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1) Describe some specific ways in which your child developed that appeared to be influenced by factors outside your control, such as genes, random environmental events or the general influence of contemporary middle-class American culture.
Mary has been drunk a few times after parties, which was influenced by outside factors, in this case her peers and friends. I believe Mary is also unusually social. Of course, I had always encouraged interaction with others, but it looks like Mary is naturally social and amiable person. I think general influences of contemporary middle-class American culture are: 1) Mary always wanted different clothing. It was important for her to look fashionable to fit in with peers. 2) She also had insecurities about her looks when she was maturing physically. So, she had a specific perception what the culture/society finds attractive/beautiful.
2) As the program ends, what pathways does your child appear to be on in terms of their physical, cognitive, social, emotional and moral development. To what extent could you have predicted these pathways based on what you knew of your child’s earlier development? What emotions would you feel if this were your actual child? Describe specific ways in which you think your parenting style positively and negatively affected your child’s development. If you could make changes in your parenting style what would they be and why would you make these changes?
Mary has had a very good stimulation in all areas of development. As I watched Mary grow, I encouraged her to grow in areas she was interested in, at the same time suggesting activities that she might develop an interest or passion for. Since a very young age, Mary had all aspects of development growing actively. As a little girl, she read, played with peers, solved puzzles, played catch and other sports. Mary and I also talked about different topics of morality – how to treat and respect others, discussed laws of the society and rights of a person. I could have predicted what person Mary would grow to be, because my parenting style remained the same from infancy to adulthood, and her temperament and personality didn’t seem to change whole a lot. If Mary was an actual child, I would be happy that she is a healthy person. I practiced authoritative parenting, and I believe that it affected Mary positively. I was a very responsive parent to Mary, was sensible to her needs, and very involved in her life. When she felt down, or needed help with her time management, I would reach out to her to encourage her to open up when she was depressed or stressed out. I would work with her to establish better study methods. I also set restrictions that Mary had to obey. Those restrictions were all necessary for Mary to be a responsible person. I would not let her to come let her night, or allow her to drink at the parties. I would not make any changes to my parenting style.
3) Reflect upon your own life from your earliest memories of childhood through the present day. Using the material you have learned in this class and your experiences with being a virtual parent, discuss 2 aspects of your development: social/emotional, cognitive, physical or your personality/temperament. How has this course and the MVC program helped you to better understand yourself? How do you think you will continue to grow and develop?
a) Cognitive – Since very young age, I was exposed to languages. My grandmother read a lot for me, and we read a lot together when I was old enough to read. I grew up with also learning Russian(my second language), which greatly impacted my understanding of language. I have always loved reading, and writing as well. I also successfully mastered English when I moved to the United States a few years back. My perceptual skills were greatly impacted by many conversations I would have with family members, relatives and peers. I was a good student, and have a good academic achievement. I was equally good at all subjects.
b) Social/Emotional – I was never really close to my parents. My grandparents and aunt had a very big influence on my emotional development. I was very attached to them and was always really comfortable sharing my thoughts desires and hopes with them because we had a strong bond. They were much more understanding, loving and affirming than both of my parents. I had only few close friends growing up. I liked playing with other kids, but I was not terribly social.
1) Think about your teen’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses and how they are reflected in his or her school grades and activities from 14-16 years of age. What careers or courses of study might be best suited to your teen’s abilities and interests?
Mary’s interested in science and math has remained, and her grades at the school have certainly reflected in enthusiasm and interest to do well in those subjects. She has also grown much more interested in art, and is really excited that high school has to offer so many art classes. I have encouraged her to take some painting classes at her school. She also got an A for art class. Mary quit playing her violin for a while, because she didn’t seem very interested, and as time went by she practiced less and less. But because her school has a music requirement we decided to enroll her in keyboarding class, so she can finally learn to read music well. I believe engineering or architecture might be very suitable to Mary’s interests and abilities. She enjoys math and science and does really well. She has developed a greater interest towards arts.
