Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Nathaniel Branden


Nathaniel Branden (1930-):

Branden is known for his studies in the field of self-esteem.  Branden found self-esteem to be a basic human need, the absence of which cause psychological turmoil.

Six themes emerge in his work include the concept of living consciously, self-acceptance and responsibility, self-assertiveness, integrity and living purposely.

Works include:


Edward de Bono


Edward de Bono (1933-): Coined the term lateral thinking.
De Bono’s techniques of deliberate teaching are used in school curriculums worldwide.

Works include:

The Use of Lateral Thinking (1967) ISBN 0-14-013788-2, introduced the term “lateral thinking”
New Think (1967, 1968) ISBN 0-380-01426-2

The Five-Day Course in Thinking (1968), introduced the L game

The Mechanism of the Mind (1969), Intl Center for Creative Thinking 1992 reprint: ISBN 0-14-013787-4

Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step, (1970), Harper & Row 1973 paperback: ISBN 0-06-090325-2

The Dog-Exercising Machine (1970)

Technology Today (1971)

Practical Thinking (1971)


Eric Berne

imageEric Berne (1910-1970):

The creator of transactional analysis, focusing on games played in relationships and the role of intuition.

Works by Berne:

Bernie, E. (1964). Games people play- the basic handbook of transactional analysis. New York: Ballantine Book


Alfred Adler


Alfred Adler (1870-1937): The study of inferiority and the impact of power and vanity.
Adler founded the school of individual psychology.

Works by Adler:

Adler, A. (1964). The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler. H. L. Ansbacher and R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.). New York: Harper Torchbooks. ISBN 0-06-131154-5.

Adler, A. (1979). Superiority and Social Interest: A Collection of Later Writings. H. L. Ansbacher and R. R. Ansbacher (Eds.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-00910-6.


Social Development in Childhood

Social Development in Childhood

The importance of play is introduced in Jean Piaget’s preoperational stage of development.  Piaget explains how, at this stage, children use symbols to express themselves with thinking and communication.  For example, “a picture of a chair represents a real chair, a child’s pretending to feed a doll stands for a parent’s feeding a baby, and so on” (Boyd & Bee, 2009).  These types of child interactions help the child understand the world around them.

As the child grows, play also becomes an important factor in the development of socialization skills.  For example, a preschooler that brings a toy to class learns the importance of sharing by allowing others to play with his/her toy also.  The use of play also aids in the improvement of communication skills with a child.  “For example, children this age adapt their speech or their play to the demands of a companion.  They play differently with older and younger playmates and talk differently to a younger child” (Boyd & Bee, 2009).  This example represents a higher level of cognitive functioning than Piaget gave children credit for.

According to Erickson (1950), early childhood development consists of a new sense of self found from engaging with the world around with initiative.  Through play and social interactions, children learn about activities that they can master without adult assistance.  These lessons aid to create a sense of self and purpose within the child’s personality.  “They begin to develop a self-concept, the set of attributes, abilities, attitudes, and values that an individual believes defines who he or she is.

A self-concept also influences emotional development in children.  If he/she experiences positive interactions that make up the definition of self, he/she will be more likely to face the world with a positive emotional skills.  Likewise, a negative self-concept can bring about a negative effect. Erickson’s theory finds that due to issues with their superego, children that receive excessive criticism from caregivers experience a large amount of guilt that deteriorates their self-concept.

Attachment also plays a role in this equation.  “In one study, 4-year-olds with a secure attachment to their mothers were more likely than their insecurely attached age mates to describe themselves in favorable terms at age 5-with statements that reflect agreeableness and positive affect” (Berk, 2012, p 365).  This relationship extends to include the impact of parent-child communication.  For example, if a parent continually tells a child that they are bad, they begin to identify themselves as such.  The same applies to personal defining likes/dislikes.  The child will learn to categorize activities that they enjoy by connecting the activity to a parents verbal communication when told he/she enjoys the park.  These elements lay the foundation for a sense of self-emerging within this age group.

A view within social learning theory finds that behavior is established through reinforcement and modeling (Berk, 2012, p 380). This theory is based upon the concept of operant conditioning- reinforcement of behavior through reward.  One such theorist in this school is thought is Albert Bandura.  He finds that “human functioning is a product of the interplay of intrapersonal influences, the behavior individuals engage in, and the environmental forces that impinge upon them” (Bandura, 2012). Bandura (2012) explains that the uncontrollable force of the environment influences behavior.  Yet, the reaction that is presented as a response is dependent upon the characteristics of the individual both in cognitive functioning and emotional response.

