Nowadays, child and adolescent psychology areas are vital for understanding individuals’ cognitive and interpersonal development. These areas are incorporated into many fields, including therapy, educational establishments, and parenting. Child and adolescent psychology focuses on the complex nature of child and adolescent development, seeking meaning in their behaviors, traumas, and thinking. However, it is essential to understand that studies in these areas of psychology have undergone changes and involve various theoretical perspectives.
Child and adolescent psychology areas are important to understanding the development of younger individuals. For example, parenting and teaching are made easier by a greater understanding of children attributable to the developmental psychology of children. Additionally, adolescent psychology helps understand the development of teenagers and navigates them to find their personalities (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2019). This area provides information on adolescent shifts in behaviors.
Regarding the study changes, the research on teenage development has expanded significantly during the past twenty years. For an extended time, researchers who studied adolescents and this area of psychology thought that the transformations that came with adolescence were determined mainly by biological factors (Airenti, 2019). The anger and sexual activity that are hallmarks of puberty are sometimes attributed to teenage hormones, even in modern times (Airenti, 2019). Now, a more accurate picture of adolescence is being developed with the help of modern studies. Although adolescence is still viewed as a time when adolescents face challenging developmental obstacles, it is now widely acknowledged that biology is only one of many factors that influence how adolescents develop, adapt, and behave. Furthermore, studies on child development that could disturb children were prohibited on ethical grounds decades ago (Airenti, 2019). However, there were crucial breakthroughs after allowing the experimental evaluation of the capacities of newborns and young children. The development of the habituation concept and the definition of stimuli was crucial (Airenti, 2019). The range of newborn studies has significantly increased due to the introduction of such experimental approaches.
As for the theoretical perspectives, the first is the psychoanalytic perspective. The psychoanalytic theory centers on the subconscious instead of the conscious mind. It is based on the fundamental tenet that the unconscious memories of prior events shape an individual’s behavior. The three most significant psychologists are Erik Erikson, Anna Freud, and Carl Jung (Meadows, 2017). Then, various learning theories have been developed to clarify why and how individuals act in the ways they do. Learning theories focus on how the environment affects learning (Meadows, 2017). The learning theory of Albert Bandura is one of the most noteworthy theories, claiming that a lot of actions are the result of a person’s imitation and straightforward observation of others around them.
The following perspective, the cognitive viewpoint, states that the brain is the most significant factor in determining how someone behaves or perceives. According to this concept, in an attempt to comprehend someone, it is necessary to understand their mind and thoughts. One of the most influential cognitive theorists, Jean Piaget, explains how thinking patterns and mental states grow (Meadows, 2017). The contextual approach considers how people interact with their interpersonal, cognitive, and physical environments. The perspective also looks at how the environment and sociocultural factors affect development. Lev Vygotsky and Urie Bronfenbrenner, two influential psychologists, are credited for developing this viewpoint (Meadows, 2017). Lastly, as per an evolutionary (sociobiological) theoretical approach, an extended childhood is required to develop the abilities needed for the complexity of the human social environment (Meadows, 2017). Among the noteworthy theorists are Blurton Jones, who described the cultural settings and childhood development, and Charles Darwin.
Hence, recognizing an individual’s cognitive and interpersonal progress requires knowledge of child and adolescent psychology fields. Before, there were restrictions on child psychological evaluations and old perspectives in adolescent studies. However, with the permit to assess children, more accurate pictures of adolescent and child psychology are developed with the help of modern studies. The theories that define the correlation between behaviors, thinking and learning patterns are determined by psychoanalytic, learning, cognitive, contextual, and evolutionary (sociobiological) theory perspectives.
Airenti, G. (2019). The place of development in the history of psychology and cognitive science. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1-9.
Meadows, S. (2017). Understanding child development: Psychological perspectives and applications. Routledge.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2019). The promise of adolescence: Realizing the opportunity for all youth. National Academies Press.