2) How important have your teen’s relationships with peers been to his/her social development, emotional well-being and school achievement from 14-16 years of age?
Because Mary is very social, her relationship with her peers has been crucial. Fortunately, Mary has developed good coping skills to deal with difficulties. Some of high school experiences are stressful, such as hurtful thing said by a friend. But Mary is very good at calming down herself and focusing her attention elsewhere during a stressful time. Other than that, Mary is not having any major problems at high school. She has been occasionally invited to parties and various teen gatherings. Mary has apparently developed a crush on a boy at her school, and spends a lot of time communicating with him. She was very excited sharing with me that she has been invited to a date. Mary has also established new relationships with her peers. Her social calendar seems to be really full. She loved hanging out with friends. When she broke up with her boyfriend, she was really stressed for two weeks. I would be very sensible, encourage her to open up and share with me. Mary has also begun dating a new boy, and my ex-partner and I are worried and she might be having sex. She has also been drunk a couple after a party. This overly social and inappropriate lifestyle may impact Mary’s well-being in very big ways, so I encourage Mary to be selective, assert certain restrictions. For example, I prohibited her to hang out with friends who have bad influence on her. However, some bad decisions made by Mary do not seem to have an impact on her school achievement. She is doing really well in her classes. She got A’s for English Honors, Spanish, Physics, Trigonometry and fine art class. She got B’s in American History and music classes.
3) How has your teen adjusted at 14-16 years of age to typical adolescent issues such as risk-taking, drugs, alcohol, and sexual interests, and how have you responded to your teen?
When Mary was seeing her new boyfriend, I suspected that she might be having sex. I had a talk with Mary. She is a 16 year old young woman, and I trust her to make reasonable decisions about her life and desires. Mary has also begun dressing more provocatively and flirting more with guys and young man. I do not usually make comments about her clothing, but always make sure her clothing choices are school-appropriate. Mary got drunk after a party one night. I forbid Mary from being around friends that have a bad influence on her. Mary was also in a minor car accident. Because Mary is a new driver, I didn’t push her to pay for any car damage or insurance deductible. I do not punish or scold Mary when she comes late. I usually accept excuses. However, I always remind her what behavior is expected of her, so she can be held accountable.
1) What activities and experiences at ages 12 and 14 has your teen been involved in that might promote healthy behavioral practices, physical fitness and skill in sports?
Mary is involved in activities like hanging out with friends after school and play sports. I do help with transportation. After two years in a volleyball team, Mary didn’t make it to the high school volleyball team. I encouraged her to explore other sports, that might interest her. Mary likes hanging out with her friends, is very socially involved in various school clubs. Mary also plays tennis with her aunt. She spends time during the summer playing and going to outings with her friends. Mary is also respectful. She demonstrated a very good behavior when a friend with different political and religious views had expressed different opinions.
2) Have there been any changes in your teen’s behavior toward you or your partner? Why are these occurring and how are you responding?
At 12, Mary was unsure and much more dependent on my partner and I. At 14, she blamed herself that my partner and I got separated. Mary’s relationship with my partner and I was more stable, now she is arguing more with both of us. I think family role, responsibilities and income have changed after my ex-partner and I got separated. Mary is experiencing stress at this point, and probably has anger towards my ex-partner and I. Still, I do respond positively to Mary. She tends to lock herself in her room for hours, and I am always inquiring if she wants to talk or if anything is disturbing her.
3) Do you see any examples of how cognitive and physical changes in early adolescence (ages 12-14) relate to your teen’s social or emotional behavior?
There are definitely changes that relate to Mary’s social and emotional behavior. Like when Mary began gaining weight in her hips because of puberty, she refused wearing certain kind of clothing that she thought that would make her look fat. Her physical changes made her feel emotionally insecure about her looks. She has a sense of imaginary audience, a feeling that everyone’s attention is on her, and she is sensitive about criticism and is extremely self-conscious. As Mary grew, she learned to respect the rights and possessions of others, and demonstrates kind behavior to others. I think her cognitive development helped her to listen to the argument of the friend that didn’t have opinions about politics and religion that were similar to Mary’s opinions.