Social learning theory also explains learning and expression of gender identity. They explain that these elements of individuality are directly correlated to the effects of reinforcement and modeling.   For example, parents impose their viewpoint of what it is to be male or female through activities such as rough play with boys and more gentle activities with girls.  As a result, children take on the persona of their expected role.  Similarly, other areas of learning result from imitation of behaviors displayed within an environmental setting.

To contrast Erikson’s psychoanalytic theory to Bandura’s social learning, we can find that Erikson placed a larger emphasis on the impact of the individual with the outside world.  On the other hand, Bandura emphasizes the opposite.  Both note that the environment has a heavy influence on characteristics of the child.  However, Erikson believes that the resolution of internal conflicts produce positive attributes in children.  Whereas, Bandura outlines a complex interaction with the external environment through situational response and the underlying reinforcement that creates it.


Berk, L. E. (2012). Infants, children, and adolescents (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Boyd, D., & Bee, H. (2009). Lifespan Development (5th Ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Erikson, E.H. (1993) (1950). Childhood and Society. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company. p. 242. ISBN 978-0393310689.


Research & Issue Requests

Your comments and concerns are important to us.  

If there’s a topic you’d like more information on or a

problem that need to be addressed, feel free to post it here.  

We look forward to the discovery of new information in the field of psychology and

would love to hear from you.  



Please use the comment section below and provide as much detail on your topic as possible.  

We will review your information and get back with you in a timely manner.


How to Improve Others

How to Improve Others

According to the Decision Book (2012), there are many models that can be used in the decision-making process.  The model chosen for this discussion is The Role-Playing Model. The author presents ways in which your point of view can be intentionally changed. He explains that sometimes people are resistant to new points of view because it does not fit in with their present ideals. Through observational research it was found that nine profiles define the characteristics of people (Krogerus & Tschappeler, 2012, p. 143). They are:

Action-oriented: do-er, implementer, perfectionist.
Communication-oriented: coordinator, team player, trailblazer.
Knowledge-oriented: innovator, observer, specialist.

It is proposed that in order to change your viewpoint, you must change your thought process to that of the idea’s creator. In doing so, you are able to step outside of yourself and begin to understand and possibly accept new ideas or concepts.

When working with diverse populations and implementing integrative education, an open frame of mind and understanding are required. For example, in order to bring forth different perspectives on any given course room discussion instructors must be accepting of varying viewpoints and backgrounds in order to optimize the expansion of knowledge.


Krogerus, M. & Tschappeler, R. (2012). The Decision Book: 50 Models for Strategic Thinking. New York, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.


Foundations of Temperament

Foundations of Temperament
“When we describe one person as cheerful and “upbeat,” another as active and energetic, and still others as calm, cautious, or prone to angry outbursts, we are referring to temperament- early-appearing, stable individual differences in reactivity and self-regulation” (Berk, 2012). Researchers Thomas and Chess (1977) have found that temperament can be broken down into four categories; the easy child, the difficult child, the slow-to-warm-up child, and the remained a mix of multiple categories. These descriptions represent the behavior that a child demonstrates on a daily basis when interacting with his/her environment.Temperament changes throughout the lifespan as children learn to control their emotions and behaviors in response to different stimuli. While this element of personality changes over time in response to environmental situations, it is also linked to a predisposition from genetic influences. Twin studies of both fraternal and identical twins show that identical twins more closely share similar temperament styles. Research on ethnic differences in temperament presents Caucasian-American children as more active and vocal than their Asian counterparts (Berk, 2012, p260). While these traits are passed down from generation to generation, the environment determines how and when they are expressed.

Environmental influences create the level of stability and security that a child bases their views of the world upon. For example, children that are deprived of human interaction and care demonstrate emotional and attachment issues. These problems can be corrected over time if given the proper caring and stable environment after the trauma.

Parental interactions also aid in the formation of temperament. A parent’s personal beliefs and expectations are projected onto the child and can influence the way the child behaves and reacts to the environment. For example, if a parent defines the child as being good, bad, social, quiet, or smart, the interactions with the child will reflect these opinions. Researchers have found that the effect of parental perception of temperament effects treatment and subsequently interactions and reactions, but may not reflect the actual stable level of temperament of the child (Majdandžić, van den Boom & Heesbeen, 2008). When the parent changes his/her belief of the child, the interactions also change which results in a different displayed temperament style. A clear example of this can be seen in parent/teen relationships. When the teenager gets in trouble and parents react as if the teen is trouble, odds are that the teen will continue this type of behavior. Yet if the same situation is reacted to in a manner that views this behavior as an isolated incident, chances improve that this incident will be more isolated in comparison.

