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All people - Child development that occurs from birth to adulthood was largely ignored throughout much of history.

Children were often viewed simply as small versions of adults and little attention was paid to the many advances in cognitive abilities, language usage, and physical growth that occurs during childhood and adolescence.

Interest in the field of child development finally began to emerge early in the 20th-century, but it tended to focus on abnormal behavior. Eventually, researchers became increasingly interested in other topics including typical child development as well as the influences on development. An understanding of child development is essential, allowing us to fully appreciate the cognitive, emotional, physical, social and educational growth that children go through from birth and into early adulthood. Some of the major theories of child development are known as grand theories; they attempt to describe every aspect of development, often using a stage approach. Others are known as mini-theories; they instead focus only on a fairly limited aspect of development, such as cognitive or social growth. The following are just a few of the many child development theories that have been proposed by theorists and researchers. More recent theories outline the developmental stages of children and identify the typical ages at which these growth milestones occur. Psychoanalytic Child Development Theories Sigmund Freud The theories proposed by Sigmund Freud stressed the importance of childhood events and experiences, but almost exclusively focused on mental disorders rather that normal functioning. According to Freud, child development is described as a series of 'psychosexual stages.' In "Three Essays on Sexuality" (1915), Freud outlined these stages as oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. Each stage involves the satisfaction of a libidinal desire and can later play a role in adult personality. If a child does not successfully complete a stage, Freud suggested that he or she would develop a fixation that would later influence adult personality and behavior. Learn more in this article on Freuds stages of psychosexual development. Erik Erikson Theorist Erik Erikson also proposed a stage theory of development, but his theory encompassed human growth throughout the entire human lifespan. Erikson believed that each stage of development was focused on overcoming a conflict. For example, the primary conflict during the adolescent period involves establishing a sense of personal identity. Success or failure in dealing with the conflicts at each stage can impact overall functioning. During the adolescent stage, for example, failure to develop an identity results in role confusion. Learn more about this theory in this article on Eriksons stages of psychosocial development. Cognitive Child Development Theories Theorist Jean Piaget suggested that children think differently than adults and proposed a stage theory of cognitive development. He was the first to note that children play an active role in gaining knowledge of the world. According to his theory, children can be thought of as "little scientists" who actively construct their knowledge and understanding of the world. Learn more in this article on Piagets stages of cognitive development. Behavioral Child Development Theories Behavioral theories of child development focus on how environmental interaction influences behavior and are based upon the theories of theorists such as John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov and B. F. Skinner. These theories deal only with observable behaviors. Development is considered a reaction to rewards, punishments, stimuli and reinforcement. This theory differs considerably from other child development theories because it gives no consideration to internal thoughts or feelings. Instead, it focuses purely on how experience shapes who we are. Learn more about these behavioral theories in these articles on classical conditioning and operant conditioning.

Final Thoughts As you can see, some of psychology's best known thinkers have developed theories to help explore and explain different aspects of child development. Today, contemporary psychologists often draw on a variety of theories and perspectives in order to understand how kids grow, behave and think.

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You did not specify exactly what your question is, but here is what I can share: This theory is used primarily in Psychology and Sociology. Essentially each person follows a progression of development from birth through death. Abraham Maslow developed a "Hierarchy of Needs" used in the problem identification process. It begins with the most basic of physical needs and ends with the need of individuals to become self-actualized and develop their understanding of themselves and their environment. The idea is that one can cannot address higher-order needs until their most basic needs are first met. "Although everyone goes through the same developmental stages, individuals experience these stages in different ways. Development may be affected by the social context in which the individual lives - the home, family, community, culture, country, and sociopolitical climate. A person's characteristics, including traits, wishes, values and childhood experiences, may also influence the way the experiences each stage,(p 134)". Physiological needs - food and shelter Safety - protection and security Social - Acceptance, love Esteem - recognition, independence Self-Actualization This is a very basic overview but it it is worth investigating further. I believe that another phase may have been added more recently. This is a very interesting addition to developmental theorists writings. You might find Erikson's developmental perspective worth looking into. Google scholar is also a good resource as well as

Woodside, M.R.,& McClam, T (2009 ed 6):An Introduction to Human Services (Ch.5 p134138)
Let me now present the eight Maslow needs and explain it using analogies form other eight stage models.


Physiological needs: These are the basic animal needs for such things as food, warmth, shelter, sex, water, and other body needs. If a person is hungry or thirsty or his body is chemically unbalanced, all of his energies turn toward remedying these deficiencies, and other needs remain inactive. If ones basic biological needs are not met, one would never be able to trust the environment and would be stuck with high neuroticism and anxiety.


Safety needs:With his physical needs relatively satisfied, the individuals safety needs take over and dominate his behavior. These needs have to do with mans yearning for a predictable, orderly world in which injustice and inconsistency are under control, the familiar frequent, and the unfamiliar rare. This need for consistency, if not satisfied leads to feelings of doubt and shame (as opposed to feelings of autonomy or being in control) and lead to high conscientiousness or need for discipline and orderliness.


