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4 Approaches To Child Psychology That Can Help A Child

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Child Psychology is one of the foundational aspects of the discipline of psychology. This is due to the kind of influence childhood has in shaping us as adults. Some of the ground-breaking theories in this regard are as follows:

differently abled children
Representational image

Attachment Theory

Working in a child guidance clinic in London in 1930s, John Bowlby observed that the earliest bonds formed by children with their primary caregivers had an impact on their psyche as adults. They’re formed between the ages of 2 months-2 years.

Caregivers provide their young ones not only with nourishment but also with a sense of security and survival. Needless to say, they feel a sense of uneasiness when separated from their primary caregivers, given how that sense of comfort goes missing in such a scenario.

Studies show that failure to form attachments at this age leads to a negative impact on an individual’s psychology later in life besides causing potential harm to them even as children. In fact, children diagnosed with the oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD) or PTSD frequently display attachment issues.

A safe and secure childhood allows adults to have high self-esteem, healthy romantic relationships and be more expressive about their feelings.

Sociocultural Theory

The Russian psychologist, Lev Semenovich, developed the sociocultural theory in the early 20th century. His primary assertion was that children learn more effectively from association with the society, and their cognitive development can be advanced through interactions with more skilled individuals.

He came up with the idea of Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) which distinguishes activities that children can perform without assistance from those wherein they need assistance. Children who are in ZPD can almost perform that task independently. However, with the guidance of a skilled instructor, they can complete the task.

By understanding this pattern, educators can develop plans to teach skills most effectively and gradually releasing responsibility to the students to perform tasks independently. This process is referred to as scaffolding. Here, an adult helps the child move from an inability to perform a task of being able to do so through guidance, interaction and
questions.

Social Learning Theory

Psychologist Albert Bandura came up with the social learning theory. He devised four requirements of learning which are observation, retention, reproduction and motivation. At the same time, learning is also based on responses to environmental stimuli. He firmly believed that children observed the actions of the people around them. This was illustrated in
his famous bobo doll experiment. In this experiment, children who had observed violent behaviour towards dolls happened to imitate it. The opposite was the case with children observing non-violent behaviour.

Erick Erickson’s Theory Of Development

In his development theory, Erick Erickson explained that every person experiences psychosocial crises in each stage of life, which can either negatively or positively influence a person’s personality. According to this theory, a person needs to complete each stage with proficient accomplishment to acquire good virtues, failing which they’re wont to develop unwanted traits. The four stages pertaining to pre-adolescence stage are discussed here:

1. Trust vs Mistrust

This stage occurs during the first year. The child expects constant care, comfort and security. A reliable and consistent caregiver will lead the kid to develop the virtue of hope. Otherwise, a sense of fear and mistrust develops.

2. Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt

This stage occurs between the ages of 18 months-3 years. Here, the child enters the stage of autonomy for the first time as she learns how to play with toys, ride a bicycle et al. Parents need to encourage the child to become more independent while at the same time protecting him from avoiding constant failure. Success in the stage will lead to the virtue of the will, while failure leads to a sense of doubt.

3. Initiative vs Guilt

The central feature involves regular social interaction of a child with new people in school. At this stage, if the parents treat the child’s curiosity as a nuisance, then the child may end up feeling guilt and be afraid to take initiatives. This might inhibit her creativity. However, some guilt is necessary to exercise self-control. A healthy balance between guilt and initiative inculcate the virtue of purpose in the child.

4. Industry vs Inferiority

This stage occurs between the ages of 5 to 12. At this age, the influence of the society and peer group rises extensively. The child feels a need to win approval by demonstrating his competencies. A child who is lacking encouragement from his parents during this age will probably begin doubting his abilities and feel inferior. Success will lead to the virtue of competence.

Although these theories may still be relevant today and age, it is also important not to govern our perception and be entirely influenced by these great ideas. These are the only ways to understand how child psychology can be looked at. However, it is crucial to work with an approach that is best suited to the child we are working with, based on their unique features, needs, etc.

References:

  • McLeod, S. (2018). Erik Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.htm
  • Cherry, K. (2018). The Story of Bowlby, Ainsworth, and Attachment Theory: The Importance of Early Emotional Bonds. Very Well Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-attachment-theory-2795337
  • Image Source: kisspng-child-development-stages-psychology-development-of-child-5ac4da263b8436.7198528315228503422438
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about the campaign here.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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