In summary, children are equipped with the genetic foundation for particular temperament features. These features are directly influenced and/or reinforced by the interactions with the child and the environment. This environment helps to mold the individual differences in how children react to and interact with the world around them.

Berk, L. E. (2012). Infants, children, and adolescents (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Majdandžić, M., van den Boom, D. C., & Heesbeen, D. M. (2008). Peas in a pod: Biases in the measurement of sibling temperament?. Developmental Psychology, 44(5), 1354-1368. doi:10.1037/a0013064

The Infant Brain

The Infant Brain

 “During infancy and toddlerhood, neural fibers and synapses increase at an astounding pace” (Berk, 2012; Huttenlocher, 2002; Moore & Persaud, 2008).  These components of the brain communicate and form bonds with neighboring structures through stimulation to create the basic skills the child will need in life.  Neurons that are not stimulated experience a process called synaptic pruning in which they are stored for future use (Berk, 2012, p165).

The environment plays a huge role in infant brain development.  Researchers have found that children raised in orphanages with little adult stimulation grow to have issues in all areas of development (Berk, 2012, p169).  These areas include lower test scores, stress management issues, and emotional, behavioral, and psychological problems.   Studies show that these deprived children show greater improvement in these areas when they are subject to the deprivation for shorter increments and then raised in a normal, caring environment (Beckett et al., 2006; O’Connor et al., 2000; Rutter et al., 1998, 2004, 2010).

Unlike the adult brain, the brain of infants and toddlers can easily reorganize itself after experiencing damage (Berk, 2012, p170).  Their brain plasticity allows for the functioning of areas to be designated to make up for the damage.  Although a slight time of initial delay may occur after the onset of damage, children have been found to remarkably catch up to children their age in their functioning skills when compared to adults.

As you can see, appropriate stimulation is vital to infant brain development.  Researchers have categorized this development as experience-expectant and experience-dependent brain growth. The first describes the foundation of growth from brain organization to learning through interactions with the environment (Berk, 2012, p172).  On the other hand, experience-dependent brain growth adds to brain development through specific experiences over our lifetime.




Beckett, C., Maughan, B., Rutter, M., Castile, J., Colvert, E., & Groothues, C. (2006). Do the effects of early severe deprivation on cognition persist into early adolescence? Findings from the English and Romanian adoptees study. Child Development, 77, 696-711.

Berk, L. E. (2012). Infants, children, and adolescents (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN: 9780205718160

Huttenlocher, P.R. (2002). Neural plasticity: The effects of environment on the development of the cerebral cortex. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Moore, K.L. & Persaud, T.V.N. (2008). Before we are born (7th ed). Philadelphia: Saunders.

O’Connor, T.G., Rutter, M., Beckett, C., Keaveney, L., Dreppner, J.M., & the English and Romanian Adoptees Study Team. (2003). Child-parent attachment following early institutional deprivation. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 19-38.

Rutter, M., & the English and Romanian Adoptees Study Team. (1998). Developmental catch-up, and deficit, following adoption after severe global early privation. Journal of Child Psychology and Psyciatry, 39, 465-476.

Rutter, M. O’Connor, T.G., and the English and Romanian Adoptees Study Team. (2004). Are there biological programming effects for psychological development? Findings from a study of Romanian adoptees. Developmental Psychology, 40, 81-94.

Rutter, M., Sonuga-Barke, E.J, Beckett, C., Castle, J., Kreppner, J., Kumsta, R., et al. (2010). Deprivation-specific psychological patterns: Effects of institutional deprivation. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 75(1, Serial No. 295).



Interview: Advice for the Teacher

Interview: Advice for the Teacher

Patricia Mezu is an associate collaborator in the Middle East with KDSL.  She has spent her career teaching others about the best and most effective practices in early childhood education both in and out of the classroom. In doing so, Patricia is aware of the wide variety of obstacles that teachers encounter on a daily basis.  These issues span from student childhood disorders and  curriculum adaptations to performance pressures from school management officials.

