Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lesson 7

Chapter 8 in our text was a great overview of human development. I have taken PSY F240 which is all about Human Development and so this chapter was a review and recap of that course.

I have always been fascinated with human development! I have raised two children and have three still at home. The amazing thing about children is that they are all so very unique! Every one of them has different personalities, strengths and weaknesses, and likes and dislikes. Nature versus nurture, which is discussed in the very beginning of the chapter is always a subject that is on the forefront of my mind. My two oldest have a different biological father from my three youngest. None of the children know their father well and yet I can see traits in them that remind me so much of their biological fathers that I cringe when I see them displayed! Thankfully, nurture seems to outweigh nature on most fronts.

The brain development of adolescent children caught my interest. It seemed that I had read once that brain development ceased during the teenage years but maybe that is a myth that is taken for a fact these days! As I watched the video that was posted and as I read through the text, I was reminded of how much development actually does take place in the teen years! Their personalities change, their temperaments change, they become more vocal when you can pull them out of their own world and speak with them, and their abilities and comprehension seems to increase. I also noticed that teens need more sleep which has always struck me as being consistent with small children. Teens require as much sleep as toddlers who are also undergoing significant brain growth! Perhaps now when I see my son sleeping peacefully at a quarter past one in the afternoon, I will forgo throwing a shoe at him and let his developing brain get it's rest!

The video of the small child learning sign language reminded me that we sometimes take what we read in texts as fact. Piaget did not give infants credit for recognition of symbols and words until the preoperational stage. The video of the baby very clearly associating sign language with words is eye opening. I think that we need to recognize that even though the theories that we read and study in these courses are foundational, they will eventually be redefined as new information comes to light. This video shows that we may have underestimated the amazing workings of the infant brain and their astounding capacity to learn... if they have a mother with astounding patience, time, and energy anyhow!

Another fun topic that I read through with a smile on my face was the gender development section. I think that in order to be politically correct we are trying to throw out the nature aspect in relation to gender. While I agree that there are barriers within gender roles that need to be broken down when it comes to the equality of the sexes, there is truth to the age old statement that "boys will be boys!". I have two girls and three boys. My girls are raised to play hockey, gut fish, and stack wood right along with my sons. My sons know how to cook and they can load laundry into a wash machine. As a single mom who has had to fill the role of mother and father for my children, my children know that there is not much that a man can do that a woman cannot also do. They have seen it displayed daily. There is still an underlying difference in my girls and boys though. To deny their differences would be an injustice to who they are as people!