Developmental psychology is concerned with the transformations that happen in the life of individuals. Initially, this field had given a lot of consideration to the changes that occur among infants and children. However, current developments have seen the inclusion of adolescents, adults and the aged (Belsky, 2010). Developmental psychologists dwell on the stages that human beings go through during their lives. In explaining this, various theories are used to buttress the arguments fronted by these psychologists. Some of these theories have a direct link to our day to day experiences. This is a clear indication that the field of developmental psychology is not isolated from the real world.
My career as a police officer exposes me to various challenging criminal situations. One of the most controversial areas within the criminal justice system is juvenile crime. This is a very confusing area and due to this, various misconceptions tend to allude to the presence of high rates of juvenile crime. However, the Ecological Systems theory is among those tools that can be used to solve the controversies around youthful crime. This theory offers significant insights that help in explaining the reasons behind the existence of child crime.
Urie Bronfenbrenner is the mind behind this developmental theory. This theory concentrates on the effect of the environment on the development of an individual. The argument is that these systems contribute to how an individual will conduct himself in the future. The theory classifies the environment into four systems. These systems include macro-system, micro-system, exosystem and mesosystem. Micro-system is the immediate surrounding that may influence the behaviour of an individual (Bronfenbrenner &Bronfenbrenner, 2009). This could be an individual’s workplace, learning institution or home. Secondly, the mesosystem involves the interaction of two micro-systems. An example could be sibling rapport at home against peer relationships in an education institution (Bronfenbrenner &Bronfenbrenner, 2009).
Thirdly, an exosystem is a combination of two or more contexts. For instance, occupational pressure on the parent alters his psychological state, and he may end up being aggressive to the wife and the child also learns the art of aggressiveness. Finally, the macro-system is a wider consideration of various aspects that range from customs, morals, beliefs, socio-economic status and culture (Bronfenbrenner &Bronfenbrenner, 2009). For example, a child from a white family may perceive another one from a black community as violent and academically weak because of skin colour.
This is a very robust phenomenon in helping police officers to execute their mandate. To begin with, the theory clearly explains the impact of the environment on the conduct of an individual. The theory helps police officers to understand that juvenile crime can be attributed to the environment upon which parents bring up their children. The theory reveals that the parental factor is a concern for juvenile crime. As indicated above, children from violent upbringing may transfer it elsewhere.
This is paramount since as police officers we get to understand that a child was not born with innate features that enhance criminal activities. Some children are born in drug prevalent neighbourhoods and they end up using these drugs. There is a connection between the immediate setting and the behaviour of a child. This is crucial for people who are part of the criminal justice system. This insight is useful in recommending particular correctional practices on the offender. Secondly, it offers a chance to police officers to carry out investigations. The reason is that one is aware of some environmental concerns that tend to lead to juvenile delinquency. The theory helps a police officer understands some of the exact aspects that need evaluation to get valid evidence against the offender.
Belsky, J. (2010). Experiencing the lifespan. 3rd edition. New York: Worth Publishing.
Bronfenbrenner, U., and Bronfenbrenner, U. (2009). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Harvard university press.