1) Describe any physical or behavioral signs of incipient puberty.
Mary body started changing because of puberty. She has begun gaining weight in her hips. She also has started to show interested in opposite sex, whether it is class mate or a movie star.
2) How would you characterize your child at this point in terms of the under-controlled, over-controlled or resilient categories? Have there been any changes since the preschool period and why might they have occurred?
Mary is still resilient as she was during her preschool years. Mary is far less aggressive than she was during her preschool period, and she is very cooperative. Mary is able to focus on tasks very well. Her teacher reported that she sometimes gets frustrated over challenging tasks, but is able to refocus and handle the challenge attentively. I believe as Mary develops cognitively and emotionally, she understands better what is expected of her as a young girl. She now understands what kind of behavior is feminine.
3) Using the 7th grade report card and your own observations, summarize your child’s academic skills at this point. What specific activities might promote some of these skills?
Mary got B’s in English, Spanish and Social Sciences, and teachers said that Mary could improve her grade by studying more according by her teachers. She got A’s in math and sciences, as well as in art. Mary is gifted in math and really talented in science. Her art teacher also mentioned that art is an area of strength for Mary. I believe Mary does a lot of reading. She even recently got interested in reading magazines, that I regularly print out articles that I think will interest her. I also spend after school time working with Mary to get her interested and involved in social studies. We also talk about morals, sexuality, which also will help Mary to understand the world around her and better her academic skills. I believe this will help Mary to get better at languages and social sciences.
1) Describe your child’s academic skills between ages 6 and 10 and assess how well these skills are developing. The 5th grade report card will be useful for this but you should also incorporate your own observations. What are you doing to help your child?
Mary’s math skills have remained good. She does math problems easily, and currently takes the 6th grade highest level math class offered at her school. Mary is still very interested in science, and she head to a science camp where she’s going to study about ecology, zoology, botany, geology and other branches of science. Because Mary enjoys science so much, I encouraged her to save some money for home chemistry set. That way she can further develop her interests, and become more knowledgeable. Every time when Mary seems to express any interest in a particular area of study, I always look to facilitate things that will develop it. For example, I took Mary to planetarium after she expressed interest in astronomy. She recently seems to be very interested in art, so I provided her with materials and a mini studio where she can develop her talents. Mary interest in drawing and constructing has grown so much, that the art teacher has even suggested Mary to prepare some art work for the upcoming art fair! Mary is still playing volleyball, but hasn’t yet reached her ambition of being a star player. Her volleyball skills have remained the same. But I do encourage her to explore other sport, too, because it will help her to promote good health and learn to be part of a team. Mary always seems to have a book around that she enjoys. She really likes reading. According to the psychologist’s report, Mary “demonstrates strength” in the areas of speaking and listening, reading and spelling and in the areas of mathematical problem solving. Mary got “appropriate grade level” in the area of music.
2) How well is your child adapting to social situations in the home and outside the home? Does your child have any behavior or emotional problems at this point? Why do you think these problems are occurring and what are you doing about them?
Mary’s adapting really well. Sometimes when my partner and I argue about some decisions of having fun and spending money, one of us always needs to leave, and come back when everything is calm. After this event, Mary ends up receiving less affection and attention. Mary and Marina sometimes quarrel which oftentimes develops into a huge fight, when screaming, hitting, pushing one another is involved. I try to calm children down by putting them in separate rooms, and allow them continuing their play if they agree to play calmly. Sibling rivalry is definitely present here. I also believe that they just want things their way, and also I believe they assume autonomy when they make sure things go the way they want. Other reason might be parents’ attention. Outside the home environment, Mary gets along with others really well. She is a popular girl. She is very socially involved and likes participating in various after-school activities.
