There are seven basic questions about child development. These questions, also referred to as Enduring Themes, are examined using such things as theories, concepts, research methods, and data. The first of seven is the Nature vs Nurture debate. How do nature and nurture interact to shape the developmental process? (p. 11) Next, The Active Child, how do children shape their own development? A third question: in what ways is development continuous, and what ways is it discontinuous? Mechanisms of Developmental change is the question asking how changes occur.
The socioculture context is examined on how it influences development, as well as, individual differences. The remaining fundamental theme/question is how research promotes children’s well-being. Nature and nurture both play crucial roles in the development of children. Nature is “our biological endowment; the genes we receive from our parents. ” (p. 11) For example, our physical appearance, personality, intellectual ability, and mental health are all uncontrollable traits of our genetic make-up.
Nurture is “the environments, both physical and social, that influence our development”. (p. 11) Examples of nurture include the womb, homes we grow up in, schools we attend, our community, and the many people with whom we interact. (p. 12) Development requires both nature and nurture. Obviously, nature is automatic but not lessening its importance. Nurture plays a substantial role in who we are as an adult. Every choice we make as adults somehow relates to something in the nurtured part of our lives. How children shape their own development is known as The Active Child.
During infancy and early childhood children shaping their own development can be seen in a multitude of ways. For example, attentional patterns, language use, and play are all crucial in development. What ways is development continuous, and in what ways is it discontinuous (continuity/discontinuity). Some consider children’s development as continuous, small changes that occur over time. Where as others believe development to be discontinuous, changes that happen all of the sudden. The changes that occur during development pose the question, “How does change occur? ”.
Mechanisms of Developmental Change asks what are the mechanisms that produce the remarkable changes that children undergo with age and experience. The sociocultural context also plays a role in development. The physical, social, economic, and historical circumstances that make up any child’s environment is what the sociocultural contexts studies. Individual differences are also considered in child development. Researchers study how children become so different from one another. Research itself is an important part of development. Research and children’s welfare questions how research promotes children’s well-being.