Psychosocial Development of Children

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The Psychosocial Development of Children Aged 2-5 Years

The psychosocial development of children aged between 2 and 5 years can be identified by their demonstration of a greater sense of not only self control, but also independence. Thus, psychosocial development is the development of an individual's personality. Apart from controlling one's body functions, children gain more control over toy preferences, choice of clothing and foods besides selection of friends. Children at this stage are often allowed to do things for themselves so that they can develop a positive attitude about their ability. The primary factors that influence the observed psychosocial development in children at this stage include need for exercise of autonomy in controlling one's body function and making decisions. The understanding of Psychosocial Stage 2 is critical to nursing profession as it helps nurses tailor their nursing care effectively to promote the child's autonomy. It also creates awareness on the best approaches nurses need to employ to foster children's positive decisions. The paper seeks to expound on the implications of psychosocial development on children aged between the ages of two and five years and the factors that influence this development.

Psychosocial Development and Developmental Milestones

Psychosocial development involves the developmental challenges that people navigate to become productive as well as experience ego integrity. According to Erikson, people go through many psychosocial developmental responsibilities from the time of birth to death (Jackman, Beaver, and Wyatt 2). For instance, children present observable adaptive functioning that demonstrates their psychosocial development in relation to their age. That is, children at psychosocial stage 2 are expected to be toilet trained as they have developed a significant sense of personal control. In reference to Erikson's assumption, Julie's mother is concerned about the developmental milestone of Julie. Unlike her peers, she is not toilet trained although she communicates her needs eloquently. Similarly, Darling-Churchill and Lippman (1) indicates that children aged between 0 and 5 years usually demonstrate the ability to create close and secure relationships with both adults and peers. They learn to interact with people within their social circles such as parents, siblings, and peers. According to Bukowski, Laursen, Rubin (224), by the age of 5 children engage in gender plays as they mostly play with partners of their gender. That is, the engagement of children as they grow is dictated by their gender. The gender segregation that appears to be stable in early years of development increases as children advance in age (Bukowski, Laursen, Rubin 224). Overall, the embraced plays by children at around 5 years demonstrate the impact of psychosocial development. Moreover, children express emotions in ways that are appropriate to the social and cultural contexts (Darling-Churchill and Lippman 1). For instance, children aged 2 years like Julie often occasionally hit, kick, or scream to demonstrate problems with what is referred to as social-emotional functioning (Zeanah 261). Based on this, it is apparent that social along with emotional competencies are critical for children's success in different settings. Julie's mother acknowledged the role of positive social development to her child's well-being, influencing her to conclude that there was a problem with Julie's development milestone. It is due to this that she inquired from the Child and Family Health Nurse about her child's condition. However, studies indicate that psychosocial development is not associated strictly with specific ages as individuals experience developmental milestones at varied times as a result of not only variation in experiences but also self-concept (Malone, Liu, Vaillant, Rentz, and Waldinger 3).

Environmental Factors and Psychosocial Development

Environmental factors contribute significantly to the children's psychosocial development. According to Grazuleviciene, Andrusaityte, Petraviciene, and Balseviciene (1), psychosocial environment impacts the health in addition to the well-being of children undergoing growth and development and can influence development of emotional as well as behavioral complications later in life. These problems usually arise as a result of exposure to unfavorable social environment. For instance, poor mother-child relations is claimed to impact the performance of children as it promotes emotional in addition to behavioral difficulties in young children (Grazuleviciene et al. 7). In reference to Julie's case, one can argue that Julie demonstrates poor masterly of the toilet-training skill probably because of her exposure to unfavorable social environment. According to Victoria, Julie's peers have mastered this skill. Equally, Victoria was recommended to seek assistance from a local area that is relaxed and informal. Based on the nurse's recommendation, one can conclude that the environment to which Julie was exposed at the day care was not suitable for her psychosocial development. Erikson's psychosocial theory associates exercise of autonomy with psychosocial development at the second year. According to Erikson, a child develops a sense of self-control as well as independence when he or she is two years old. It is at this age that the toddler exploits all available opportunities to demonstrate their ability to do things by themselves (Jackman, Beaver, and Wyatt 7). Likewise, children develop more interest in exploring things within their environment at the age of 3-5 years by engaging their body and self-learned skills. Thus, it is advisable for children between the age of 2 and 5 years to be given freedom to interact and engage in different social roles so that they can develop not only a feeling of control but also a sense of independence (Jackman, Beaver, and Wyatt 7).