3) Has your parenting changed since the preschool period and if so, why do you think it has changed and what effect might this have on your child? Refer to your textbook or lecture notes for evidence on typical changes in parenting that occur in middle childhood.
I believe my parenting style has remained consistent. This doesn’t mean I haven’t made necessary adjustment in my parenting style when Mary needed attention and help. Like when Mary was having a difficult time sitting still at restaurants, I found it necessary to remind her multiple times what is expected of her. Also, Mary is doing really well with her schedule, so I let her to organize her time for the most part as she gets older, at the same time keeping eye on what has to be done to address her needs. Volleyball is the only area in Mary’s life at this point that is not as good as she would desire. I do encourage Mary to explore other sports, thinking that she may do better at others. Thus, I have supported Mary, so she can be in a field, where she feels more confident about her skills. This would be an example of supporting industry(In Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory) when is enough support, encouragement is give to a child, so the child can feel competent.
1) How smart is your child, and in what areas? Think back to the blurb on multiple intelligences that appeared at age 6. Find specific evidence regarding your child’s verbal, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical and bodily-kinesthetic intelligence from your observations of your own child as well as the psychologist’s report at age 8 years, 11 months.
According to the psychologist, Mary is especially good in 3 areas. Mary’s results for verbal tests were all above average. For math concepts and math application problems, Mary’s results were in gifted range. Scores on tests of visual-spatial ability were all above average. Based on my own observations of Mary’s intelligence, I have gathered the following information: Mary is very social, and has a very pronounced interpersonal ability. She is a popular kid at school, she loves interacting, playing and being with others. I would agree with the psychologist’s report that Mary is very gifted at math, and that her visual-spatial and verbal abilities are above average. For visual-spatial, Mary loves drawing and designing things of her interest like planes and houses. She also loves working with clay, building models with her hands, interconnecting blocks and papier mache. For verbal, she enjoys reading books, her sentences are coherent and her vocabulary is expanding. For math, she’s doing really well. She does problems above her grade level, and math concepts come to her really easily.
2) Describe some examples of your child’s behavior or thinking that you think are due to typical American gender role socialization and explain why you think so. Several examples can be found at ages 6 and 8. How closely does your attitude toward gender roles correspond to typical American attitudes, and if there is a discrepancy, to what do you attribute this (e.g., cultural background, attitudes of your own parents, etc.)?
When Mary was younger, I always encouraged her to be involved in things without thinking what is “gender appropriate”. American attitudes towards gender role socialization may not be very accurate. Most people think that if a boy/girl is too feminine/masculine, then he/she can turn out to be gay/lesbian later in life. There should be certain limitations, but I think for the most part it is fine to let the child have certain preferences. I was very girly growing up, and I had very different little friends. I was friends with boys and girls. My family never pushed me towards anything, so I was very open in developing relationships with boys and girls. I think this is healthy. I believe if there are strict constraints for a girl or a boy in interaction with the opposite sex, they may have difficulties having relationship when they move into adulthood.
3) How might your child’s development have been different if s/he was raised by people with a different socioeconomic, ethnic or cultural background? Base your answer on specific evidence of SES/cultural differences from the textbook and class lectures.
I believe different factors of life would influence Mary’s growth differently. For example, it is known that children in the United States are more securely attached to their parents than those in Germany and Japan. If Mary was raised in some poor nation, she may have not had the proper nourishment to develop normally. Depending of the socioeconomic status of parents, Mary might have not been able to have a good education, be involved in after school activities, or benefit from opportunities such as playing violin or participating in volleyball. I believe the culture of the society (values, ethics, etc) would greatly influence Mary, as well. If she was born in culture where little kids look after cattle, or spend most of their time doing general labor, it’s hard to imagine that child having any educational aspirations.
1) How well is your child adapting to social situations in the home and outside the home? Does your child have any behavior or emotional problems at this point? Why do you think these problems are occurring and what are you doing about them?