As more and more children are diagnosed with attention deficits, teachers must be prepared to meet the different needs of these children. Mezu says that there are numerous tools teachers can use to keep a child’s attention, including sustained eye contact when communicating, a gentle touch on the shoulder to gain attention, multifaceted planning (incorporating visual, audio and tactile learning techniques), short and focused learning activities, and activities that incorporate the use of gross motor skills, to name a few.

 Mezu recommends that teachers adapt the curriculum to suit the individual requirements of each child when working with a group of children who may be at different levels of comprehension. “Sustained observation and planning on an individual basis for each pupil are the best ways to meet the needs of a group of children,” she said. “Working with pupils in groups based on their abilities and having teaching tools and activities within the classroom that cater to different abilities ensure that pupils are able to be challenged when/if required.”

Teachers sometimes experience pressure from school officials with regard to student performance because of a lack of awareness of what the curriculum requires, Mezu explains. “In the Middle East, equating and imposing Western values in non-Western settings can also become a problem.” Her advice for teachers is “preparation, preparation, preparation. Remain in touch with best practices, stay teachable, have a forum that you can tap into to keep yourself on track and to air any problems, and link up with a good mentor.”


Ecological Theory

Ecological Theory

Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory of development describes development as a relationship between the environment and the person instead of two separate concepts.  This multi-level theory breaks down environmental influences on development as “the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem” (Crandell, Crandell, & Zander, 2009).  Each layer represents a variety of influences that shape each person’s developmental progression.

This ecological theory of development suggests that there’s not one single instance that effects our decisions in the path of life.  Instead, a complex relationship between different environments is the cause for behavior.  For example, a teenager chooses not to go to college.  This decision is not solely based upon their family’s educational history or academic struggles in previous school settings.  According to Bronfenbrenner, identifying behavior as being based upon simple factors, ignores the complex environmental interactions of school, peers, family, beliefs, religion, age, health, et cetera.  These complex patterns of behavior cannot be identified as happening at one point in time.  Instead, behavioral changes happen over time.  This is also referred to as the chronosystem.

To elaborate on the various levels of this theory, picture a circle with four layers surrounding the individual.  The microsystem is the layer directly outside of the individual.  It consists of relationships such as the family, school, peers, neighborhood, church, and health services.  These are the closest surrounding relationships that a person interacts with (Berk, 2000).  At this level, the impact of interactions work two ways, toward the individual and away from the individual. For example, peers can have an impact on thought patterns or behaviors of a child.  That same child can impact the thought patterns or behaviors of their peers.

The next layer, the mesosystem provides connections between elements of the microsystem and that of the exosystem.  For example, connections between a child’s family and educational system occur at this level.  It simply acts as a passageway to connect neighboring layers and comingle interactions between those layers.

Located outside of the mesosystem, the exosystem represents relationships that do not directly impact a person.  Bronfenbrenner listed the extended family, educational system, legal services, government agencies, mass media, and friends of family.  These categories have influence on a person’s life by interacting with components within the mesosystem (Beck, 2000).  Although the relationship here is passive, there is a “positive or negative force involved with the interaction with a person’s system” (Paquette, 2001).

The last element of the ecological theory is the macrosystem.  This layer is concerned with elements of a person’s society such as laws, cultural values, and customs (Berk, 2000).  Categories of the macrosystem have an effect on all parts of the theory.  An example of this would be “if it is the belief of the culture that parents should be soley responsible for raising their children, that culture is less likely to provide resources to help parents” (Paquette, 2001).

Given the multiple dynamics that create the features of each and every one of us, lifespan development can not be approached from a single system.  All aspects, relationships, biological components and experiences must be taken into account to ensure a healthy progression from birth into adulthood.




Berk, L.E. (2000). Child Development (5th ed.)  Boston: Ally and Bacon. 23-38

Crandell, T. L., Crandell, C. H., & Vander Zanden, J. W. (2009). Human development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Paquette, D., (June, 2001).Bronfenbrenner’s Ecolological Systems Theory. Retrieved from


Defining Development

Defining Development


Angel Pumila

Below we will cover the life stages according to developmental theorists, Erik Erikson and Lawrence Kohlberg.

I.               Trust vs. Mistrust: Birth to 18 Months

a) According to Erikson’s theory, people go through a series of crises throughout their development that must be overcome in order to successfully progress to the next stage.  The first is trust vs. mistrust.  During this stage, infants are relying on their parents for their needs to be met.  When their needs are met they develop a trusting relationship with their caregiver.  When the infant finds people to be undependable or have irregularity within their relationship, the infant learns that he/she cannot trust and therefore develops mistrust with the world around that will carry over into relationships later in life.

b) In comparison, Kohlberg would consider this level to be pre-conventional.  Pre-conventional moral reasoning is a process of basing decisions upon either obedience and punishment (stage one) or upon their best interests (stage 2).