Belonging needs:After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third layer of human needs is social. This psychological aspect of Maslows hierarchy involves emotionally-based relationships in general, such as friendship, sexual intimacy and having a supportive and communicative family. If one finds failure in having such close relationships, one is bedeviled with such negative social emotions like guilt (vis a vis initiative) and has low extraversion values.


Self-esteem needs: All humans have a need to be respected, to have self-esteem, self-respect, and to respect others. People need to engage themselves to gain recognition and have an activity or activities that give the person a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and self-valued, be it in a profession or hobby. This need if not satisfied leads to feelings of inferiority vis-a-vis feelings of industry. Feelings of inferiority in turn may lead to low agreeableness.


Cognitive needs:Maslow believed that humans have the need to increase their intelligence and thereby chase knowledge. Cognitive needs is the expression of the natural human need to learn, explore, discover and create to get a better understanding of the world around them.This growth need for self-actualization and learning, when not fulfilled leads to confusion and identity crisis. Also, this is directly related to need to explore or the openness to experience.


Aesthetic needs: Based on Maslows beliefs, it is stated in the hierarchy that humans need beautiful imagery or something new and aesthetically pleasing to continue up towards Self-Actualization. Humans need to refresh themselves in the presence and beauty of nature while carefully absorbing and observing their surroundings to extract the beauty that the world has to offer. This need is a higher level need to relate in a beautiful way with the environment and leads to the beautiful feeling of intimacy with nature and everything beautiful.


Self-actualization needs: Self-actualization is the instinctual need of humans to make the most of their abilities and to strive to be the best they can.This need when fulfilled leads to feeling of generativity.


Self-transcendence needs: Maslow later divided the top of the triangle to add self-transcendence which is also sometimes referred to as spiritual needs. Spiritual Needs are a little different from other needs, accessible from many level. This need when fulfilled, leads to feelings of integrity and take things to another level of being.


The stages
Approximate Age[2] 0-2 years 2-4 years Virtues Hopes Will Psycho Significant Social Crisis Relationship[2] Basic Trust Mother vs. Mistrust Autonomy vs. Shame and Parents Doubt Initiative vs. Family Guilt Existential Examples[2] [2] Question Can I Trust Feeding, The World? Abandonment Toilet Training, Is It Ok To Be Clothing Me? Themselves Is It Ok For Exploring, Me To Do, Using Tools or Move and Making Art Act?

4-5 years


5-12 years

Industry vs. Competence Inferiority Identity vs. Role Confusion

Neighbors, School

13-19 years


20-24 years


25-64 years




Adolescence, Peers, Role Models Young Intimacy vs. adulthood, Can I Love? Isolation Friends, Partners Middle adulhood, Can I Make Generativity Household, My Life vs. Stagnation Workmates Count? Is It Ok To Ego Integrity Mankind, My Have Been vs. Despair Kind Me?

Can I Make It In The World School, Sports Of People And Things? Who Am I? Social What Can I Relationships Be? Romantic Relationships Work, Parenthood Reflection on Life

Psychosocial Stage 1 - Trust vs. Mistrust

The first stage of Eriksons theory of psychosocial development occurs between birth and one year of age and is the most fundamental stage in life.2

Because an infant is utterly dependent, the development of trust is based on the dependability and quality of the childs caregivers.

If a child successfully develops trust, he or she will feel safe and secure in the world. Caregivers who are inconsistent, emotionally unavailable, or rejecting contribute to feelings of mistrust in the children they care for. Failure to develop trust will result in fear and a belief that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable. Psychosocial Stage 2 - Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt

The second stage of Erikson's theory of psychosocial development takes place during early childhood and is focused on children developing a greater sense of personal control.2

Like Freud, Erikson believed that toilet training was a vital part of this process. However, Erikson's reasoning was quite different then that of Freud's. Erikson believe that learning to control ones body functions leads to a feeling of control and a sense of independence.

Other important events include gaining more control over food choices, toy preferences, and clothing selection.

Children who successfully complete this stage feel secure and confident, while those who do not are left with a sense of inadequacy and self-doubt.

Psychosocial Stage 3 - Initiative vs. Guilt

During the preschool years, children begin to assert their power and control over the world through directing play and other social interaction.

Children who are successful at this stage feel capable and able to lead others. Those who fail to acquire these skills are left with a sense of guilt, self-doubt and lack of initiative.3 Psychosocial Stage 4 - Industry vs. Inferiority

This stage covers the early school years from approximately age 5 to 11.

Through social interactions, children begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments and abilities.

Children who are encouraged and commended by parents and teachers develop a feeling of competence and belief in their skills. Those who receive little or no encouragement from parents, teachers, or peers will doubt their ability to be successful. Psychosocial Stage 5 - Identity vs. Confusion

During adolescence, children are exploring their independence and developing a sense of self.