Mary is adapting really well in the home and outside the home. She has learned doing little house chores. She also interacts well with her peers, and has become one of the most popular kids, and other children like having her around at the parties, and seem to greatly enjoy her.
Mary cheats at games and seems to get emotionally upset when mom and dad argue. I believe Mary cheats at games, because the sense of morality, what is right or wrong is not yet developed in her, and she doesn’t recognize why things should be done in certain way. I believe encouraging and insisting to follow rules, and explaining why we follow rules will help Mary to strengthen the sense of morality. Since Mary is sensible, mom and dad may prevent Mary from getting emotionally upset by not arguing, or being more loving and understand towards one another.
2) Do you notice any improvements in cognitive and language skills since age 4? Give specific examples. Does your child have any special needs with regard to cognitive or language development at this point and what do you plan to do?
Mary’s cognitive and language skills have advanced so much, that she is reading first and second grade books! She also “demonstrates strength” in almost all areas on her first grade report card. As well as, “developmentally appropriate” in the areas of speaking and listening and in content knowledge of social studies and science. Her communication skills have bettered, as well. She forms grammatically correct sentences. Her vocabulary is much broad and is continuously expanding.
3) Which aspects of your child’s behavior and personality reflect continuities from earlier behavior (e.g., at ages 3-4 years) and which seem to be novel for this age level?
Mary is as gregarious as she was 2-3 years ago. She is very social, friendly and engaging. Her easy temperament hasn’t changed. She is still quite compliant. Her skills of controlling her emotions remained consistent, as well. New things in her behavior are cheating at games. Mary got serious one day and told her mom that she is about as “nice” as other parents, but has more rules. The latter mentioned example was a new thing I had never seen in Mary’s behavior.
1) How would you characterize your parenting style? How have your specific parenting techniques changed since infancy? In what ways do you think your parenting style, or any other aspect of your parenting, has been influenced by your cultural background or other experiences?
My parenting style has remained authoritative. My parenting techniques changes, as Mary’s needs varied with every age. I tried to be understanding about her moods, sensitivity, her abilities, and do my best to let her have her own preferences without getting into trouble or danger. I lived with my parents, grandparents, my brother and aunt growing up. So, there were a lot of expectations from adults. The rigid ones primarily coming from my parents. I do not want Mary to be in the environment that just has expectations. I believe it is so important for a child to have preferences and choices, and have some independence. I am coming from a culture, where people are very family-oriented. I want Mary to interact with people outside of her family. Family is important, but I want her to be able to relate with others, and not be concentrated just on family. That’s why I always encourage her to be social and friendly.
2) Describe two specific examples of changes in your child’s behavior at age 4 that seem to stem from growth in cognitive and language ability since the period of infancy (e.g., improvements in symbolic thinking, reasoning, knowledge of the world, theory of mind).
The first example would Mary’s behavior at public places. When Mary was younger, she was not able to sit still or stay quiet while in a restaurant. Now, she has learned what behavior is expected of her. Now that her cognitive abilities are more advanced, she understands rules and the behavior she is expected to have. Mary is more in control of herself as she now knows how to behave appropriately. There is an improvement in her mathematical reasoning. She understands that numbers 2 and 3 can form 23. She can also recognize letters.
3) How would you characterize your child’s personality? Would you say that your child is primarily overcontrolled, undercontrolled or resilient? Support your argument.
Although Mary has demonstrated some aggressive/uncooperative behavior, her personality type is mostly resilient. She is able to focus on tasks without being distracted. She is friendly, and displays mostly positive emotions. She is adaptable to new situations, and she gets along well with her peers at preschool.
1) What activities and experiences you and your child have engaged in might be promoting healthy behavioral practices and an interest in physical activity?
