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Getting to know your child as they grow and develop is one of the most rewarding parts of being a parent. Teaching your child new skills, learning how your child sees the world and mentoring them as they process new feelings and changes is all part of being a parent, but it’s not always easy.
As your child develops, they go through continuous progressive developmental stages – from birth into adulthood. Environmental, cultural and genetic factors can all have an effect on a child’s development and their progress from one stage to the next. During this process, it’s difficult for kids to explain what they’re going through, much less to analyze their emotions. This is where child psychology can help give parents highly important and valuable information.
Everyone wants their child to have a healthy development, but it’s not always clear if a child’s behavior is a sign of a normal stage in development or a symptom of abnormality. Understanding the normal and abnormal psychological patterns of a child can help parents understand how to best connect and communicate with their child, help their child with coping mechanisms for managing emotions and help their child progress and grow in each developmental stage.
Child psychology can be categorized into the following main areas of development:
Physical development in kids is normally a predictable sequence of events. A child first holds the head up, rolls over, crawls, walks and runs. A child psychologist can aid a paediatrician in observing your child’s physical development and spot any abnormalities that could indicate developmental irregularities. Major delays in physical development may indicate and reveal other underlying developmental issues that can be addressed early on.
Cognitive development refers to the intellectual learning and thought process of a child. It encompasses observation and understanding the world around them, problem solving, decision making, memory, language learning, how the child uses basic reasoning and imagination. All of these factors are influenced by a child’s genetics as well as the environment around him/her.
Emotional and Social Development
Emotional and social development are deeply connected. Emotional development links to how the child feels, understands, and expresses their emotions. Emotional development is expressed even in very young children through the expression of basic emotions like fear, joy, anger, and sadness. As the child grows, more complex emotions such as confidence, hope, guilt, and pride take form. Emotional development also includes a child’s ability to feel and understand the emotions of other people around him/her. Helping kids understand and express their emotions early on in a healthy way can have a significant impact on current and future emotional development.
Emotional development is closely related to social development because the way a child feels, understands, and expresses his/her feelings has a direct impact on how they move around with other people. Social development is how the child develops values, awareness, and other important social skills necessary to relate to the people around them; from their parents, peers, authority figures, and even animals. These early relationships can have a huge impact on a child’s development of age-appropriate social skills.
Child Psychology is a vital branch of family health. It equips parents with the right resources to help their children progress through the stages of development. It also helps give doctors a deeper insight into the mental health and possible challenges a child might face like learning or social differences, or even developmental delays.