Developmental Psychology: Characteristics, Objectives and Principles of Psychological Development

Developmental psychology is defined as a study of human growth during its various stages of development, beginning with childhood, adolescence, and youth, and ending with aging.
The field of developmental psychology was originally concerned with infants, children, and adolescence and then expanded to youth, adult development, aging, and the entire lifespan.
developmental psychology
Developmental psychology is a scientific study of why and how people change throughout their lives. 

Developmental Psychology - Characteristics, Objectives and Principles of Psychological Development

Psychology as a Science

To define developmental psychology, the concept of psychology must first be clarified.

There are many definitions of psychology that can be defined as:
The application of a set of procedures, methods with scientific and experimental foundations aimed at controlling human behavior, in addition, to accurately predicting future behavior patterns.

Psychology is divided into several applied and theoretical branches. Among these branches, there is an applied science to study the developmental aspects of different living organisms, including humans.
This science is known as developmental psychology.

What is Developmental Psychology?

Developmental psychology is defined as a study of human growth during its various stages of development, beginning with childhood, adolescence, and youth, and ending with aging. 

Developmental psychology is a scientific study of why and how people change throughout their lives. 

Developmental psychology can be defined as the scientific study of the stages of growth from childhood to adulthood, and study the manifestations, and characteristics of each of these stages: mental, physical, emotional, social or cognitive stages.

Developmental psychology is also a science that represents a study based on the scientific foundations of the stages of growth and tries to explain the origin, nature of development, and results, and what disrupts the path.

Developmental psychology is also a branch of general psychology, which examines the variables that occur during different stages of growth in terms of behavioral and psychological, as well as the physical and emotional characteristics of each stage.

Why is it Important to Study Developmental Psychology?

The importance of studying developmental psychology in the following areas:

Theoretical study:
The study of developmental psychology enables us to know human nature and its relation to the environment in which he lives.
It also contributes to the knowledge of the criteria of growth in all its manifestations, such as the criteria of mental, physical, social and emotional development.
The stages of developmental psychology include pre-birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and eventually aging.

Empirical study:
It is possible to develop the ability to direct individuals at different stages of growth.
It also enables the possibility of measuring various aspects of growth according to scientific standards and helps to correct the abnormalities in growth, whether educational or psychological.

For psychologists:
Psychologists can achieve the fruits of their efforts to assist individuals in various stages of development, especially in the areas of counseling, therapeutic psychology, psychological assessment, vocational training, and education.

For educators:
Through the study of developmental psychology, educators can learn the psychological and educational characteristics of individuals at different stages of development.
They can also identify the factors affecting their growth, the ways in which their behavior can be modified, the methods in which they should be taught, and the issues that require preparation in the educational process, in addition, to enable the teacher to know the individual differences among students.

For parents: 
The study of developmental psychology helps parents to know the characteristics of their children, understand each stage of their growth, the conditions they live during these stages, their treatment on the basis of data, the requirements of the stage they live, as well as the opportunity to learn the individual differences in the growth rates of their children.

For the community:
 The knowledge of community members about psychological development helps to determine the best genetic conditions and correspond to each stage of growth, and helps to solve the social problems related to the individual personality, in terms of growth, composition, determinants, and prevention, such as problems of sexual deviation, school delays, mental impairment, and ward.

The study of developmental psychology also helps individuals to adjust their behavior to reach the highest level of educational, psychological, professional and social compatibility, as well as to enable accurate forecasting of events in the future.

For individuals:
The understanding of parents and teachers of the same growth is reflected in the future of individuals; guiding individuals on a scientific basis to achieve good performance and their prosperous future from childhood to adulthood.
It also enables individuals to understand events according to their level of development, abilities and the nature of the stage they live in.
The individual should live every stage of his development in the best possible manner.

Current Trends in Developmental Psychology

Since the beginning of the growth, developmental psychology has progressed in four main trends:

Descriptive or normative trend: This aspect emphasizes that growth comes from within the child and it appears sequentially in stages of growth that can be described in detail.

Behavioral or environmental trend: This aspect emphasizes the pattern of behavior observed on a child and the extent to which skills, experiences, and environmental conditions affect the child's acquisition of behaviors.

Emerging field service trend: It is the aspect that looks at the state of the emergence of the child and its relationship with the dynamic forces of the surrounding environment.

