Cognitive theory: The cognitive theory based on Piaget’s stage theory explains children’s cognitive development. Cognitive development involves radical and developmental changes in cognitive abilities and processes. Based on Piaget’s perception, cognitive development in early childhood is associated with procedures and processes related to actions and afterward progresses to changes linked to mental operations. The three primary and basic principles of Piaget’s cognitive development theory are accommodation, assimilation, and equilibration (Ansorge, 2020). According to Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, children undergo four stages of mental development. His theory not only aims at understanding intelligence nature but also understanding how children acquire or gain knowledge. Piaget believed that children play a significant role in the learning period and process. He states that cognitive development with the sensorimotor stage takes place from birth to two years of age. Significant developmental changes and characteristics are linked to this stage, such as the infant understanding their world through sensations and the slight movements they make (Ansorge, 2020). Children can learn about the world they live in through ordinary and straightforward actions such as listening, looking, sucking, and grasping. Infants understand that there is continued existence of things despite them not understanding the permanence of objects. Children can differentiate between people and the things around them.
The second stage is the preoperational phase that befalls in children between two and seven years of age. The stage has several characteristics, and developmental changes, such as the child begins to symbolically think and learns the use of words and pictures in the representation of objects (World Health Organization, 2020). At this age, children are selfish and do not see anything from other people’s perspectives. As they get better at language and thinking, they happen to understand things from complicated terms. The third phase is the concrete operational stage that occurs between seven to twelve years of age. At this stage, children tend and start to think in logical manners about concrete situations. The children understand conservation theory; thus, their thinking becomes more organized and logical but still complicated. The child begins using inductive reasoning and logic from certain information to the general basic principle. The final phase is the formal operational stage that befalls children between twelve years and above. At this stage, the child or infant is now an adolescent or young adult and starts reasoning abstractly and thinking about theoretical issues through the emergence of abstract thoughts (World Health Organization, 2020). The teenagers begin thinking about ethical, moral, social, political, and philosophical issues that need conceptual and theoretical reasoning. They start using deductive logic and reason from a fundamental principle to specific information.
Failure to learn the cognitive behavior skills at an early childhood development phase affects the child once they hit the adult phase. The child becomes an adult, but since they did not develop the theory of mind, it becomes difficult for them to survive and live comfortably with other people. Adults tend not to understand other people through their actions since their desires, feelings, goals, thoughts, intentions, and other mental states do not motivate them. The instability of the adult’s mental states evokes negative emotions through unfulfilled desires since, and as a kid, they did not develop their intuitive map of cognitive procedures and processes. Developing a theory of mind helps children transform how to respond to people; thus, failing to acquire the skills makes one suffer from social phobia.
Psychosexual Development: According to Freudian psychology, psychosexual development is a chief component of the psychoanalytic erotic drive concepts and theory. According to Freud, personality growth is enhanced through a series of childhood phases in which energies that seek pleasure from the id become more detailed on specific erogenous fields. Freud explains that psychosexual development occurs in four stages (Mcleod, 2019). The first stage is the oral stage that starts from birth and goes up to the eighteenth month, where the child’s source of pleasure is achieved through sucking. The swallowing and tactual simulation are involved when sucking. After the infant gets the milk teeth, the child finds delight in biting and chewing to satisfy their needs. The gratification and satisfaction of the child depend on the mother. Thus, the mother becomes the first love object. Thus, breastfeeding becomes a child’s most influential psychological and physiological activity. The second stage is the anal stage that starts when a child is aged one and a half years and goes up to three years. The child feels pleasure from excreting, and erotic stimulations follow in the anal mucosa by retaining feces (Mcleod, 2019). During the anal expulsive stage, the child expulses feces, and the feelings of discomfort disappear, and they feel relieved. During the anal retention stage, the child accedes to the toilet training demands.
The third stage is the phallic stage, which begins when a child is three years of age and ends at five years old. The rudiments of sex are in in a child at this stage. A child at times plays and feels pleasure while playing with their genitals, and tension is relieved as they feel joy. There is a link between physical and psychological activities and the erotic activity of urination and its sensations. A child knows their gender identity through urination. Thus, a child knowing if they are a boy or a girl (Pyakurel, 2021) Playing with the genital areas is a phase in the phallic stage in the development of the sexual feelings enhanced through their functionality and the life fantasies of the child through Oedipus and Electra appearances for boys and girls respectively. The fourth stage is the latency stage that begins at five years and the social fear of the consequences of realizing they cannot attain their love object. The child aims to behave in society and acquire their ideals. Eroticism is linked to the attachment of family and friends, and the child gets to entertain the opposite sex as they spend all their energy to succeed and prove to themselves their worth. The fifth stage is the genital stage that starts at adolescence, where a teenager’s feelings reappear but in a more mature manner (Pyakurel, 2021). Due to self-love, the teen joins heterosexual groups, and sexual attractions make them ripe for marriage. The person transforms from a pleasure-seeking individual to a responsible adult; thus, their genital stage functions biologically for reproduction.
Failure to undergo the psychosexual stages of development leads to sexual instabilities when the child becomes an adult. The sexual characteristics of an individual are considered a continuation of the phallic stage. An adult’s personality characteristics and traits or patterns are linked to the psychosexual stages of development. The psychosexual genesis stage is a dialectical growth and leads to either normal or abnormal sexual behaviors depending on the child’s experience during the different stages of psychosexual development.
Parents must embrace and support their children during their development changes and guide them through the right ways to help bring up responsible adults. The responsibility and self-awareness of an adult are enhanced through the child development phases.
Ansorge, R. (2020, October 15). Piaget’s cognitive stages of development. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/children/piaget-stages-of-development
Evans, G. W. (2021). The Physical Context of Child Development. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 30(1), 41-48.
Mcleod, S. (2019, February 5). Freud’s five stages of psychosexual development. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/psychosexual.html
Pyakurel, A. (2021). Ethical Consequences of Psycho-Sexual Oppression in Ibsen’s Ghosts (Doctoral dissertation).
World Health Organization. (2020). Improving early childhood development: WHO guideline. World Health Organization.