The Child Development Theories

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Child Abuse and Its Impact on Development

As a child, I was subjected to a series of abuses, which I am convinced damaged my image and self-esteem. Child abuse is defined as a young child's physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, or even psychological mistreatment (Burchinal et al., 2000). In most cases, child abuse can consist of a single or many of the aforementioned acts. When a youngster is abused, he or she develops different growth behaviors than the rest of their peers (Lamb, 2004). They are emotionally unstable, have low cognitive development, and engage in antisocial conduct, among other things. In my case, I underwent emotional abuse which derailed my self-esteem and for a long period was detrimental to my social life. My parents were both working, and I was in most cases being left in daycare until evening when they would return. At the daycare centers and even later on the people interacted with coupled with the lack of parental touch contributed immensely to deterioration of my well-being as a growing child. My caretaker was harsh and on many occasions would make so hurting demands for a child. As a child, my movement was restricted that I could not get out of the house, I was forced to sleep even if I did not feel like, and in case I tried to resist I would be intimidated and even be subjected to verbal threats. All these together were detrimental to my cognitive, emotional, and social development.

Psychoanalytic Perspective

Psychoanalysis refers to a set of therapeutic techniques and theories which in combination are related to the study of the unconscious mind (Cherry, 2012). The two form the basis of treatment for most disorders of mental-health. Psychoanalysis makes four assumptions which include; psychological problems are grounded in the unconscious part of the mind, the prevailing symptoms are caused by hidden disturbances, treatment aims at bringing the withdrawn conflict to consciousness enabling the patient to deal with it, and the main causes are unresolved issues, especially during development.

Cognitive Development Theory (CDT)

The theory was developed by Jean Piaget in 1936 and explains that a child can construct in their mind, the image of the world as they continue growing (Cherry, 2012). However, Piaget’s theory is very different from others in some ways such as; it is mainly concerned with children, it focuses more on development, and it proposes distinct developmental stages. The three main aspects of CDT include; schemas which are the building blocks of knowledge, the adaptation process, and stages of cognitive development (sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational).

Using Psychoanalysis and CDT to Understand Child Abuse

The two theories can be used to explain the above-described event that I underwent as a child. Emotional abuse can deteriorate psychosocial development of a child. The only method to treat the condition would be through psychotherapy and psychoanalysis would most suitably be used as the best approach to handle the condition. During my early teenage, I was introduced to a psychologist to try and reverse my antisocial behavior and indeed, the psychoanalysis method was applied to treat my condition. On the other hand, CDT explains how the stages of development in a child can be greatly affected if the child is subjected to various kinds of abuse and specifically emotional abuse. The child needs to explore the world around him to have its clear image. Restricting the child in a house like in my case would be dangerous to such development.

The Importance of Child Development and the Long-term Effects of Abuse

The theories have been so helpful especially in helping me understand the development processes that take place as a child grows. Through the theories, I have understood the importance of ensuring the child undergoes all the developmental processes successfully and without subjection to kind of abuse to achieve full growth and positive development. Most of the abuses children go through during their childhood affect them even during adulthood if something is not done to correct the situations.

The Use of Cross-Sectional Approach in Child Development Research

Cross-sectional approach to research is useful in gathering information about data collected from a pool of participants who in most cases exhibit different characteristics usually referred to as variables (Hawker and Boulton, 2000). These variables could include; gender, age, geographical location, family income, education, ethnicity among others which are used in the study of child development. Using these variables in conducting cross-sectional research helps in removing any assumptions made and replacing them with factual information.


Burchinal, M. R., Roberts, J. E., Riggins Jr, R., Zeisel, S. A., Neebe, E., & Bryant, D. (2000). Relating quality of center‐based child care to early cognitive and language development longitudinally. Child development, 71(2), 339-357.

Cherry, K. (2012). Child development theories. Psychology. About. com. The New York Times.

Hawker, D. S., & Boulton, M. J. (2000). Twenty years' research on peer victimization and psychosocial maladjustment: A meta-analytic review of cross-sectional studies. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 41(4), 441-455.

Lamb, M. E. (Ed.). (2004). The role of the father in child development. John Wiley & Sons.

April 26, 2023




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