II.             Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt: 18 Months to 3 Years

a) The crisis at this stage is autonomy versus shame and doubt.  Here, children have the ability to explore the world around.  Children that are encouraged to explore and learn safely conquer autonomy and can deal with problems on their own.  Those that are restricted from exploring feel shame and doubt about their own abilities.

b) In comparison, Kohlberg would consider this level to be pre-conventional.  Pre-conventional moral reasoning is a process of basing decisions upon either obedience and punishment (stage one) or upon their best interests (stage 2).  This level continues until adolescence or adulthood.

III.           Initiative vs. Guilt: 3 to 5 Years

a) The issue at this stage is whether to take initiative in new tasks or guilt about their needs and desires (Bee & Boyd, 2009).  This stage is a continuation of the previous by Erikson.  When a child learns that goals can be met by taking initiative, this stage is successfully conquered.  Yet if children are restricted in their independence, they begin to question themselves and can begin to develop negative self-esteem as a result.

b) In comparison, Kohlberg would consider this level to be pre-conventional.  Pre-conventional moral reasoning is a process of basing decisions upon either obedience and punishment (stage one) or upon their best interests (stage 2).  This level continues until adolescence or adulthood.

c) This stage can vary based upon cultural and ethnic factors.  For example, some children may grow up in a cultural setting that does not enable them to explore their own independence.  On the other end of the spectrum, some cultures give too much freedom to children.

The research finds that “play provides a vehicle for children to both develop and demonstrate knowledge, skills, concepts and dispositions (Dempsey & Frost, 1993; Isenberg & Quisenberry, 2002). With such an emphasis placed on play in Western societies, the presence of outdoor play is reduced from year to year based upon concern for the safety of children in this dangerous world.  Overprotecting parenting stems from numerous safety issues such as street traffic, injury from bicycles or skateboards, or the issue of ‘stranger danger’ (Valentine & McKendrick, 1997).  According to the developmental theorists, this restrictive behavior could prevent children from exploring and learning on their own leading to a lack of motivation and curiosity for trying new things in the world around.

IV.           Industry vs. Inferiority: 5 to 13 Years

a) During late childhood, children are presented with the issue of competence.  Here, more complex skills are learned, children are learning to be individuals and find their place in the world around.  Children learn to develop and nurture their own talents.  If not allowed by parents, they lose initiative and motivation in creating or participating in particular interests.

b) In comparison, Kohlberg would consider this level to be pre-conventional.  Pre-conventional moral reasoning is a process of basing decisions upon both obedience and punishment (stage one) or upon their best interests (stage 2).  This level continues until adolescence or adulthood.

V.             Identity vs. Role Confusion: 13 to 24 Years

a) Who am I?  Beginning in adolescence and lasting until early adulthood, people begin the stage of learning who they are as a person.  They begin to think about their roles in the future.  Successful completion of this stage includes a secure sense of identity, and “an emotional and deep awareness of who he or she is” (Stevens, 1983).  Without that deep sense of identity, people can become confused about their place in the world.

b) In comparison, Kohlberg would consider this level to be considered the conventional level of moral reasoning.  At this age and beyond, decisions are based upon the rights or wrong expected of society.  Stage three seeks approval or disapproval from society by conformance or nonconformance to social standards.  Stage four consists of maintaining the laws and social order of their society.  Approval from others is not required in stage four, instead a personal stance in upholding the norms of a society are key.

VI.           Intimacy vs. Isolation: 24 to 39 Years

a) After completion of ‘Identity vs. Role Confusion’, adults enter into ‘Intimacy versus isolation.  During this stage, people search for intimate relationships and a lifelong partner.  If successful intimate relationships are not found, people prepare themselves for the letdown of being alone. “Intimacy has a counterpart: Distantiation: the readiness to isolate and if necessary, to destroy those forces and people whose essence seems dangerous to our own, and whose territory seems to encroach on the extent of one’s intimate relations” (Erikson, 1950).

b) In comparison, Kohlberg would consider this level to be a combination of conventional and post-conventional morals.  “In stage five (social contract driven), the world is viewed as holding different opinions, rights and values” (Unknown, 2012).  The decision making in stage six concerns universal ethics and principles.  Decisions are absolute and unrelated to the laws and rules of society.  Instead, they are based upon what is right and just.


