Analysis Of Age Appropriate Behavior For The Respective Developmental Stages Of An Individual

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The individual I observed is an 8 year old girl named Phoebe. Phoebe is my best friend’s older sister’s best friend’s younger sister. She was really open and confident and engaged in conversation openly. She did get distracted easily and switched train thoughts quickly. She is loud and opened up much quicker than I expected. I believe this is because her older sisters are in college and medical school so she has a more of adult environment at home which makes it easier for her to talk to others. She was shy at first replying in a quiet voice to when I asked her name and such, but 10 minutes later she was telling me a lot of stories about herself. Whenever her older sister (who is in her second year of medical school), would interrupt her and say “no that’s not true” she would get very defensive and say “yes it is!!!! You don’t know anything” and continue. She was extremely entertaining said a lot of funny things but also had a sort of rude is edge to her- however she is just a kid. She also had a little tummy that the doctor said was normal at this age (as parents told me). This family was an upper middle class family- the mom is a psychologist and dad is a doctor. They are from Pakistani origin and the parents moved here for college. Her dad works on average from 8 AM until 7 PM or so. Her mom leaves for work at 9 AM and returns by 3 PM. Phoebe is going into the third grade and also attends Kumon to develop excellent academic skills. My goals in conducting this project was to interact with the child and observe her personality and development based off of her actions and words. I thought I would find out everything about her from this evaluation. I expected to be more comfortable with her and understand her as a holistic individual.

Physical changes in this age group cover a variety of areas. Children usually begin to have broader shoulders and body sizes which signify physical growth. Another way this can be seen is from the loss of children’s baby teeth. Phoebe has lost 5 baby teeth up until now (she mentioned she does not believe in the tooth fairy). Phoebe also has MYOPIA which is common near sightedness in children because she watches a lot of television. Also, children can undergo UNINTENTIONAL INJURIES. Phoebe did not undergo a lot of unintentional injuries, she did say when she was a baby she almost choked and she also experienced falls on the road while playing as she mentioned. Girls are usually smaller than boys through most of this childhood era however both do start to look leaner during these ages. Physical development also includes brain growth. Usually by the age of 8 or 9, the brain undergoes a growth spurt which is characterized by the specific growth increase of frontal lobes. The frontal lobes in our brain are responsible for logical reasoning and decision making skills. As the frontal lobes increase in children, they are able to expand their ability to make cognitive decisions. Examples of this include being able to connect parts of toys together or figuring out how to build things properly. Physical growth also consists of gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills consist of large bodily movements like the movement of arms and legs whereas fine motor skills consist of small bodily movements such as finger and movements while using scissors or buttoning a shirt. The PINCER GRIP is a grasp used by the index finger and thumb. Usually children develop different grip styles as they develop fine motor skills. Phoebe mentioned on many occasions that she loved to play and engage in physical activities. While I was at her house, she would quickly run to show me different toys and also asked a couple times if she could play outside with me (to which her sister said no). Her dad said he always made it a point to play with her after he came home from work and most of the time it included tag, hide and seek, or playing catch with a ball. Phoebe does not play any instruments, but she enjoys drawing, coloring, and writing. While I was there with her, she drew me a picture of a cat because that is her favorite animal. Physical development also includes health- Phoebe was a healthy child and has only undergone minor illnesses as all children do including the flu and fever. She did not qualify for child OBESITY, but she did have a small tummy that she and her sisters referred to as her “love” and “squish”. The behavior Phoebe exhibited and the evaluation of her physical development by background information provided by her family, indicated that she appropriately exhibited behavior for her age. She was not developmentally behind in any of these physical development aspect but rather demonstrated healthy physical development.