Mary plays catch, she also shoots the mini-basketballs and kicks mini-soccer ball. Mary seems to get tired after a short while, but I do not push her into playing longer if she doesn’t desire. I think it would be a good idea to join Mary when she demonstrates interest in physical activity and further encourage her in this direction if she seems to have enthusiasm.
2) Describe development of your child’s language and cognitive skills and discuss how these might be affecting his or her interactions with you & your responses.
Mary is now able to form complete sentences and communicates fairy well, but sometimes makes cute little grammatical errors. I read books to hear, trying to expose her to language as much as possible. She is always curious about things around her, like when she sees an unusual tree, animal, leaf or ant trail, she is so eager to learn more about them. I am always ready to ask questions and do my best to answer Mary’s questions to satisfy her curiosity. Language definitely helps to communicate much better. Mary is able to express herself, her needs, ideas and thoughts clearly and directly. She is able to make herself understood when she is frustrated. Language also allows her to ask questions whenever she wants to learn more. Like, one we went to a park, and Mary was so curious about her surroundings, that Mary’s developing language skills made her express her curiosity and engage in conversation.
3) How well is your child adapting to social situations in the home and outside the home? Does your child have any behavior or emotional problems at this point? Why do you think these problems are occurring and what are you doing about them?
Mary is reasonably cooperative at both home and preschool. She is rarely aggressive. However, Mary has become less compliant, and has become more aggressive at school. I believe that at this age Mary tests her mom’s boundaries, she’s also claiming her autonomy by sometimes not complying. Aggression helps Mary to get what she wants (ex. Not share toys, grab others’ possessions, etc). Because Mary so enjoys playing with other kids, I organized little play sessions with kids she seems to enjoy, so she will be able to relate to others better. I also repeat the request in a firm tone when Mary doesn’t seem to comply. She also has difficulty at sitting still at restaurants. I tell her what kind of behavior is expected of her and give little reminders during the meal.
1) Have there been any environmental events in your child’s first 2 1/2 years that you think might have influenced his or her behavior? On what do you base your hypotheses?
Mary went off a curb in the park while riding her tricycle. Though, before the accident she wholly enjoyed riding the tricycle, she completely avoided it after the accident. So, this environmental event (accident) had caused her not to ride the tricycle (change her behavior). Also, Mary was scratched by the cat the neighbor’s house, and she did not want to visit them anymore, even though the neighbor was very kind to her.
2) How is your child progressing on typical toddler issues, such as learning household rules, learning to follow routines, listening to you, developing self control and learning to get along with other children?
While playing with a group of children, Mary was hesitant at first, but she spent a few minutes watching other kids play before she joined in. She was not aggressive, but sometimes would say “Mine!” when other kids wanted to play with her toy. But Mary gradually learns to better get along with other children by smiling at them and giving up the toy. Mary has learned basic things like putting on her slippers. Mary is also toilet-trained now. Mary is adapting normally to new routines, but sometimes seems to have difficulty cooperating with her new day care provider, as she cries and get clingy.
3) Analyze your own parenting philosophy and practices. What principles from social learning theory, Bowlby, Ainsworth, Piaget, Vygotsky, information processing theory, developmental neuroscience and other theories do you appear to have relied on in making your parenting choices or interpreting your child’s behavior? Include three principles/theorists from the above list in your answer.
Vygotsky’s theory applies to my practices in a way that I allow Mary to interact with different people, as she is very social and she desires to be with people. This stems from the fact that I allow and encourage every chance she has to interact with others as she so desires. I think the opportunity of interaction and being social, combined with her own temperament influence greatly how easily and smoothly Mary is able to grow socially. The application of social learning theory is noticed when I join Mary when she is playing with puzzle, to show how to get pieces together. For information processing, Mary is able to recall and give simple descriptions of her experiences at the zoo. The fact that mom and dad spend quality time playing with Mary, and take her to various activities, positively impacts Mary’s ability to recall and share descriptive details about those experiences, and develop the ability to get better at things like putting puzzle pieces together.