Developmentally, middle childhood is a big time in a child’s life. During this time, they begin their academic journey. They are growing and changing in so many ways. Children begin learning how to relate to others outside the home. They also learn to respect others and how to treat others properly. A child’s physical and cognitive development can be affected by many things. Genetics, nutrition, home environment, income, and parenting affect how a child will develop during middle childhood. Culture also comes into play when a person looks at social, moral, and personality development.
All of these things will affect how a child thinks and feels about the world around him or her. Genes have an effect on middle childhood development. Everything from height and weight to hair color are determined by genes. While other things such as nutrition do affect whether one will grow to their true potential, genes are the main contributing factor. Genetics can also explain why some children have certain diseases and others do not. Children are resilient and will learn to live with the genetic disorders they may face. It is not only physical disorders that can affect a child, but also cognitive impairment can affect a child as well.
Some mental disorders are shown to run in families and can be passed from mother or father to the child. Nutrition is important during middle childhood. Children need good nutrition to prevent a number of problems from occurring. Some of these include “lethargy, poor concentration, greater susceptibility to illness, moodiness, and poor psychomotor skills” (Zembar & Blume, 2009). Children are growing and changing greatly during this period. They need good nutrition to fuel their growth and development. Some schools have breakfast and lunch programs where children are provided with good nutrition for at least two meals a day.
This helps children in the long run with academic performance and health (Zembar & Blume, 2009). They are stronger and have better behavior as well. Another factor that comes into play is the child’s home environment. There is evidence that a good home environment fosters cognitive development during middle childhood. Examples of things parents can do to foster their child’s development include reading, talking with the children, helping children learn, and taking children to their local library. These are all positive things that can be done to help a child develop (Votruba-Drzal, 2006.
Failing to foster a positive home environment may result in a child not developing as quickly as other children his or her age. Income is also a factor. Low income families are not necessarily going to have a child who is behind developmentally, but it can be a factor. Income has been linked to behavior problems in middle childhood. However, income did not have an effect on reading and math skills. This may be because academic skills are harder to change than behavior. Behavior tends to respond quicker to changes in family processes related to income (Voltruba-Drzal, 2006).
So children who have parents with income problems may act out in response to stress in the home. When children play is another factor. This fosters cognitive development in several ways. Children learn how to plan and execute activities, affiliate with others, learn to follow rules more precisely, and negotiate. A child also learns how to be imaginative and creative when playing (Bergen & Pronin Fromberg). Parenting has an effect on how middle childhood development occurs. Parents are responsible for teaching their children right from wrong among other things. Bad parenting can be disastrous for children.
They may not learn how to function properly in the world around them. A child’s cognitive development depends on the proper guidance of parents. Albert Bandura’s theory states that one can succeed even if he or she has. past failures if they have a strong sense of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the measure of one’s own competence to complete tasks and reach goals. A person’s self-efficacy will affect which challenges a person will choose to attempt. It will also affect how much energy a person puts into his or her attempt.
One thing Albert Bandura emphasized was that self-efficacy does not carry over into other situations. Also part of this theory is the concept of reciprocal determinism. This means others are affected by a person’s self-efficacy. “Thus, a cognition (“I can succeed”) will affect behaviors (“I will work hard and ask for a promotion”), which in turn will affect the environment (“My employer recognized my efforts and promoted me”)” (Carpenter & Huffman, 2010). This theory fits into social, moral, and personality development. Albert Bandura believed that thoughts, behavior, and environment all interact to produce the personality that a person develops.
Similar to Albert Bandura’s theory, Julian Rotter’s theory “suggests that learning experiences create cognitive expectancies that guide behavior and influence the environment” (Carpenter & Huffman, 2010). Rotter believed that a person’s behavior or personality is determined by two things: What a person can expect to happen after he or she performs a specific action and the reinforcement value attached to the outcomes of performing the action. Rotter used personality tests to measure internal and external locus of control. People have different thoughts depending on whether they have an internal or external locus of control.
People with internal locus of control believe that they can control the things that happen in their lives by their own efforts. People with an external locus of control believe that primary control over their lives is determined by the environment and external forces (Carpenter & Huffman, 2010). Both theories are similar and no matter which theory a person may believe more, social, moral, and personality development occur through internal and external forces. The environment plays a part in affecting a person’s development. This includes culture.
Culture drives the way people think and feel about the world around them. They learn what is right and wrong and how to behave around others. Social and moral standards are learned. When middle childhood development is concerned, many factors come into play. There are environmental factors such as parenting, home environment, income, and nutrition. Then there are genetic factors to look at such as inherited diseases and conditions. Parents are the key to good development. They have so much control over a child’s life. Good parenting can go a long way in developing well balanced and happy children.
References Bergen, D. (2009). Play and Social Interaction in Middle Childhood. Phi Delta Kappan, 90(6), 426. Carpenter, S. , & Huffman, K. (2010). Visualizing psychology (2nd ed. ). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Votruba-Drzal, E. (2006). Economic disparities in middle childhood development: Does income matter?. Developmental Psychology, 42(6), 1154-1167. doi:10. 1037/0012-1649. 42. 6. 1154 Zembar, M. J. & Blume, L. B. (2009). Nutritional Needs and Dietary Behavior in Middle Childhood. Retrieved from: http://www. education. com/reference/article/nutritional-needs-dietary-behavior-children/