Aim of studying child psychology
Introduction and methods
Child psychology is one of the most important branches of applied psychology unlike many other disciplines, child psychology emerged from the demands of various fields for more systematic knowledge about children gradually, it became more scientific and helped to distinguish between normal and retarded children. The principles of child psychology are based on research findings and theories about children's behaviour, and it deals with the development from the time of conception to the beginning of adolescence, that is, it studies specific stages of an individual's development from the pre - natal period and ends with the on set of the adolescent period.
Child psychology is one of the branches of general psychology which deals with studying behavoral development of the child. One of the first person to study children as individuals was " John Amas Comemius ". the famous educational reforms of the 17th century. He strongly felt that children should be studied not as embryonic adults but in their essential child nature so as to understand their capacities and know how to deal with them. His studies revealed two most important trends.
1. Philosophical treaties on education in which children were studied only indirectly and
2. Direct daily observation of children in which they were studied at first hand.
Direct observation proved to be for more better that philosophical treaties. Therefore it focused attention on the child more directly.
Interest in scientific studies of children was given great importance by the work of G.Stanley Hall. He emphasized that children are not immature adults. Based on his studies many psychologists and educationalists started studying children without referring to education. Therefore Hall is known as the " Father of the child study movement".
Few of the early studies of children used same scientific methodology like introspection, questionnaire or retrospective report etc instead of continous observations of the same child. But because of the poor methodology, the early studies of children contributed little to our knowledge of how children develop. The present condition of the science is much better and developed more scientifically. Theories have grown sophisticated, methods have become more precise and the whole quality of the science has become infinetely better.
Thus the principles of child psychology are based on research findings and theories about childrens behaviour as development from the time of conception to the beginning of adolescence. The on set of purbuscene, which typically occurs between 12 and 15 years of age, marks the transition to a period of life which psychologists have considered sufficiently different from earlier childhood to meant separate treatment as the psychology of adolescence. Thus child psychology is the study of child, starting with conception and ends in adolescence stage.
Psychologists have found it convenient to identify the following chronological age groupings.
1. Germinal : First 2 weeks after conception
2. Embryo : 2 to 6 weeks after conception
3. Foetus : 6 weeks after conception until birth.
4. Neonate : First 2 weeks after birth
5. Infant : First 2 years of life
6. Pre- school child : 2 to 6 years of life.
7. Intermediate school child : 9 to 12 years of age.
8. Junior high school child : 12 to 15 years of age
[The on set of adolescence occurs during this periosd] This arbitary scheme is of no value.
Child psychology deals with
1. Development changes and stages of a child
2. Effects of environment on the development of the child.
3. Maturation and heriditary effects
4. Interaction of a child with his / her society
According to crow and crow, " child psychology is a scientific study of the individual from his pre - natal beginning through the early stages of his adolescence development". Thus to study and understand the first 12 to 14 years of human behaviour is the main subject matter of child psychology.
1. A study of child psychology provided a rich background of information about children's behaviour and psychological growth under a variety of environment conditions.
2. It provides information about psychological scales for appracing a child's development status.
3. Provides certain norms of behaviour and growth for comparative purposes.
4. Provides understanding of basic psychological processes like learning, motivation, maturation and socialization or reasoning etc.
5. Supplies knowledge of the general principles of development like which to evaluate critically new finds and " fods" in child care and training.
6. It provided practical suggestions for guiding the psychological growth of children who experience difficulties in adjusting to adults, children and environment.
7. Child psychology a better understanding of adolescence and adult behaviour that is the knowledge of childhood experiences help us to predict or to understand the personality and behaviour of the mature individual.
8. The principles of psycho analysis criminology and psycho analytic medicine emphasize the importance of childhood experiences.
9. Child psychology helps us to understand more about the pre- natal life of the child.
10. Mental retardation or any abnormality of the child can be easily examined with the help of the knowledge of child psychology etc.
Differences between child psychology and developmental psychology
In the beginning, scientific studies of children concentrated on specific areas of child behaviour like speech, emotions, play activities etc. These were studied under the branch of child psychology and this was centred on the psychological phenomenan of the pre - school and school age child. But the child psychology was too narrow in its subject matter, which had covered a very limited age level, so to overcome this drawback, they introduced child development or developmental psychology and emphasized more on the pattern of the children's development rather than certain aspects of development.
The major differences are
1. Child concentrates more on the content or product but development psychology concentrates more on the process. Example speech - child psychology studies vocabulary and development
2. Development psychology emphasize more on the environment and experiment than child development
3.Child psychology has only one major objective.
To study the different areas of behaviour.
Development psychology has 6 objectives:
a. Change in appearance, behaviourism, interest, goals from one period to another.
b. To find out when these changes occur
c. To find out under what conditions these occur.
d. To find out how these changes influence behaviour.
e. To find whether the change could be predicted.
f. Whether these changes are unique or common. Child psychology concentrates on pre - school and school age. Developmental psychology concentrates from conception to purbuscence.