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Cognitive development is also extremely important in children. This involves becoming aware of the inner world (within us/mental awareness) and outer world (things around us). Piaget referred to cognitive development during the middle childhood age as the CONCRETE OPERATIONS STAGE where children think logically and concretely. Children think in terms of tangible, definite, and exact terms rather than possess an abstract mindset. Phoebe demonstrated this when she was asked about why she was a strong person inside and out. She didn’t know how to properly explain herself and concluded with “From the inside I feel like I can do anything and from the outside I think I can do some stuff like movements”. This is appropriate for her age because that is technically a sort of abstract question- how are you strong on the inside? She took the question literally but tried tying it to emotional connection using her knowledge. During the operations stage, children also exhibit REVERSIBILITY. Reversibility is when children understand things can change and then return to their original shape or size such as numbers. I observed this was watching Phoebe because when I tested her with numbers written forward and backwards she understood that the difference between the two was that one was counting up and the other was counting down. This was age appropriate behavior as well. At another instance she was able to recognize the change of state between solid and liquid. This occurred when she asked me if I wanted a mango popsicle and proceeded to tell me she froze them herself using mango juice. Another part of cognitive development is CONSERVATION. Piaget says children demonstrate conservation in the early stages of the concrete operations stage. This is the ability to see how physical properties stay the same but also change. For example when I drew four large balls and four small balls on paper and asked Phoebe which is more and why, she stated that the big balls are bigger and the small balls are smaller but both are the same number. This was age appropriate behavior for her as well. I wanted to conduct an IQ test on her regarding Gardner’s theory of intelligence, but her parents said they did not want me to do so. Phoebe also exhibited SERIATION the ability to sort through classifications. This was seen from my observations when I saw her placing dolls and babies and kitchen utensils in their respective areas while playing dollhouse.

Social and emotional development is a large part of a child’s optimal development. This consists of social cognition, the idea of self-concept, friendships, and family relationships. According to Erickson, one of the core developmental tasks of middle childhood include the idea of INDUSTRY. Industry is when a child understands social competence. Children compare themselves to others and have to make social adjustments and this recognition marks a big milestone in child development. If a child develops successful industry then they essentially build successful self-esteem. Phoebe actually had a very healthy self-esteem. When asked what was bad about her, or what others didn’t like about her she stated it was that she was loud and “annoying” as described by her siblings in scenarios where she disturbs them. From my observations I concluded Phoebe is loud and expressive but it stems from a strong sense of self confidence she has. Children also ELABORATE often where they add on to thoughts or memories either knowingly or unknowingly. Phoebe seemed to exaggerate a bit in her stories. An instance of this is seen when Phoebe says she can tap dance and her older sister next to me said this was not true but Phoebe insisted it was. I think because this is a part of social cognition growth it is okay it occurs and is expected- but of course if a child is exaggerating all the time then that can turn into lying in the future which is bad. Phoebe actually exhibited very cognitive skills of PERSEPCTIVE TAKING. I pre planned that I would take a phone call mid conversation with her and sound upset and sad and see how she reacted. Phoebe too became quiet and didn’t speak when I was silent and looking down. She then went to her sister and whispered in her ear asking “what happened- is your friend okay?”. This to me demonstrated very receptive skills and I believe this might have been beyond her age appropriate behavior because she followed up by asking me if I wanted chocolate or candy to feel better. I asked her sister about her friendships and I was told Phoebe is very good with her friends. I could tell from the way she was talking with me that she is open and easy to talk to. She is a social butterfly but does not conform to others around her. Her dad did mention that she is a strong individual. I was also told she speaks out when something is wrong or right and stands her strong ground. I wasn’t able to test this but this demonstrates cognitive DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE.

In conclusion, I believe Phoebe exhibited age appropriate behavior for the respective developmental stages and at times I believe she exceeded. Her strong sense of maturity and socialness I believe comes from that fact that she lives in a household consisting of mostly adults. The age difference allows for different experiences for Phoebe because of the mature environment she is in. She was very respectful and talked to me openly before going back to her toys. She seemed to love playing with her toys a lot and being physically active. Her levels of physical, cognitive, and social development were extremely positive and at the appropriate stage. I do not think anything hindered her development. I believe her weaknesses lied in that sometimes she was louder than needed and continuously talked which is why may other children see her as “annoying”. She was assertive and always wanted to be the one doing the talking. She also talked very quickly which is why I was unable to accurately record every single thing she was saying. But overall it was a pleasure to meet her and she I believe fit the category for optimal child development.

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