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To what extent has children's development been seen as a social process?

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  • Essay length: 2094 words
  • Submitted: 23/08/2011
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University Degree Social Theory

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TMA 1 Option 1

To what extent has children's development been seen as a social process?

The process of children's development changes depending on culture, personal or society's perspectives. This has been a continuous occurrence throughout history. Childhood is a social category and it defines activities they undertake or experiences they have at different times in their lives. Childhood also gives children their role and status within our community. The circumstances in which children grow up, the people they interact with and the beliefs and attitudes of those people can influence the way children develop to a certain degree. Four different lines of argument for children's development: development as control and discipline, development as natural stages, development as experience, and development as interaction can be looked at to conclude whether a child's development is predominantly a natural process of maturation, a result of environmental influences or is it an interaction between the two.

Whether childhood is a recent invention has been a fiercely debated issue through history. Phillipe Ariès was a historian who argued that "children were regarded as miniature adults" (Woodhead, 2005, p.18) up until the end of the fifteenth century in Western Europe.

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