 Bee, H. & Boyd, D. (2009). The Developing Child (12th ed). Boston, MA: Pearson. ISBN 978-0205685936.

Dempsey, J.D., & Frost, J.L. (1993). Play environments in early childhood education. In B. Spodek (Ed.), Handbook of research on the education of young children (pp. 306-312). New York: Macmillan.

Erikson, E.H. (1993) (1950). Childhood and Society. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company. p. 242. ISBN 978-0393310689.

Isenberg, J.P., & Quisenberry, N. (2002). Play: Essential for all children.  Childhood Education, 79(1), 33-39.

Kohlberg, L. & Lickona, T. (1976). Moral stages and moralization: The cognitive –developmental approach.  Moral Development and Behavior: Theory, Research and Social Issues.  Holt, NY: Rinehart and Winston.

Little, H. (2009). Outdoor play: Does avoiding the risks reduce the benefits. Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University. Retrieved from

Stevens, R. (1983). Erik Erikson: An Introduction, New Your, NY: St. Martin’s Press. pp 48-50. ISBN 978-0312258122.

Valentine, G., & McKendrick, J. (1997). Children’s outdoor play: Exploring parental concerns about children’s safety and the changing nature of childhood. Geoforum, 28(2), 219-235.

Unknown. (2012). Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. Wikipedia. Retrieved from’s_stages_of_moral_development#Conventional


Infant Cognitive Development

Infant Cognitive Development

Information-processing theorists claim that a child’s ability to effectively use their memory system has a large effect on their ability to succeed in tasks that involve problem solving.  They explain that children use scripts, or “cognitive structures that underlie behaviors that are often repeated” (Boyd & Bee, 2009).  For example to be able to brush your teeth, you must first grab a toothbrush.  Next put toothpaste on the toothbrush, and so on.  These step by step situations saved into memory are built upon as the child ages.

This theory also emphasizes the importance of metamemory and metacognition.  “Metamemory is the knowledge about and control of memory processes” (Boyd & Bee, 2009).  Metamemory explains that children know that it takes longer to memorize a long list of word than a shorter list.  It is the knowledge of memory functions.   “Metacognition is knowledge about and control of thought processes” (Boyd & Bee, 2009).  Similar to memory, metacognition is the awareness of understanding and thinking.

Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory emphasizes the “role of social factors in cognitive development” Boyd & Bee, 2009).  Vygosky believed that children learn through a joining of minds in social situations and internalize the information for problem solving.  This theory does not deny that leaning can occur on an individual basis, but claims that there’s more learning acquired through social settings instead.

After comparing the two theories above, I believe that both are credible in describing cognitive factors in development.  The information-processing theory explains the use of key factors governing cognitive advancements in an academic setting.  On the other hand, Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory reminds me of learning through parent-child interactions early in life.  Therefore, by understanding both theories and the various uses of each, we will have a better concept of the processes governing cognitive development.




Boyd, D., & Bee, H. (2009). Lifespan Development (5th Ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.


Lasting Effects of Infant Attachment

Lasting Effects of Infant Attachment

According to the attachment theory, “infants are biologically predisposed to form emotional bonds with caregivers and that the characteristics of those bonds shape later social and personality development” (Boyd & Bee, 2009).  They claim that if children do not form a healthy attachment to their caregivers before two years old, they will have personality and social problems later on in life.  Confidence or lack of are created between child and parent through reliability and affection.  If the child can rely on the parent to be there when needed, a healthy relationship is created.  One this situation is formed in a healthy manner, the child feels safe to grow and explore the world around.  Children also tend to recreate the relationships formed earlier in life.  Without a safe and reliable foundation, the child will mimic the patterns learned in future relationships in a negative manner.  This makes the creation of healthy early attachment vital throughout the child’s lifespan.


Boyd, D., & Bee, H. (2009). Lifespan Development (5th Ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.


Adolescent Sex: Parental Roles & Media Influences

Adolescent Sex:

Parental Roles and Media Influences

Angel Sagona Pumila




Adolescents in today’s society have a more difficult time than ever coping with their own sexuality and the expectations of those in their social circles. While the sixties produced the idea that free love was acceptable, that generation of love did not have the media images that children are exposed to today. In the 1950s, pornography mostly consisted of images of scantily clad women. In the 1960s, nudity became the norm in pornography. It progressed even more over the next decades to include sexual acts between men and women or same-gender sex. Today, however, the Internet gives children access to a barrage of images of people actually having all types of sex with multiple partners considered a normal course of events. Children can watch all sorts of abnormal sexual behavior, which when exposed over and over, can become normal to them.

