Development Through the Lifespan

What Can Affect a Child’s Development?

Human development lasts throughout a person’s life. Socialization is continuous and long-lasting, so there are many factors that influence a person. Influences are felt already in early childhood, in the narrow family circle, and then among other children in kindergartens and schools. Children’s psyches are malleable and it is therefore important to properly understand influences and to limit their effects if they are detrimental to a child’s development. Psychological development is related to the child’s cognition of himself or herself and his or her perception of the world (Berk, 2017). Cognitive development is based on the formation of problem-solving abilities, the teaching of skills and abilities, and ways of comprehending the world.

Biological Factors: Influence of Gender and Nutrition

Biological influences are related to the characteristics of the child’s body. These can include the influence of gender, nutrition and other food intake patterns, and biochemical characteristics (in particular hormones). The sex of a child is determined by the set of chromosomes and affects the development of physical fitness. Hormone levels are completely dependent on a person’s gender and therefore an assessment of hormone concentrations in the blood is necessary. For example, growth hormone is responsible for the child’s height and limb development. For girls, the index is usually lower than for boys due to the influence of androgens (Mollon et al., 2021). Nutrition is another important factor. The formation of healthy eating habits in the child begins with breastfeeding and the first complementary feeding (RamĂ­rez-Luzuriaga et al., 2021). A healthy diet should include fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat products. This helps to get all the minerals they need and maintain their vitamin levels.

The Environmental Impact on the Child

Environmental factors are a group of phenomena that affect both children and adults. Adults are aware of the harmful effects of the environment and try to avoid or reduce them. It is up to parents to take care of their children (Berk, 2017).The positive effect of the environment on a child is to be outdoors. Playing games and walking in parks fill the lungs with oxygen, develop a caring attitude towards nature and lay down new cognitive functions: learning, touching and enriching knowledge. In sunny weather, vitamin D is produced, and active rest promotes physical development. Negative effects, unfortunately, also exist. Being in a noisy, dusty and gassy environment can lead to withdrawal and the development of illness. A child may develop patterns of repeating harmful behavior.

Culturally and Ethnically Specific Human Characteristics: Shaping a Child’s Personality

Cultural values are based on the patterns and characteristics of people’s lives. The cultural dimension regulates the collective consciousness and view of certain things. In early childhood it is quite difficult to appreciate the ethnic peculiarities and differences in cultures of different nations. Culture affects the emotional development of the child. In nations where family ties are developed, the child may grow up to be kinder and more caring. Attention affects the development of feelings and emotions (Macy & Torres, 2019). Intellectual development is linked to ways of knowing. Some cultures are characterized by gradual inclusion in the whole world. For others, it is important to build up the child’s personality rather than build up a body of knowledge.

The Psychology of a Healthy Child

The child’s psychological and cognitive development run in parallel and are influenced by a combination of factors. Psychological development consists of the child’s gradual involvement in the world around him or her and his or her growing up with the changing environment (Mollon, et al., 2021). The main cognitive function is the ability to learn and repeat. Learning is influenced by dietary pattern, hormonal levels and differences in environmental and cultural settings. The assessment of all the factors affecting the child, either positively or negatively, provides an indication of his or her physical and psychological development. The attention given to the child becomes the key to his or her healthy development.


Berk, L. E. (2017). Development through the lifespan (7th ed.). Pearson Education (US).

Macy, M. & Torres, C. (2019). The role of state lead agency designation in early childhood intervention. The International Journal of Early Childhood Learning, 26, 7-20. Web.

Mollon, J. & Knowles, E.E.M. & Mathias, S.R. & Gur, R. & Peralta, L. M. & Weiner, D. J. & Robinson, E. B. & Gur, R. E. & Blangero, J. & Almasy, L. & Glahn, D. C. (2021). Genetic influence on cognitive development between childhood and adulthood. Mol. Psychiatry, 26, 656–665. Web.

RamĂ­rez-Luzuriaga, M. J. & DiGirolamo, A. & Martorell, R. & Ramirez-zea, M. & Waford, R. & Stein, A. (2021). Influence of enhanced nutrition and psychosocial stimulation in early childhood on cognitive functioning and psychological well-being in Guatemalan adults. Social Science & Medicine, 275. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. "Development Through the Lifespan." September 7, 2023.