Child Development Overview

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Child development is complex and multifaceted, with many factors apart from parenting style affecting the cognitive, social, and physical wellbeing of a child. The environment a child grows up in, including the environmental stressors, has a serious effect on how one develops. Moreover, these stressors can affect the physical health of a child, leading to health problems, unhealthy coping behaviors, and attachment styles that cause problematic development. Examples of the impact of stressors on a child include association with risk-taking behavior and academic performance. This presentation will detail the varied factors that have an impact on child development, including the environment, cultural differences, attachment styles, and development stages.

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Environmental Stressors

Environmental stressors are any elements of a child’s surroundings that cause distress. Among the child’s environment, there is their house, education facility, and neighborhood (Urban Child Institute, n.d.). The quality of these resources and their availability determine how a child will develop, for example, whether the buildings are maintained and cleaned matters (Urban Child Institute, n.d.). According to the Urban Child Institute (n.d.), a positive social environment, for example, having peer support, affects the child’s motivation and behaviors. For example, poor eating habits and the development of eating disorders are associated with the social environment (Urban Child Institute, n.d.). Immunization, an important factor of physical health, is also linked to the characteristics of the neighborhood. Finally, the sports facilities and the ability to access them affect the child’s development as well.

The mechanism that describes how the environment affects a child’s development is not clearly known. Regardless, there is a substantial body of evidence proving a correlation between the child’s environment, for example, the community and neighborhood where they grow up, their development, and wellbeing. The impact of environmental stressors on a child’s well-being is a substantial problem. For example, a child who lives in a poor neighborhood is at risk of reduced cognitive development (Urban Child Institute, n.d.). Environmental stressors and a child’s health are interchangeably linked, and a child with poor access to essential facilities and a lack of social support is more likely to develop developmental disorders, such as eating disorders or have impaired physical health.

Psychosocial and Cognitive Development

The psychosocial development of a child happens in stages. This theory encompasses all stages of a person’s life, from when they are infants to their maturity and death, and was first introduced by Erik Erikson. Figure 1 shows the different developmental stages and approximate ages during which this development happens. Each stage has syntonic and dystonic dispositions that a person has to master. From a perspective of child development, failure to successfully go through each stage and gain competence, for example, mater “trust and mistrust” at infantry, results in a sense of incompetence (Cherry, 2020b). Hence, psychosocial development is linked to the child’s skills of interacting with the world and has an impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

Comparison of Psychological and Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget developed a cognitive development theory that describes the stages that each child undergoes. The main principle of Piaget’s theory is that children’s way of thinking differs from that of adults.

In comparison, psychosocial and cognitive development have some similarities. Both occur in stages. However, physiological development, according to the theory, is lifelong, while cognitive development is finished once the child masters their formal operational stage skills. Psychosocial development involves emotions and a child’s relationships with others, while cognitive capabilities are their learning and thinking capabilities. Both are affected by the child’s environment since, as was shown in the previous slides, living in disadvantaged communities can lead to poor social relationships and a lack of motivation.

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Cultural Differences

The influence of cultural differences on parenting is usually not evident, but it shapes the way the parents see the child and their appropriate development. Culture is implicit, and it is a set of values and beliefs that is passed from one generation to another, which is why parents seldomly consider the impact that their culture has on their parenting (Kaiser & Rasminsky, 2020). Most importantly, culture shapes our family structures and the ways that people view their children, and the proper approaches to parenting them. For instance, Western cultures emphasize the child’s need to develop as an independent human being (Kaiser & Rasminsky, 2020). However, other cultures, for example, Asian or Middle Eastern, value the interdependence of people and emphasize the connection between them.

Attachment Theory

Attachment theory was first introduced by John Bowlby (Cherry, 2020a). Bowlby hypothesized that a child has an innate need to form attachments, and the first attachments they form are with their caregivers. Therefore, the relationship between a child and a caregiver shapes their social relationships and their ways of interacting with others. The later researcher has shown several distinct attachment styles, with the secure attachment being the healthiest schema of behavior. However, some caregivers may fail to provide security and care. Factors that cause concerns about a child’s attachment include the caregiver’s lack of concern for a child and failure to satisfy the child’s needs.

Attachment and Problematic Behavior

The behavioral manifestation of problematic attachment styles is described as either avoidant or ambivalent. In the first case, the child is reluctant to make connections with others and may be wary of strangers, which translates into their adult life. In the second case, children avoid their parents and do not seek comfort from them. As adults, these individuals have issues with intimacy and sharing emotions or thoughts with others (Cherry, 2020b). In some cases, children’s attachment styles are maladaptive, which causes them to experience problems and show problematic behavior.

Reference Handout

This presentation outlines the main factors from the environment that either assist or hinder their cognitive, physical, and psychosocial development. One piece of advice for parents is to engage children in activities in their communities, especially if they are living in disadvantaged areas. The information in this presentation can be used to address environmental stressors and help this child develop properly. For example, if you believe that the environment where your child studies or lives can negatively affect them, you can find proof and suggestions for how to address this in the presentation. Additionally, if you are a parent who wants to protect their child from environmental stressors, there are some resources available to you that can help.

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In conclusion, this presentation focuses on the many elements comprising a child’s development. An important factor to note is that environmental stressors, such as living in a poor neighborhood, witnessing violence, and other stress factors can affect the development of a child. Moreover, due to the fact that children’s development happens in stages, as described by Piaget and Erikson, parents should pay attention to the specific cognitive and social capabilities of their children. Bowlby developed the attachment theory, which describes the social development of individuals and how the early relationship with caregivers shapes a child’s social abilities.


Cherry, K. (2020a). Child development: Theories and examples. Verywell Mind. Web.

Cherry, K. (2020b). The different types of attachment styles. VerywellMind. Web.

Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. (2019). Web.

Kaiser, D. & Rasminsky, J. S. (2020). Valuing diversity: Developing a deeper understanding of all young children’s behavior. NAEYC. Web.

Urban Child Institute. (n.d.). A child’s early home environment has long-term effects on development. UCI. Web.

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"Child Development Overview." PsychologyWriting, 25 May 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Child Development Overview'. 25 May.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Child Development Overview." May 25, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Child Development Overview." May 25, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Child Development Overview." May 25, 2022.