Those who receive proper encouragement and reinforcement through personal exploration will emerge from this stage with a strong sense of self and a feeling of independence and control. Those who remain unsure of their beliefs and desires will insecure and confused about themselves and the future. Psychosocial Stage 6 - Intimacy vs. Isolation

This stage covers the period of early adulthood when people are exploring personal relationships.

Erikson believed it was vital that people develop close, committed relationships with other people. Those who are successful at this step will develop relationships that are committed and secure.

Remember that each step builds on skills learned in previous steps. Erikson believed that a strong sense of personal identity was important to developing intimate relationships. Studies have demonstrated that those with a poor sense of self tend to have less committed relationships and are more likely to suffer emotional isolation, loneliness, and depression. Psychosocial Stage 7 - Generativity vs. Stagnation

During adulthood, we continue to build our lives, focusing on our career and family.

Those who are successful during this phase will feel that they are contributing to the world by being active in their home and community. Those who fail to attain this skill will feel unproductive and uninvolved in the world.

Psychosocial Stage 8 - Integrity vs. Despair

This phase occurs during old age and is focused on reflecting back on life.

Those who are unsuccessful during this phase will feel that their life has been wasted and will experience many regrets. The individual will be left with feelings of bitterness and despair.

Those who feel proud of their accomplishments will feel a sense of integrity. Successfully completing this phase means looking back with few regrets and a general feeling of satisfaction. These individuals will attain wisdom, even when confronting death.


The Nature of Intelligence: Operative and Figurative Intelligence

Piaget believed that reality is a dynamic system of continuous change, and as such is defined in reference to the two conditions that define dynamic systems. Specifically, he argued that reality involves transformations and states. Transformations refer to all manners of changes that a thing or person can undergo. States refer to the conditions or the appearances in which things or persons can be found between transformations. For example, there might be changes in shape or form (for instance, liquids are reshaped as they are transferred from one vessel to another, humans change in their characteristics as they grow older), in size (e.g., a series of coins on a table might be placed close to each other or far apart) in placement or location in space and time (e.g., various objects or persons might be found at one place at one time and at a different place at another time). Thus, Piaget argued, that if human intelligence is to be adaptive, it must have functions to represent both the transformational and the static aspects of reality. He proposed that operative intelligence is responsible for the representation and manipulation of the dynamic or transformational aspects of reality and that figurative intelligence is responsible for the representation of the static aspects of reality.[1] Operative intelligence is the active aspect of intelligence. It involves all actions, overt or covert, undertaken in order to follow, recover, or anticipate the transformations of the objects or persons of interest. Figurative intelligence is the more or less static aspect of intelligence, involving all means of representation used to retain in mind the states (i.e., successive forms, shapes, or locations) that intervene between transformations. That is, it involves perception,

imitation, mental imagery, drawing, and language. Therefore, the figurative aspects of intelligence derive their meaning from the operative aspects of intelligence, because states cannot exist independently of the transformations that interconnect them. Piaget believed that the figurative or the representational aspects of intelligence are subservient to its operative and dynamic aspects, and therefore, that understanding essentially derives from the operative aspect of intelligence. At any time, operative intelligence frames how the world is understood and it changes if understanding is not successful. Piaget believed that this process of understanding and change involves two basic functions: Assimilation and accommodation.

[edit] Assimilation and Accommodation

Through studying the field of education Piaget focused on accommodation and assimilation. Assimilation, one of two processes coined by Jean Piaget, describes how humans perceive and adapt to new information. It is the process of taking ones environment and new information and fitting it into pre-existing cognitive schemas. Assimilation occurs when humans are faced with new or unfamiliar information and refer to previously learned information in order to make sense of it. Accommodation, unlike assimilation is the process of taking one's environment and new information, and altering one's pre-existing schemas in order to fit in the new information. Through a series of stages, Piaget explains the ways in which characteristics are constructed that lead to specific types of thinking; this chart is called Cognitive Development. To Piaget, assimilation is integrating external elements into structures of lives or environments or those we could have through experience. It is through assimilation that accommodation is derived. Accommodation is imperative because it is how people will continue to interpret new concepts, schemas, frameworks, etc.[2] Assimilation is different from accommodation because of how it relates to the inner organism due to the environment. Piaget believes that the human brain has been programmed through evolution to bring equilibrium, and to move upwards in a process to equilibriate what is not. The equilibrium is what Piaget believes ultimately influences structures because of the internal and external processes through assimilation and accommodation. Piaget's understanding is that these two functions cannot exist without the other. To assimilate an object into an existing mental schema, one first needs to take into account or accommodate to the particularities of this object to a certain extent; for instance, to recognize

(assimilate) an apple as an apple one needs first to focus (accommodate) on the contour of this object. To do this one needs to roughly recognize the size of the object. Development increases the balance or equilibration between these two functions. When in balance with each other, assimilation and accommodation generate mental schemas of the operative intelligence. When one function dominates over the other, they generate representations which belong to figurative intelligence. Following from this conception Piaget theorized that intelligence is active and constructive. It is active in the literal sense of the term as it depends on the actions (overt or covert, assimilatory or accommodatory), which the thinker executes in order to build and rebuild his models of the world. It is also constructive because actions, particularly mental actions, are coordinated into more inclusive and cohesive systems, thus they are raised to more stable and effective levels of functioning.