Analytical or psychological trend: This aspect has developed a new concept of personality based on unconscious stimuli.

Characteristics of Human Growth

 The process of human growth is classified by a set of characteristics, the most important of which are:

 Growth is a differentiated process: This means that what people do naturally or moderately or what they are actually doing turns in this situation into what needs to be done.

Growth is a regular process: growth changes occur on a regular basis. Growth is an individual process; it means that everyone grows in his own way.

Growth is a holistic process: the relationships between different aspects and the stages of growth go in one direction; for development or demolition.

Growth is a continuous process: The changes may take place in different aspects of the individual (mental, organic) cannot stop throughout his life.

Growth is a changing process: growth is essentially a set of changes, including changes in human body structure, and the functions of its members.
These changes are called maturation, changes occur due to experience, and surrounding environmental conditions, (Learning).
There are non-developmental changes that do not require development or revolution.

The theory of developmental psychology is the scientific tool on which developmental psychology depends; the application of the psychological curriculum to individuals in their environment.

The theory is based on explaining and clarifying scientific terms related to developmental psychology and studying personal, psychological growth. 

Most psychologists use developmental psychology to classify individuals into categories, depending on many social and behavioral conditions, to make it easier for them to study and identify individual personalities.

Goals and Objectives of Developmental Psychology

The knowledge of the nature of the human psyche and the nature of the stages in order to expand the knowledge of parents, teachers,  psychologists, and social workers, and thus interact with children, adolescents and the elderly to establish the correct understanding of the nature of their growth and characteristics.

Access to full knowledge regarding the nature of individuals and their components, the influence of genetics and the environment in shaping the wishes, reasons and patterns of behavior of that individual, in addition to other factors that contribute to the formation of personality and modification, and thus access to a true understanding of the nature of growth.

Explanation of the behavior in all its different dimensions and forms, and identification of the factors that affect it in a negative or positive way, identifying the best methods of socialization and governance of behavior and controlling the changes in a manner that achieve the happiness of the person and the safety of his surroundings.

The knowledge of growth laws that control the nature and speed of growth, and the relationship of growth in other aspects of life in a way that leads to the understanding of children and the mechanism of dealing with them during different stages of their ages, and thus preparing them through the proper development of the next stages.

Identification of the individual differences among the members of society and the differences between the sexes in the field of psychological growth.

The formulation of educational objectives to build a clear and comprehensive approach to the demands of growth, the choice of curricula and the design of methods and mechanisms of teaching and learning experiences that will enable the teacher to meet and meet all the demands of growth during each stage of education.

A successful teacher is a person who is aware of and understands the characteristics of his students and the characteristics of the subject he is studying.

Developmental and educational curricula to meet the demands of growth on an ongoing basis, adapting to the changes of the present age, and providing individuals with the motivations that encourage them to look to the future through continuous education that makes them live harmoniously with the rhythm of the age.

Principles of Developmental Psychology

Continuation and Sequence: This principle refers to the direction of the growth process in a continuous and gradual manner towards a specific goal and specific maturity.

Although the growth process is a continuous and related process in terms of structural and functional aspects, the connected loop goes through several stages, each stage has certain properties and attributes.

Integration: Opinions differ on how the stages begin and end, and the difference is not only the interests and perspectives but the dynamics of growth; the behavior of the growth process.

Differentiation rate of growth: This principle reveals the existence of a significant difference between the rate of physical and motor growth over different stages of age, in addition to a difference between a set of physical and motor components in terms of rate of growth.

Growth trend: Growth starts sequentially from the functional formative stage, depending on two directions:

The longitudinal direction of growth: It includes the upper parts of the human body, preceded by the growth of the lower parts of it.

The horizontal direction of growth: It refers to the growth parts of the vertical axis towards the outer edges.

Individual Differences: The differences are that each individual has a unique, personal, and potential path of growth.
This is very natural because the growth process affects the individual that is related to both genetics and the environment in which he lives.

The transition from the public to private (vice versa): The path moves from year to year, from overall growth to detailed growth, from indeterminate to specific.

It is worth noting that motor growth does not stop at specialized or partial responses by general or non-privileged behavior.

The laws of developmental psychology are the paths and developmental aspects that a person undergoes during his lifetime.
These laws are general because of the inclusion of all people without exception.

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