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There have been different forums to discuss when life begins and when it ends, in some quarters it has been argued that life begins and conception whereas in some quarters it is believed that life begins at birth. Despite all the arguments and debates on when life begins, early childhood development and parenting is one stage that most parents’ especially first time parents dread because they don’t know what to do at what time. Most of them always try to raise their babies the way they were raised whereas some opt to raise their kids using a different style with a hope they will be better than them. As for the “seasoned” parents they tend to stick to one parenting style to ensure there is uniformity in the family. There are also some theories that have been explained to help us understand as to why children grow up and behave in a certain way.

Purpose of the Paper

The purpose of this coursework assignment is to answer three questions that are related to parenting, information process and the different theories that are related to early childhood development. The coursework paper will identify and describe the different parenting styles that are used in the parenting process. It will also discuss the differences between these different parenting styles. The paper will also focus on the Gender – schema and Social Cognitive Theories. It will discuss how these theories affect the child development process and finally the paper will look at how children in early childhood process information and how this should affect their education. In support of the answers that would have been given in the paper, relevant examples will be used both academic sources and internet based sources. In conclusion, the paper will give a brief summary of the important points that would have been discussed in the course of study.

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Question One – Parenting Styles

There are four main parenting styles, however according to Baumrind there are four parenting dimensions that are equally important and they are, the different discipline strategies to be used by the parents, the communication style to be adapted, the parental expectations in terms of maturity and finally love and affection (Baumrind, 1967). The four main parenting styles are, authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and uninvolved parenting (Baumrind, 1991). The first is the authoritarian parenting. This parenting style can also be described as “dictatorship parenting”. The reason being children are required to strictly follow the rules laid down by the parent or the guardian and disobedience of any of the rules leads to harsh disciplinary action taken against them. The parents’ word is final and children have no right to comment on anything (Baumrind, 1991). Authoritative parenting, there are some similarities between the authoritarian and authoritative parenting style in that rules must be adhered to however in the authoritative parenting style, there is room for democracy whereby children are allowed to give their views and opinions and parents listen to them (Baumrind, 1991).

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The third style is permissive parenting. Permissive parents do not dictate to their children what to do rather they listen to their children demands and requests and respond them accordingly. In most situations they act as their children’s “peers”, this makes the children feel more appreciated and loved (Baumrind, 1991). The last style is the uninvolved parenting. This are laid back parents. There is no visible child – parent bond but at the same time the parent(s) also ensures that the children have all the basic needs and other amenities they might require (Baumrind, 1991). Having looked at the four parenting styles and their differences it is important that whatever style parents choose should be one that they are comfortable with to ensure that the child grows into a responsible adult.

Question Two – Gender Information

There are different theories that explain why children develop some characters and behaviors as they grow. According to Bandura, Socio Cognitive theory states that a child’s behavior as he/she grows greatly depends on the social environment in which they are raised in (Bandura, 1986).  The importance of this is that, the child will observe the behavior of his/her family members, friend and neighbors and as a result the child will most likely adapt to the same behavior. It is therefore important that the social environment (neighborhood) that the child will be raised in should be one that has people with positive virtues and this will ensure that the kid develops into a mature and responsible adult.

In human development process, understanding one’s sexual orientation is very important and this is where the Gender Schema theory comes into practice. Bern has observed that Gender Schema theory helps children as they grow to understand which attributes and dimensions are related to their sexual orientation and how they are supposed to deal with the situation (Bern, 1972). In addition to that, the Gender-Schema theory covers two main areas; schema-consistent judgment and schema-inconsistent judgment. This theory is most important during the middle child development stage when the children are approaching puberty and adolescence stages, the reason for this being during this period, most young people are experimental with their sexuality and sexual orientation and if they are not counseled and advised they may make wrong moves.

For those who children who may not be sure about their sexual orientation, then they should be made aware of what it involves, it is therefore important that parents, counselors and guardians should merge the Gender Schema and Socio Cognitive theories to ensure that they (children) are guided in the best way possible as they grow.

Question Three – Information Processing

In child development process, the information that the child is “fed” with will in most cases affect his/her intellectual capabilities. For instance in African traditional society if parents communicate in vernacular language, the child will take on the same behavior. According to the US Department of Development there are two main categories of child intellectual development; early childhood which is between birth and eight years and middle childhood development between the ages of eight and sixteen years (US Department of Development, 1998). The main focus will however be on the first stage which is from birth to eight years.

According to Richford, the first stage of child intellectual development is categorized in six different sub stages; the reason for this is that at each stage children learn new things that contribute to their intellectual empowerment (Richford, 2010). The first stage is between birth or infancy and the third month, at this stage the toddler communicates through cries to express what they feel or what. Between three and twelve months, the children respond to vocal sounds, their names and have an understanding of yes or no phrases (Richford, 2010). It is however between twelve months and eighteen months that the children’s intellectual senses begin to develop and it important for parents and guardians to choose wisely the phrases that are used to communicate. The stage between eighteen and fourteen months, the toddler can put together a couple of vocabularies to express themselves either if they are hungry, happy or if they need anything. The last two stages between three and five years and five and eight years have developed full vocabulary control and most of which will have been “borrowed” from what the parents and the guardians communicated with him (Richford, 2010) and this directly affect them in their education especially when it comes to communication. It is therefore important for the parents to choose wisely the mode of communication that they use as they rise their children.

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Summation of the Paper

Understanding child development and parenting is one of the most difficult stages that parents go through, however with relevant guidance they (parents) should have an easy time. This course work paper has extensively covered different areas that are related to child development. In the first question, the paper has focused on the different styles of parenting and their differences. The style that the parent chooses will definitely affect the child future behavior, it is therefore important for the parents to choose wisely.

In the second question, the coursework paper has discussed two different theories and how they affect the child growth and development. It has looked at the Socio Cognitive and the Gender Schema theories. Finally the paper has closed by discussing information processing in children and how it affects their education. The paper has given an example of a situation in Africa where parent communicate in vernacular and how it will affect the children as they grow and in their education. The different stages of intellectual development from birth to eight years have also been discussed in the paper.

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