Childhood: Information, Stages, Theories And Characteristics

We explain what childhood is and what its main characteristics are. In addition, the contribution of Piaget’s theory of development.

What is childhood?

Childhood is one of the stages of human development that ranges from 6 to 12 years of age.

In the early stage, infancy, children learn to take their first physical steps, to develop a certain independence to handle food and to explore the world around them, in which everything is interesting to them.

During the next stage, childhood, children begin to reason logically and understand specific information, despite remaining very literal in their thinking. They put aside the egocentricity of childhood and manage to recognize the feelings of others.

Childhood characteristics

The childhood stage, which is the third after prenatal and infancy, is subdivided into two phases:

  • Childhood from 6 to 8 years . It is characterized by the beginning of schooling, the improvement of motor skills and learning about social relationships outside the family group. As for the physique, the milk teeth appear and they grow taller so they look more stylized. Children practice stimulating their cognitive functions, such as perception , memory and reasoning, through play and education . They develop logical thinking to distinguish between the real and the imaginary, and to understand about duty and respect .
  • Childhood from 9 to 12 years old . It is characterized by a complete development of speech skills, comprehension and reasoning skills. As for the physical, they develop a notorious process of changes that are typical of preadolescence and that will continue to develop in the next stage. Children totally put aside self-centered thinking, typical of the early stages in which they could not empathize or understand the perspective of others. They begin to use logic to analyze and manipulate thought patterns in order to draw abstract conclusions.

Piaget’s theory of development

Piaget's theory of development Piaget was the first to identify that children thought differently from adults.

Jean Piaget (1896 - 1980) was a Swiss psychologist and biologist who stood out for his contributions on intellectual and cognitive development in childhood , which were key to the study of evolutionary psychology. He explained how children build a mental model of the world. His work was called Genetic Epistemology, which means: the origins of thought.

Before Piaget’s work, children were considered to have the same way of reasoning as adults , only that they lacked incorporating knowledge . Piaget was the first to identify that the way a child thinks is different from that of an adult. He concluded that intelligence is a capacity that develops through stages as a result of the child’s interaction with the environment that surrounds him, social and cultural life. He discarded the idea that intelligence is a physical trait and that it only depends on biological maturation.

The moral autonomy of the child develops around the age of seven , if he previously receives pressure relationships from adults in which they impose rules and mandates with certain sanctions in case he does not respect them. Thus arises the sense of good and responsibility.

There are qualitative and quantitative differences between the thinking of younger children and older children. Piaget’s work aimed to explain the mechanisms and processes carried out by the child in order to later become an adult individual capable of reasoning, thinking and making deductions from the world around him.

The conclusion of his work was that children are not less intelligent than adults , but they think differently.

Childhood from psychoanalysis

Childhood from psychoanalysis Freud concluded that the events of childhood could shape the personality of the individual.

Psychoanalysis was one of the first currents to study mental illnesses and human behavior, it was founded by the Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939).

Freud argued that childhood events had a great influence on adult life because they could shape the personality of the individual, so that in childhood the future of the individual was gestated for each stage of life development.

According to Freud, psychic processes have their origin in childhood and all traumatic events experienced at that stage can trigger psychological disorders during adulthood , if they are not treated with therapy.

Unlike Piaget, who identified that the way of thinking of children is different from that of adults, Freud studied the stages of affective maturation in childhood , which must be passed through to form a healthy psyche in adulthood.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from technology experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.

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