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Developmental Psychology Observation paper - Essay Example

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On a perfect spring day in 2004 in New York, my two year old niece, Annalise, was waking up in the back seat of the car. She roared like a lion as she looked for her mommy to take her out of the car. When she realized that her mother was no where to be found she began kicking and screaming…
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Jennifer May Observational paper March 17, 2007 Mr. Talbot Psych 220 On a perfect spring day in 2004 in New York, my two year old niece, Annalise, was waking up in the back seat of the car. She roared like a lion as she looked for her mommy to take her out of the car. When she realized that her mother was no where to be found she began kicking and screaming. My brother tried to console Annalise, but there was just NO getting through to her. He took Annalise out of the car in fear that she would disturb my sleeping son. He put Annalise down on the driveway and, by this time, she was going wild. My brother tried to comfort her until her mommy came out to help, but she started running around in circles, screaming. By this time, there were about five of us outside watching her out-of-control behavior. My brother took her arms and tried to make Annalise laugh, and in turn she smacked him right in the face. Lisa, Annalise's mother, finally came out to help, but by this time Annalise was on a mission. She went after her mother, kicking her in the legs. As Lisa tried to pick her up, she pulled her mother's hair and wanted down. Annalise was so disturbed that she took off down the driveway, into the street, and laid down in the middle of the road. Although they eventually managed to get her back into the yard, her tantrum continued for at least fifteen minutes longer. By this time, my son had woken up crying because of the commotion going on outside, and I just wanted to go home. Luckily, the whole ride home went smoothly because Annalise fell back asleep. This episode left me asking myself many questions. Who are the parents here How often does this happen Does Annalise become angry often What would I do if this were my child
Many theorists could place Annalise's behavior into their developmental stages. Freud would say that Annalise fits perfectly into the anal stage. During this stage, the biggest challenge faced by the child is potty training. At this time in development, children are faced with strict discipline from their parents, often for the first time. In order to establish a form of independence, the child may act out against this discipline. Freud would call such behavior "anal expulsion" (Wehr). Children with anal expulsive personalities "resist authoritarian figures and resent anyone who gets in the way of their free self-expressionthey want their own way and may 'blow up' in a temper tantrum if something stands in the way of their pleasure" (Wehr). While Annalise would fit perfectly in the anal expulsive personality type, it places most of the blame of her behavior onto herself and very little on her parents.
At the same time, behaviorists such as Skinner would focus more on the child's environment as a predictor of behavior. According to Cooke and Cooke, "a child's behavior and developmentis the outcome of how he is reared" (114). With this theory in mind, Annalise acted in such a way because she had gotten away with such behavior in the past. This theory is the exact opposite of Freud's theory in that it places almost all of the blame on the parents with very minimal blame on the child. I feel that a mixture of these two theories would better explain Annalise's behavior. Annalise was acting her age, as Freud would argue, but judging by my brother's reaction and Annalise's control over the situation, this was not her first big blow up. She has found that she can get her way, or at least get attention, when she behaves in such a way.
Works Cited
Cooke, Sharon and Thomas Cooke. "Implications of Child Development Theories for Pre-school Programming." Education 94.2 (2001): 112-116.
Wehr, Marcia. "Psychodynamic Development: Early Childhood Years - Two and Three." Psychology Online. 25 March 2007 http://inst.santafe.cc.fl.us/mwehr/PEDevAnalStage.html. Read More
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