Free Case Study Example on Child Development Theories

Published: 2017-11-20
Free Case Study Example on Child Development Theories
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Personality Child development Case study
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1817 words
16 min read

This case is about a young boy named Kennedy Johnson, or KJ for the purpose of this study. KJ is ten years old Grade IV student with a younger sister and living with his mother while his father works outside the country. A group of sociology and psychology experts observed him in a classroom at Manila Elementary School to determine his physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development for his age.KJ’s father works in the United States while his mother is an everyday housewife in the Philippines, their native country. They live in a village located near the school. His hobbies include internet browsing and sports like basketball, hockey, and martial arts. He also prefers Math, Arts & Music over other subjects., and is fond of thriller and mystery films, and wrestling shows. Socially, dislikes aggressive and chaotic people, and likes to keep to himself most of the time.

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To determine the nature of KJ’s development, the researchers had to evaluate all aspects of child development. Under physical development, the researchers noted that his progress was normal and healthy. He also recorded healthy cognitive growth by being efficient in answering questions, responding to stimuli, and tackling common problems or challenges. He also works well without being easily distracted and asks for help when necessary. However, abnormal results were recorded after assessing his emotional development. He was supposed to be independent, self-determined, competent, and showing initiative but he lacked confidence and always sought reassurance from the parents. His social skills were also not on par with his age and kept mostly to himself. He was insensitive towards other people’s feelings and indicated a low self-esteem.

It could be argued that some of the steps that the boy failed to undergo during his development process may have caused KJ’s lack of confidence in undergoing his daily life activities. In line with the proclamations above, it could also be deduced that the boy relied on the parents for suggestions on different issues of interest to the extent that he was not able to do anything on his own without the parents intervening in one way or another. It is precisely for the reasons mentioned above that the boy found it difficult to partake to different tasks on his own thus leading him to always seek reassurance from the parents. This was a clear indication to the actuality that the boy lost confidence in himself as a result of his increased reliance on his parents. He always thought that whatever activities he was engaged in he was bound to make mistakes without the help of his parents.


His case can be analyzed according to Freud’s psychosexual and Erikson’s psychosocial development theories. According to Freud, KJ positively redirects his sexual energy to sports such as basketball, hockey, and martial arts which are his hobbies. He also does not show Oedipus complex because his father is absent to compete for his affection with his mother. However, he still failed to develop confidence according to Freud’s expectations of children in this age bracket. Similarly, one thing that made KJ to distance himself from other children in his surroundings was the actuality that he did not believe he needed anyone else in his surroundings now that he had various activities in relied on such as basketball and hockey. After all, the boy might have thought to himself that if he was able to go about his daily life activities without his father around for the most parts of his lives then he was able to endure anything in life even if that meant staying without friends. The boy believed that his mother was the only valuable person he could rely on at different points in his life.

Erikson’s theory can be used to analyze his failure to socialize well, become confident, and exhibit self-belief and determination in himself. Being a boy, KJ needs a man in his life to be the father figure and symbol of authority. The father is away leaving his mother to nurture him, and the mother may be overwhelmed because of working and trying to raise two children concurrently. He lacks affection and affirmation from his parent as a form of positive reinforcement to enable him to believe in himself and his abilities. Even though he displays a high cognitive ability, he still struggles to socialize with others. Boys are aggressive, but KJ dislikes this trait in people and ironically loves wrestling. His avoidance can be linked to the fact that he does not feel confident enough to socialize with the rest or does not feel strong enough due to the lack of a male figure in his life to display or release the aggression. He instead chooses to live his aggressive side through watching wrestling. If only KJ could have had his father around to teach him more about life and all that it meant to be a man then KJ could have developed increased confidence in himself and led a self fulfilled kind of lifestyle. Children who were brought up within families in which both parents existed attained great self fulfilment in their life endeavors by being shown the level of compassion they desired in their lives.

Erickson’s stages of development

KJ is also insensitive because he does not know how to socialize with others. Even though he loves sports, he prefers to look at them. This denies him an opportunity to mingle with other children and learn how to socialize with them properly. He may also be ignored at home, thus making him more sensitive to rejection, and interested in only what he desires.

Suggested healing plan

For KJ to develop self confidence, it is important that the boy be sbujected to a number of social places to allow him to have more encounters with other children. By coming into close contact with children from a number of backgrounds KJ would be able to learn and understand the significance of social relationships in the community. As such, even if the boy was never good in speaking infront of a large crowd he would learn to associate with the children he would encountered in the social places he would be allowed to visit.

From Erikson’s theory used to assess KJ, we recommend that children under this stage be efficiently guided and motivated to develop their emotional and social development further. Children below puberty are still delicate and require proper nurturing fro their caregivers (McGoldrick, 2005). The absence of KJ’s father contributes to his low self-esteem because he lacks reassurance and motivation from both parents. Therefore, his father should strive to be more present in his life.

KJ’s mom should also endeavor to be more present in his life instead of focusing on the younger sister alone. She should understand that KJ is still a child who requires full attention instead of viewing him as an adult who can take care of himself despite his age. Even though he is positively reinforced in school by the teachers who encourage his abilities, the parents also play a vital role in reassuring, motivating, and building self-confidence in a child. His incompetence is a result of poor nurturing, an aspect that can be corrected before he advances to other stages in his life. Both parents and teachers should also ensure that he socializes more with others to improve his social skills. At ten years, young boys should be learning how to play and mingle with others without being aggressive. If he fails to develop socializing skills at this age, he will grow up without knowing how to make friends and opt to keep to himself. The parents and teachers should engage him more in activities that involve working in teams or with others. Through this, he will learn how to be mindful of others instead of being insensitive.


This assignment reviewed child development by assessing the existing theories in human growth and how they apply to the process. The complex nature of development and the stages involved has led to the existence of several notions, theories and ideas attempting to expound on the physical, congitive, emotional, and social development factors. The major names in history include Freud, Eriksons, Pavlov, and Skinner among others. Using Sigmund and Erikson’s theories, this paper focuses on a case study of a ten year old who has emotional development issues. The findings of the research confirm that this boy requires more attention and a present father to give him affirmation to enable him to be more confident and believe in his abilities. He is also affected socially thus requiring the same remedy to imrpove his social skills. The society and environment can easily influence children of all stages in which they are nurtured. Both school and home play a significant role in a child’s development. Thus, a safe surrounding will promote the development of a healthy mind and emotions in young ones.


Holistic Assessment

Social cognitive development and related risks

Development level and typical strengths Risks
Subjective-Physical: Thinking in egocentric and impulsive terms; behavior defined in terms of consequences. Problems with behavior control: Impulsivity and attention problems, hyperactivity
Reciprocal-Instrumental: Thinking in individualistic terms; proper behavior defined by what is best for the selfStrengths: Leadership-qualities, power-oriented; boundaried Externalizing problems: Antisocial and aggrexive behavior; violence as revenge; proneness to drug and alcohol experimentation.
Mutual-Overinclusive: Ability to take other people’s perspectives; seeking the approval of others; conformist attitudeStrengths: Sensitive, empathic, prosocial Internalizing problems: Feelings of depression and hopelessness; loneliness and social anxiety.

The arrows in the diagram above show reduced close relations between KJ and other people in his surroundings including his parents as seen from the distance of separation between KJ and his parents and also his friends represented by other people in the society.


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