[edit] Sensorimotor stage

The sensorimotor stage is the first of the four stages in cognitive development which "extends from birth to the acquisition of language".[3] "In this stage, infants construct an understanding of the world by coordinating experiences (such as seeing and hearing) with physical, motoric actions. Infants gain knowledge of the world from the physical actions they perform on it. An infant progresses from reflexive, instinctual action at birth to the beginning of symbolic thought toward the end of the stage. Piaget divided the sensorimotor stage into six sub-stages"[4]:02 years, Infants just have senses-vision, hearing, and motor skills, such as grasping, sucking, and stepping.---from Psychology Study Guide by Bernstein, Penner, Clarke-Stewart, Roy The first stage is called the Sensorimotor stage (birth to about age 2). In this stage knowledge of the world is limited (but developing) because its based on physical interactions/experiences. The child learns that he is separate from his environment and that aspects of his environment continue to exist even though they may be outside the reach of his senses. Behaviors are limited to simple motor responses caused by sensory stimuli. In this stage according to Piaget, the development of object permanence is one of the most important accomplishments at the sensorimotor stage. (Object permanence is a childs understanding that objects continue to exist even though they cannot be seen or heard).
Sub-Stage Age Description

1 Simple Reflexes

Birth6 weeks

"Coordination of sensation and action through reflexive behaviors".[4] Three primary reflexes are described by Piaget: sucking of objects in the mouth, following moving or interesting objects with the eyes, and closing of the hand when an object makes contact with the palm (palmar grasp). Over the first six weeks of life, these reflexes begin to become voluntary actions; for example, the palmar reflex becomes intentional grasping.[5]). "Coordination of sensation and two types of schemes: habits (reflex) and primary circular reactions (reproduction of an event that initially occurred by chance). Main focus is still on the infant's body." [4] As an example of this type of reaction, an infant might repeat the motion of passing their hand before their face. Also at this phase, passive reactions, caused by classical or operant conditioning, can begin.[5] Development of habits. "Infants become more object-oriented, moving beyond self-preoccupation; repeat actions that bring interesting or pleasurable results."[4] This stage is associated primarily with the development of coordination between vision and prehension. Three new abilities occur at this stage: intentional grasping for a desired object, secondary circular reactions, and differentiations between ends and means. At this stage, infants will intentionally grasp the air in the direction of a desired object, often to the amusement of friends and family. Secondary circular reactions, or the repetition of an action involving an external object begin; for example, moving a switch to turn on a light repeatedly. The differentiation between means and ends also occurs. This is perhaps one of the most important stages of a child's growth as it signifies the dawn of logic.[5]

2 First habits and primary circular reactions phase

6 weeks4 months

3 Secondary circular 4 reactions phase 8 months

4 Coordination of secondary circular reactions stages

"Coordination of vision and touch--hand-eye coordination; coordination of schemes and intentionality." [4] This stage is associated primarily with the development of logic and the 8 coordination between means and ends. This is an extremely 12 months important stage of development, holding what Piaget calls the "first proper intelligence." Also, this stage marks the beginning of goal orientation, the deliberate planning of steps to meet an objective.[5] "Infants become intrigued by the many properties of objects and by the many things they can make happen to objects; they 12 [4] 18 months experiment with new behavior." This stage is associated primarily with the discovery of new means to meet goals. Piaget describes the child at this juncture as the "young scientist,"

5 Tertiary circular reactions, novelty, and curiosity

conducting pseudo-experiments to discover new methods of meeting challenges.[5] "Infants develop the ability to use primitive symbols and form 6 Internalization of 18 enduring mental representations." [4] This stage is associated Schemes 24 months primarily with the beginnings of insight, or true creativity. This marks the passage into the preoperational stage.