Literature Review

In “How can parents make a difference? Longitudinal association with adolescent sexual behavior,” by Daneen P. Deptula, David B. Henry and Michael E. Schoeny, the authors suggest that, “Parents have the potential to protect against adolescent sexual risk, including early sexual behavior, inconsistent condom use, and outcomes such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)” (Deptula, Henry, & Schoeny, 2010). They argue that communication is the only effective tools parents have to help prevent sexual diseases and pregnancies and suggest that the quality of the relationship between parent and child influences how early the child becomes sexually active, as well as their sexual behaviors throughout their development.

In “Tackling the topic of teen sex,” Victoria Clayton agrees that communication between parent and child is important, but she suggests that the influences of the media and all of the images children see are more influential than parents in determining the child’s sexual behaviors. This author seems to think that it’s all about the influences around the child, including peer groups and how much exposure the child has to pornography on the Internet.

For the purpose of this paper, I will examine these arguments and try to determine just how much influence parents really have with regard to the sexual behaviors in their children.


This topic is extremely important to lifespan development, as the choices made by adolescents with regard to their sexual behaviors can have a direct impact on the rest of their lives. For example, the young girl who becomes pregnant at 16 years old does not have the same educational opportunities as other girls her age because she must now support and care for a child. Her ability to earn a living to care for her family becomes steeply impaired through a lack of education, and typically, she can look forward to a life of poverty. The disturbing news is that children seem to be experimenting with sex at younger and younger ages, and the rules have changed.

According to Clayton, “Recent media reports about teen sexual activity undoubtedly have many parents concerned. Newspaper articles and TV segments have suggested that “hooking up” and having “friends with benefits” are disturbingly common behaviors among today’s kids. (In case you aren’t up on this terminology, “hooking up” is the new way to say “one-night stand.” If the nights turn into a series but still no relationship, that’s a “friend with benefits) (Clayton, 2011). ” Clayton says this is really nothing new, but the disturbing part is that children are so nonchalant about having sex without relationships. She notes that the problem is the Internet, that it has become a singles bar for all ages with no holds barred.

Deptula, Henry and Schoeny argue that parents have several mechanisms through which to help their children deal with sexual issues, including communication, monitoring, involvement, educational aspirations and allowing their children to be independent. Their research indicates that, “higher levels of parental monitoring have been associated with fewer sexual partners, lower levels of sexual activity, and more consistent condom use” (Deptual, Henry, Schoeny, 2010). They also suggest that low educational aspirations, which are associated with poverty, can promote risky sexual behaviors. Parents can lower risks for unwanted pregnancies and STIs through pushing education and spending quality time with their children. These authors argue that parental attitudes and behaviors, even when they are unrelated to sexuality, still influence their children’s behaviors.


The authors of both articles seem to agree that parents do have some influence over their children’s sexual behaviors. However, Clayton wonders how much influence parents really have when television and the Internet constantly bombard children with images that seem to define sexuality. Clayton says that, “When it comes to sex, teens need—and have always needed—help from their parents. Unfortunately, the vast majority of parents still never have a conversation with their kids about sex beyond maybe giving them information about reproductive biology” (Clayton, 2011). Many parents are unaware of much of what their children see because they are not technologically savvy enough to keep up with their children’s activities on the Internet. Chat rooms, dating sites, porn sites, it almost takes a computer technician to trace their children’s activities, and that’s almost impossible for most parents.

Deptula, Henry and Schoeny argue that communication in and of itself is not effective at protecting children from themselves and their raging hormones, but that the type of communication and specificity is more important.”With respect to emotional tone, Dutra et al. (1999) found that open and receptive communication about sex was associated with lower levels of sexual risk. In addition, Mueller and Powers (1990) found that warm and friendly adolescent perceptions of parents’ general communication were associated with lower levels of sexual activity and higher levels of contraceptive use. Dominant, contentious, and dramatic parenting communication styles were related to risky adolescent sexual behavior. An interesting result of the current study was that parental reports of comfort and confidence in communicating with their teens was not related to sexual risk. Instead, adolescents perceptions of the nature of the conversation may be more important (Deptula, Henry, Schoeny, 2010).

