|
Factors affecting Child Psychology
Every factor in a child’s surroundings impact the growing minds. Broadly these can be broken into 3 categories :
1. Environmental factors :
- Exploring Space
- Housing, Garden, Parks
- Kids community in nearby places
- Family Nutrition, Diet
- Family’s Financial Capabilities
- Family relationship’s (Single Parent, Family stress)
- Upbringing (with parents, nanny, daycare)
- Education, access to books, practical learnings
- Socio – Emotional development while in School
2. Biological factors :
- Girl or a Boy (Learning graphs vary)
- Family and Social treatment
- Treatment of both genders in family and surroundings
- Health of the child and family
- Warm and loving environment
- Behaviour of child’s care givers
3. Interpersonal relationships :
- Attachment towards Parents/Caregiver
- Responsive Infancy
- Ample options to explore
- Parenting Styles (authoritative, authoritarian, permissive or uninvolved)
- Social Circle, Friends at school and back home
A child’s feeling, understanding, intellect is a combination of all these factors. Basis a complex weaving of similar factors will a child arrive at a specific behaviour.
Love to read 10 pointers to help you understand your child behaviour?
Why not read Developing Resilience in kids?