By the end of the sensorimotor period, objects are both separate from the self and permanent. Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched. Acquiring the sense of object permanence is one of the infant's most important accomplishments, according to Piaget.[4]

[edit] Preoperational stage

The Cognitive Development Approaches. By observing sequences of play, Jean Piaget was able to demonstrate that towards the end of the second year, a qualitatively new kind of psychological functioning occurs.[6] (Pre)Operatory Thought is any procedure for mentally acting on objects. The hallmark of the preoperational stage is sparse and logically inadequate mental operations. During this stage, the child learns to use and to represent objects by images, words, and drawings.The child is able to form stable concepts as well as mental reasoning and magical beliefs. The child however is still not able to perform operations; tasks that the child can do mentally rather than physically. Thinking is still egocentric. The child has difficulty taking the viewpoint of others. Two substages can be formed from preoperative thought.[6]

The Symbolic Function Substage Occurs between about the ages of 2 and 7. At 2-4 years of age, kids cannot yet manipulate and transform information in logical ways, but they now can think in images and symbols. The child is able to formulate designs of objects that are not present. Other examples of mental abilities are language and pretend play. Although there is an advance in progress, there are still limitations such as egocentrism and animism. Egocentrism occurs when a child is unable to distinguish between their own perspective and that of another person's. Children tend to pick their own view of what they see rather than the actual view shown to others. An example is an experiment performed by Piaget and Barbel Inhelder. Three views of a mountain are shown and the child is asked what a traveling doll would see at the various angles; the child picks their own view compared to the actual view of the doll. Animism is the belief that inanimate objects are capable of actions and have lifelike

qualities. An example is a child believing that the sidewalk was mad and made them fall down.[6]

The Intuitive Thought Substage Occurs between about the ages of 4 and 7. Children tend to become very curious and ask many questions; begin the use of primitive reasoning. There is an emergence in the interest of reasoning and wanting to know why things are the way they are. Piaget called it the intuitive substage because children realize they have a vast amount of knowledge but they are unaware of how they know it.'Centration' and 'conservation' are both involved in preoperative thought. Centration is the act of focusing all attention on one characteristic compared to the others. Centration is noticed in conservation; the awareness that altering a substance's appearance does not change its basic properties. Children at this stage are unaware of conservation.Example, In Piaget's most famous task, a child is presented with two identical beakers containing the same amount of liquid. The child usually notes that the beakers have the same amount of liquid.When one of the beakers is poured into a taller and thinner container, children who are younger than 7 or 8 years old typically say that the two beakers no longer contain the same amount of liquid, and the taller container holds the larger quantity. The child simply focuses on the height and width of the container compared to the general concept.[6]

The second stage is called Pre-operational stage (begins about the time the child starts to talk at about the age of 2). Intelligence is demonstrated through the use of symbols, language use matures, and memory and imaginations are developed. The childs thinking is influenced by fantasy(the way hed like things to be)and the child assumes that others see situations from his viewpoint. The child takes in informations and then changes it in his mind to fit his idea. Piaget noted that children in this stage do not yet understand concrete logic, cannot mentally manipulate information. Childrens increase in playing and pretending takes place in the preoperational stage.

[edit] Concrete operational stage

The concrete operational stage is the third of four stages of cognitive development in Piaget's theory. This stage, which follows the preoperational stage, occurs between the ages of 7 and 11 years[7] and is characterized by the appropriate use of logic. Important processes during this stage are: Seriationthe ability to sort objects in an order according to size, shape, or any other characteristic. For example, if given different-shaded objects they may make a color gradient. Transitivity- Transitivity, which refers to the ability to recognize relationships among various things in a serial order. For example, when told to put away his books according to

height, the child recognizes that he starts with placing the tallest one on one end of the bookshelf and the shortest one ends up at the other end. Classificationthe ability to name and identify sets of objects according to appearance, size or other characteristic, including the idea that one set of objects can include another. Decenteringwhere the child takes into account multiple aspects of a problem to solve it. For example, the child will no longer perceive an exceptionally wide but short cup to contain less than a normally-wide, taller cup. Reversibilitythe child understands that numbers or objects can be changed, then returned to their original state. For example, during this stage, a child understands that a favorite ball that deflates is not gone but can be filled with air again and put back into play. Conservationunderstanding that quantity, length or number of items is unrelated to the arrangement or appearance of the object or items. Elimination of Egocentrismthe ability to view things from another's perspective (even if they think incorrectly). For instance, show a child a comic in which Jane puts a doll under a box, leaves the room, and then Melissa moves the doll to a drawer, and Jane comes back. A child in the concrete operations stage will say that Jane will still think it's under the box even though the child knows it is in the drawer. (See also False-belief task). Children in this stage can, however, only solve problems that apply to actual (concrete) objects or events, and not abstract concepts or hypothetical tasks. The third stage is known as Concrete operational stage (First grade to early adolescence): Intelligence is demonstrated through logical and systematic manipulation of symbols related to concrete objects. The child develops an ability to think abstractly and to make rational judgements about concrete or observable phenomena, which in the past he needed to manipulate physically to understand. Logic: Piaget determined that children in the concrete operational stage were able to incorporate inductive logic. On the other hand, children at this age have difficulty using deductive logic, which involves using a general principle to predict the outcome of a specific event. Reversibility: An example of this is being able to reverse the order of relationships between mental categories. For example, a child might be able to recognize that his or her dog is a Labrador, that a Labrador is a dog, and that a dog is an animal.