Both articles support parental involvement and communication as a means to influence children against risky sexual behaviors. Clayton says that children model their behavior after their parents. According to this author, “If you’re hooking up indiscriminately online or engaging in sex-only relationships, don’t be surprised if your kids model that behavior. Of course, the opposite is also true. Show them a loving, affectionate relationship and they’re likely to seek the same for themselves (Clayton, 2011). She says that parents should begin supporting their children’s thoughts, feelings and values as early as possible because the strongest weapon against outside influences is the family base that has been established. She says that parents should talk to children about those influences, including pornography, but that it should not be portrayed as bad. “Instead,” she says, “Talk about how pornography usually glamorizes sex or even makes it look more brutal or outrageous than it typically is. The idea is to offer your kids a reality check” (Clayton, 2011).

Deptula, Henry and Schoeny agree that communication with children should not focus on the negative because then all children hear is “no,” and their natural instinct is to question and even rebel. These authors determined through their research that, “prevention efforts should focus on adolescent-parent relationship building and developing the skills to have a positive, open dialogue about sexual activity” (Deptula, Henry, Schoeny, 2010).

While both articles agree on communication being an important element in preventing unwanted sexual behaviors, Clayton seems to be much less optimistic about its effectiveness. She gives much more weight to outside influences than do the other authors. She also seems more concerned about what the future holds with regard to sexual behaviors and children. She says that parents should limit their children’s access to computers and television and monitor all activities intently. Deptula, Henry and Schoeny agree that monitoring is necessary, but their article provides communication as the ultimate solution.


The problem of coping with sexuality and with what to do and what not to do is a difficult one for many adolescents. On one hand, children have parents and other family members telling them that having sex too young is wrong and that there can be many bad outcomes from having sex, including STIs and pregnancy. On the other hand, children are bombarded with sexual images in many shows and commercials on television. As they become teenagers and begin browsing the Internet, their exposure to images increases, and these images are not censored like those on television. Many children are watching people having sex, including bizarre sex with multiple partners, and for these children, ideas about what sex is supposed to be are becoming somewhat warped.

Clayton noted in her article that, “Individuals exposed to a high level of pornographic videos were significantly less satisfied with their sexual partner’s attractiveness and sexual adventurousness, less interested in being in an emotionally committed relationship and less interested in having children” (Clayton, 2011). She states that those children who have grown up surrounded with normal relationships are more likely to be able to sustain normal relationships in their own adult life. For this author, it’s all about exposure—the less pornography to which a child is exposed, the more normal sexual life the child will have.

For many parents, even knowing exactly what their children are doing when parents are at work or children are at school or participating in extracurricular activities is difficult. You cannot monitor children all day every day. However Deptula, Henry and Schoeny state that with the proper parental controls in place, open communication and rules, children will ultimately do what they are supposed to do.

I disagree. I think that parents can monitor their children. They can place controls on computers to keep children off sites they should not visit. They can monitor what television shows are watched. They can monitor friends, talk with friends’ parents and make a concerted effort to always know exactly where their children are and what they are doing. The problem is that this takes a lot of work, and most parents are so busy making a living that they don’t have the time or energy it takes to monitor their children at all times.

Yes, communication is important. Talking positively with children about sex is a first step toward preventing unwanted pregnancies, but being “in the know” is also very important. Parents need to be informed about teenage sexual trends. For example, the language of teenagers is important. “Hooking up,” to a parent may mean going out on a date, but to a teenager, it means having a one-night stand. Sexting is another aspect of teenage sexuality that parents need to know. Many teenagers are sending naked or provocative pictures of themselves through text messages. Some parents remain unaware of this practice that teenagers do because “everyone does it.” In many states, sexting has become illegal and teenagers can be penalized for this practice.

Being knowledgeable about what adolescents are doing is the biggest step in preventing children from doing the same thing. Children give in to peer pressure, and parents need to be aware of what kinds of things their children are being pressured to do. Without knowledge, parents do not have the tools to help their children grow into mature, sexual adults who engage in healthy sexual behaviors. I feel that while communication with children is very important, knowledge is the most powerful weapon a parent can possess.


Clayton, Victoria.; (2011).  Tackling the Topic of Teen Sex. MSNBC.  Retrieved May 28, 2011 from

Deptula, Daneen P.; Henry, David B.; Schoeny, Michael E.; Journal of Family Psychology, Vol 24(6), Dec, 2010. pp. 731-739.

%d bloggers like this: