In a family of four, is a single mother who is a nurse. The mother is a busy woman who sometimes has to work overnight. She has two jobs. One in the hospital and one at a pharmacy. She goes to the hospital for night shifts and the pharmacy during the day. Her three children consist of two girls and a boy. The boy is the eldest, about sixteen years old, and is in junior school. The second child is about eleven now in grade six joining. The last born is four years old and just joined pre-school. This family lives in a small estate in New York City. They live in a rented apartment consisting of three bedrooms. They are not that badly off. At least the mother pays the monthly rent without problems. Surrounding them are several neighbors who also have children. The children often play together while their parents are at work. This is a Christian family that insists on going to church every Sunday. I interviewed the mother as follows;
Me: Hi, my name is Alicia, a psychology student doing some quick research.
Mother: hi too, nice to meet you. I would be pleased to answer a few of your questions.
Me: Thank you for giving me the opportunity. First, can you describe yourself and your family?
Mother: My name is Nancy, and I am a mother of four. My first child is sixteen, my second daughter is eleven, and my lastborn daughter is four. I am a single mother, and I take care of the kids alone. So far, it has not been very difficult, considering the amount of work I do daily.
Me: what is your occupation?
Mother: I am a nurse and work at a friend’s pharmacy shop.
Me: that’s a lot. How do you manage to balance between the two jobs and the children?
Mother: (laughing) it’s a lot, many people don’t believe I can manage, but I have to find time for my children and the two jobs.
Me: that’s amazing. You have an eleven-year-old girl. Can you tell me about her physical growth? Have you experienced any problems so far with her development?
Mother: my daughter has not given me many challenges. She is quite taller than her agemates. At the age of six, she was very tiny, and then suddenly, she grew taller and added some muscles. At first, she looked underweight. I tried some multi-vitamins, and they improved her eating habits rapidly. Now she eats well, has a nice body, is not overweight and not underweight. Her sleeping also improved then. I guess it is because she ate well.
Me: it must have been an easy journey then. Most parents struggle with a disability, malnutrition, and obesity. What about her way of thinking? Is she obedient?
Mother: yes, my daughter is the most responsible in the house. She takes care of her younger sister and does her homework, unlike her brother, who I have to nag at that age. My daughter is a quick learner and very good at mathematics. She is very respectful in school and has not given me any problems so far.
Me: you must be lucky. Does she have friends around? How do you punish her when she is wrong?
Mother: I am a very strict mother. I allow her to play with her friends, but she must tell me before going. Most of the time, they ride bicycles around the estate. I get to meet the parents of her children and have conversations with them so that I can know the kind of people my daughters are hanging out with. I am also a disciplinarian. I ground her whenever she does something wrong, which has really helped her behave well.
Me: have you identified any talents so far?
Mother: that girl sings and dances very well. That is what she engages in when she is not in class.
Me: that’s all for today’s interview. Thank you for being open to me
The mother admits that her daughter started gaining muscles and increased in height from the age of six. In late and middle childhood, children gain greater control over the way they move their bodies. As a result, of brain growth, they also master finer motor skills that they could not when they were still young. The brain changes making the child become more reasonable. Therefore, children can know when they are in the wrong, and punishing them makes more sense to them. Some children experience obesity due to improper brain functioning. Other times, obesity is a result of insulin resistance.
With the increase in brain functioning, the cognitive behavior of a child at this age increases. Children can differentiate between the present, future, and the past. Their ability to process complex ideas also increases. Gardner developed a theory that states that eight types of intelligence exist (Tyler,2020). The first is linguistic-verbal intelligence, where the child is good with language and words. Logical-Mathematical intelligence where the child is good at reasoning and numbers. The third is visual-Spatial intelligence, where the child is good at visualizing items. Some children are better at physical control and body actions. This is bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
Muscle-rhythmic intelligence is when the child is musically good. Some children at good at understanding and relating with other people. This is called interpersonal intelligence. Some are intrapersonal intelligent, meaning they know other people’s feelings, motivation, and personal emotions (Beebe,20100. The last is Naturalistic intelligence, where the child is more compatible with the natural environment. The theory explains why some children are different from others. For the interview, the child loved mathematics and was very good with mathematics. The child also has music-rhythmic intelligence since she can sing very well. This means the child had logical-mathematical intelligence.
The mother talked about the child having several friends, which means socially, the child was okay because she could play with her peers. The mother talks about her taking care of her younger sister, reducing the chances of her being a bully. A parent must identify the right way of punishing the child whenever they are in the wrong. Children at this age can understand punishment, and it is important for the correction to be done right. The children are more realistic and know their weaknesses and their strengths. At this age, parents start having problems with their children due to misbehaviors.
Learning about children’s development in middle or late childhood was eye-opening for me. Children grow up in different ways. The skills of children also differ due to their differences in intelligence types (Patton,2021). Therefore, it is important for parents to know the differences to identify the right ways of bringing up their children.
Beebe, D. W., Ris, M. D., Kramer, M. E., Long, E., & Amin, R. (2010). The association between sleep-disordered breathing, academic grades, and cognitive and behavioral functioning among overweight subjects during middle to late childhood. Sleep, 33(11), 1447-1456.
Duong, J., & Bradshaw, C. P. (2017). Links between contexts and middle to late childhood social‐emotional development. American journal of community psychology, 60(3-4), 538-554.
Patton, A. (2021). Strengthening Internal Responsibilities of Good Parenting Skill in Process of Child Protection from Dangers of Drug Abuse: An Phenomenology Social Life in North Kalimantan. Budapest International Research and Critics Institute (BIRCI-Journal): Humanities and Social Sciences, 4(4), 8771-8781.
Tyler, S. (2020). Cognitive Development in Middle Childhood. Human Behavior and the Social Environment I.