[edit] Formal operational stage

The formal operational period is the fourth and final of the periods of cognitive development in Piaget's theory.[8] This stage, which follows the Concrete Operational stage, commences at around 11 years of age (puberty) and continues into adulthood.[8] In this stage, individuals move beyond concrete experiences and begin to think abstractly, reason logically and draw conclusions from the information available, as well as apply all these processes to hypothetical situations.[8] The abstract quality of the adolescent's thought at the formal operational level is evident in the adolescent's verbal problem solving ability.[8] The logical quality of the adolescent's thought is when children are more likely to solve problems in a trial-and-error fashion.[8] Adolescents begin to think more as a scientist thinks, devising plans to solve problems and systematically testing solutions.[8] They use hypothetical-deductive reasoning, which means that they develop hypotheses or best guesses, and systematically deduce, or conclude, which is the best path to follow in solving the problem.[8] During this stage the adolescent is able to understand such things as love, "shades of gray", logical proofs and values. During this stage the young person begins to entertain possibilities for the future and is fascinated with what they can be.[8] Adolescents are changing cognitively also by the way that they think about social matters.[8] Adolescent Egocentrism governs the way that adolescents think about social matters and is the heightened self-consciousness in them as they are which is reflected in their sense of personal uniqueness and invincibility.[8] Adolescent egocentrism can be dissected into two types of social thinking, imaginary audience that involves attention getting behavior, and personal fable which involves an adolescent's sense of personal uniqueness and invincibility.[8] The final stage is known as Formal operational stage (adolescence and into adulthood): Intelligence is demonstrated through the logical use of symbols related to abstract concepts. At this point, the person is capable of hypothetical and deductive reasoning. During this time, people develop the ability to think about abstract concepts. Logic: Piaget believed that deductive logic becomes important during the formal operational stage. This type of thinking involves hypothetical situations and is often required in science and mathematics. Abstract thought emerges during the formal operational stage. Children tend to think very concretely and specifically in earlier stages. Children begin to consider possible outcomes and consequences of actions. Problem-Solving is when children use trial-and-error to solve problems. The ability to systematically solve a problem in a logical and methodical way emerges.

[edit] The stages and causation

Piaget sees childrens conception of causation as a march from "primitive" conceptions of cause to those of a more scientific, rigorous, and mechanical nature. These primitive concepts are characterized as magical, with a decidedly nonnatural or nonmechanical tone. Piaget attributes this to his most basic assumption: that babies are phenomenists. That is, their knowledge "consists of assimilating things to schemas" from their own action such that they appear, from the childs point of view, "to have qualities which in fact stem from the organism." Consequently, these "subjective conceptions," so prevalent during Piagets first stage of development, are dashed upon discovering deeper empirical truths. Piaget gives the example of a child believing the moon and stars follow him on a night walk; upon learning that such is the case for his friends, he must separate his self from the object, resulting in a theory that the moon is immobile, or moves independently of other agents. The second stage, from around three to eight years of age, is characterized by a mix of this type of magical, animistic, or nonnatural conceptions of causation and mechanical or "naturalisitic" causation. This conjunction of natural and nonnatural causal explanations supposedly stems from experience itself, though Piaget does not make much of an attempt to describe the nature of the differences in conception; in his interviews with children, he asked specifically about natural phenomena: what makes clouds move? What makes the stars move? Why do rivers flow? The nature of all the answers given, Piaget says, are such that these objects must perform their actions to "fulfill their obligations towards men." He calls this "moral explanation." In addition to his proposed idea that childrens cognitive performance is directly related to the stage they are in, he proposed four major stages of development. The Sensorimotor Period (birth to 2 years) During the sensorimotor stage, infants and toddlers "think" with their eyes, ears, hands, and other sensorimotor equipment ( Piaget said that a childs cognitive system is limited to motor reflexes at birth, but the child builds on these reflexes to develop more sophisticated procedures. They learn to generalize their activities to a wider range of situations and coordinate them into increasingly lengthy chains of behavior. Preoperational Thought (2 to 6/7 years) At this age, according to Piaget, children acquire representational skills in the area of mental imagery,