Implications for Nursing Care

Understanding an individual's stage of growth as well as development is essential in ensuring an effective nursing care for children. In support of this assertion, Erikson's theory presents stages of psychosocial development that can impact nursing practice positively. According to this theory, the awareness of emotions and behaviors presented by children at these stages can assist a nurse communicate effectively with pediatric patients. According to Lucas, Richter, and Daelmans (42), understanding developmental stages of a child enables caregivers to build strong relationships with children besides enabling them solve challenges associated with providing nurturing care. They continue to note that such knowledge assist nurses in diagnosing variation in children's movements and gestures to interpret as well as respond appropriately to those that seem alarming (Lucas, Richter, and Daelmans 42). On the same note, Mello, Wernet, Verissimo, and Tonete (447) assert that the understanding of the development stages help nurses and other healthcare providers identify the needs of children that affect growth and development. That is, there are some individual needs that are usually unnoticed which are critical in psychosocial development. For instance, the inability of Julie to employ the toilet-training skills like her peers might be as a result of social needs that were not identified by both her mother and day care providers. According to Mello et al. (447), comprehension of psychosocial development that occurs in children facilitates the understanding of children's needs that is critical in promotion of pediatric patients' health. In addition, it allows nurses to evaluate the health of a child as well as relate it to social contexts to determine the vulnerabilities and interventions that can help in promoting child health and development (Mello et al. 447).


In conclusion, the understanding of the stages of psychosocial development can help in determining whether a child has developed personality. At the age of 2 years, a child is expected to demonstrate his or her autonomy by controlling the functions of one's body besides demonstrates a sense of independence. Equally, children of this age usually develop social interactions with their parents, peers, and friends. At the age of 5, most children present social segregation characteristics that they develop from their immediate social environment. Understanding these changes in behaviors in addition to emotions as children advance in age is important to caregivers and nurses as it helps in identifying children's needs to promote their growth and development. Overall, the environment contributes significantly to the psychosocial development of children. Young children usually learn by observing the behaviors of other members of the environment. However, the rate of this development varies in different children due to variations in experiences and developed of a sense of independence.

Works Cited

Bukowski, William, Laursen Brett, and Rubin Kenneth. Handbook of Peer Interactions,             Relationships, and Groups, Second Edition. New York: Guilford Publications, 2018.   Print.

Darling-Churchill, Kristen and Lippman, Laura. Early childhood social and emotional             development: Advancing the field of measurement. Journal of Applied Developmental            Psychology

45, 2016: 1–7.

Grazuleviciene, Regina, Andrusaityte Sandra, Petraviciene Inga, and Balseviciene Birute. Impact             of Psychosocial Environment on Young Children’s Emotional and Behavioral            Difficulties. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2017.

Jackman, Hilda, Beaver Nancy, and Wyatt Susan. Early Education Curriculum: A Child's             Connection to the World. New York: Cengage Learning, 2014. Print.

Lucas, J., Richter L., and Daelmans B. Care for Child Development: an intervention in support            of responsive care giving and early child development. New York: John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2017. Print.

Malone, Johanna, Liu Sabrina, Vaillant George, Rentz Dorene, and Waldinger Robert. Midlife            Eriksonian Psychosocial Development: Setting the Stage for Cognitive and Emotional             Health in Late Life. Dev Psychol. 2016 March ; 52(3): 496–508.

Mello, Debora, Wernet Monika, Verissimo Maria, and Tonete Vera. Nursing care in early    childhood: contributions from intersubjective recognition. Rev Bras Enferm, 2016. Print.

Zeanah, Charles. Handbook of Infant Mental Health, Fourth Edition. New York: Guilford          Publications, 2018.

October 13, 2023



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