and especially language. They are very self-oriented, and have an egocentric view; that is, preoperational children can use these representational skills only to view the world from their own perspective. Concrete Operations (6/7 to 11/12 years) As opposed to preoperational children, children in the concrete operations stage are able to take into account another persons point of view and consider more than one perspective simultaneously, with their thought process being more logical, flexible, and organized than in early childhood. They can also represent transformations as well as static situations. Although they can understand concrete problems, Piaget would argue that they cannot yet contemplate or solve abstract problems, and that they are not yet able to consider all of the logically possible outcomes. Children at this stage would have the ability to pass conservation (numerical), classification, seriation, and spatial reasoning tasks. Formal Operations (11/12 to adult) Persons who reach the formal operation stage are capable of thinking logically and abstractly. They can also reason theoretically. Piaget considered this the ultimate stage of development, and stated that although the children would still have to revise their knowledge base, their way of thinking was as powerful as it would get.
According to Sigmund Freud, personality is mostly established by the age of five. Early experiences play a large role in personality development and continue to influence behavior later in life. Freud's theory of psychosexual development is one of the best known, but also one of the most controversial. Freud believed that personality develops through a series of childhood stages during which the pleasure-seeking energies of the id become focused on certain erogenous areas. This psychosexual energy, or libido, was described as the driving force behind behavior. If these psychosexual stages are completed successfully, the result is a healthy personality. If certain issues are not resolved at the appropriate stage, fixation can occur. A fixation is a persistent focus on an earlier psychosexual stage. Until this conflict is resolved, the individual will remain "stuck" in this stage. For example, a person who is fixated at the oral stage may be over-dependent on others and may seek oral stimulation through smoking, drinking, or eating. Age Range: Birth to 1 Year Erogenous Zone: Mouth During the oral stage, the infant's primary source of interaction occurs through the mouth, so the rooting and sucking reflex is especially important. The mouth is vital for eating, and the infant derives pleasure from oral stimulation through gratifying activities such as tasting and sucking. Because the infant is entirely dependent upon caretakers (who are responsible for feeding the child), the infant also develops a sense of trust and comfort through this oral stimulation. The primary conflict at this stage is the weaning process--the child must become less dependent upon caretakers. If fixation occurs at this stage, Freud believed the individual would have issues with dependency or aggression. Oral fixation can result in problems with drinking, eating, smoking or nail biting.

The Anal Stage

Age Range: 1 to 3 years Erogenous Zone: Bowel and Bladder Control During the anal stage, Freud believed that the primary focus of the libido was on controlling bladder and bowel movements. The major conflict at this stage is toilet training--the child has to learn to control his or her bodily needs. Developing this control leads to a sense of accomplishment and independence. According to Freud, success at this stage is dependent upon the way in which parents approach toilet training. Parents who utilize praise and rewards for using the toilet at the appropriate time encourage positive outcomes and help children feel capable and productive. Freud believed that positive experiences during this stage served as the basis for people to become competent, productive and creative adults. However, not all parents provide the support and encouragement that children need during this stage. Some parents' instead punish, ridicule or shame a child for accidents. According to Freud, inappropriate parental responses can result in negative outcomes. If parents take an approach that is too lenient, Freud suggested that an anal-expulsive personality could develop in which the individual has a messy, wasteful or destructive personality. If parents are too strict or begin toilet training too early, Freud believed that an anal-retentive personality develops in which the individual is stringent, orderly, rigid and obsessive.

The Phallic Stage

Age Range: 3 to 6 Years Erogenous Zone: Genitals During the phallic stage, the primary focus of the libido is on the genitals. At this age, children also begin to discover the differences between males and females. Freud also believed that boys begin to view their fathers as a rival for the mothers affections. The Oedipus complex describes these feelings of wanting to possess the mother and the desire to replace the father. However, the child also fears that he will be punished by the father for these feelings, a fear Freud termed castration anxiety. The term Electra complex has been used to described a similar set of feelings experienced by young girls. Freud, however, believed that girls instead experience penis envy. Eventually, the child begins to identify with the same-sex parent as a means of vicariously possessing the other parent. For girls, however, Freud believed that penis envy was never fully resolved and that all women remain somewhat fixated on this stage. Psychologists such as Karen Horney disputed this theory, calling it both inaccurate and demeaning to women. Instead, Horney proposed that men experience feelings of inferiority because they cannot give birth to children.

The Latent Period

Age Range: 6 to Puberty Erogenous Zone: Sexual Feelings Are Inactive During the latent period, the libido interests are suppressed. The development of the ego and superego contribute to this period of calm. The stage begins around the time that children enter into school and become more concerned with peer relationships, hobbies and other interests. The latent period is a time of exploration in which the sexual energy is still present, but it is directed into other areas such as intellectual pursuits and social interactions. This stage is important in the development of social and communication skills and self-confidence.

The Genital Stage

Age Range: Puberty to Death Erogenous Zone: Maturing Sexual Interests

During the final stage of psychosexual development, the individual develops a strong sexual interest in the opposite sex. This stage begins during puberty but last throughout the rest of a person's life. Where in earlier stages the focus was solely on individual needs, interest in the welfare of others grows during this stage. If the other stages have been completed successfully, the individual should now be well-balanced, warm and caring. The goal of this stage is to establish a balance between the various life areas.

Evaluating Freuds Psychosexual Stage Theory

The theory is focused almost entirely on male development with little mention of female psychosexual development.

His theories are difficult to test scientifically. Concepts such as the libido are impossible to measure, and therefore cannot be tested. The research that has been conducted tends to discredit Freud's theory.

Future predictions are too vague. How can we know that a current behavior was caused specifically by a childhood experience? The length of time between the cause and the effect is too long to assume that there is a relationship between the two variables.

Freud's theory is based upon case studies and not empirical research. Also, Freud based his theory on the recollections of his adult patients, not on actual observation and study of children.


Communicating and Providing Continuity of Care The health-care record is, first and foremost, a clinical document. It should include information to identify the client, the care provider, the date of the encounter, the problem(s) being addressed, care provided, the clinical reasoning for the choice of care, the clients response and/or outcome of the interventions and future plans. Effective written communication skills are essential in order to precisely document each of these components of nursing practice. When done well, nursing documentation is a valuable tool to support effective communication between providers and continuity of care within and across settings. A good test to evaluate whether a clients health-care record is a satisfactory clinical document is to answer the following question: If another RN had to step in to care for the client because the assigned RN was not available, does the healthcare record provide sufficient information for the seamless delivery of safe, competent and ethical care to the client? Accountability In In Alberta, RNs are required to adhere to the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses and the CARNA Nursing Practice Standards. They have a responsibility to apply nursing knowledge and skill in providing safe, competent, ethical care (CARNA, 2003). A registered nurses professional practice with respect to documentation should reflect such safe, competent nursing care. Registered nurses are responsible for their own nursing practice, and documentation is a part of that responsibility. Comprehensive and accurate documentation provides a record of astute nursing insights, reflects the excellence of holistic nursing care, and provides a health-care record of the professional and personal support that RNs provide every day to

clients and their families. The RNs documentation may be used in legal proceedings. Complete, accurate and thorough nursing documentation provides evidence that the RN has met the requirements expected in the role in a particular practice setting. Registered nurses must document the care they provide. Documentation on the client record is an indication of the care provided to the client and makes RN care visible. Legal Implications of Documentation The client health-care record is an important legal document. It provides information that shows care has been provided, and it can be used to resolve questions or concerns about accountability and the provision of care. Documentation provides a chronological record of the many events involving a client from admission to discharge and may be used to refresh the RNs memory if they are required to give evidence in court. It is very common for the courts to use clinical documents to reconstruct events, establish times and dates, and resolve conflict in testimony. Facilitating Evidence-Based Practice Evidence-based practice is supported and informed by research findings, as well as by the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience of registered nurses. The health-care record can be an important source of data for nursing and health research and, for this purpose, accurate and thorough documentation is essential. The documentation by the RN provides a rich source of information related to nursing interventions and evaluation of client outcomes.


The following guidelines provide expectations and suggestions to assist RNs in achieving complete and accurate documentation of client care within any setting. They are organized according to twelve topic areas commonly seen in published material regarding nursing documentation. 1. Objective/Factual Documentation Registered nurses must document accurately, completely, and objectively including any errors that occurred. An objective description is the result of direct observation and measurement. This means it should contain descriptive, objective information about what the registered nurse sees, hears, feels and smells. Registered nurses document relevant information related to client care but do not record opinions or assumptions. If something is not documented, it could be challenged or assumed that it was not done. It is important that RNs document all information thoroughly, including what was done and what was observed. For example, if a client was suctioned, the documentation would include why the client needed suctioning, what the outcome was, and the clients response to suctioning. Registered nurses must record clearly, legibly and accurately and use appropriate terminology. Use a consistent format that follows documentation policies and procedures, as well as forms that are specific to each practice setting. Take credit for care given and sign completely using first initial, full legal surname and designation. In some practice settings policies may allow the use of initials, but only if they can be uniquely linked to an individual care provider. Correct spelling and the use of exact measurements ensures that a health-care record is accurate and demonstrates a level of competency and attention to detail on the part of the RN. Because health-care records reflect accountability for the care provided, registered nurses should document their own observations and actions only. 2. Timeliness Documentation is enhanced when client information is entered frequently into the client

health-care record (Keatings & Smith, 2000). Contemporaneous documentation, defined as the completion of the health-care record notes as close to the time of care as possible, enhances the credibility and accuracy of health-care records. Documentation of an intervention should never be completed before it takes place. Documentation in chronological succession assists in revealing a change pattern in a clients health status. Information must be entered on the health-care record even if it is out of chronological order (Phillips, as cited in CRNNS, 2005). In the practice setting policies will guide the RN in how late entries are to be documented. The frequency of documentation and amount of detail documented are dictated by a number of factors including: facility/agency policies and procedures the complexity of the health problems the degree to which the clients condition puts them at risk the degree of risk involved in the treatment or care 4. Use of Abbreviations Registered nurses need to know what, if any, abbreviations are acceptable in their agency. Many organizations are currently developing policies that are aimed at reducing the number of common but preventable sources of errors. These policies are related to approved or prohibited abbreviations, or are policies requiring that no abbreviations be used in a practice setting. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has developed a list of error-prone abbreviations (ISMP, 2006). 5. Follow-up Document any follow-up of assessments, observations or interventions that have been done, including whether a physician or other care provider has been notified regarding the client. Failed attempts to reach a physician or other care provider, the follow-up action taken, and the clients response to interventions should be documented on the clients health-care record.