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Parenting skills through stories and case studies

Children & Adults Development Stages

A. Intellectual Development 

Children's intellectual development follows various stages, and these stages are often associated with specific milestones and characteristics. It's important to note that children develop at their own pace, and individual variations are normal. However, there are general patterns that can be observed in intellectual development. Here are some key stages:

Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, is well-known for his theory of cognitive development, which outlines distinct stages of intellectual development in children. Piaget's theory emphasizes the active role of children in constructing their understanding of the world. Here are Piaget's four main stages of intellectual development:


1. Sensorimotor Stage (Birth to 2 years):


  • Coordination of sensory experiences with motor actions.

  • Development of object permanence (understanding that objects continue to exist even when out of sight).

  • Beginning of intentional actions.

  • Early language development begins.

2. Preoperational Stage (2 to 7 years):


  • Development of symbolic thought and language.

  • Egocentrism (difficulty understanding other perspectives).

  • Magical thinking and fantasy play - Animism (attributing human characteristics to inanimate objects).

  • Lack of understanding of conservation (quantity remains the same despite changes in appearance).

3. Concrete Operational Stage (7 to 11 years):


  • Improved logical thinking, but limited to concrete objects and situations.

  • Mastery of conservation tasks.

  • Understanding of reversibility (objects can be changed and then returned to their original state)

  • Mastery of basic mathematical concepts.

  • Beginning of systematic problem-solving.

  • Development of more organized and rational thought.

4. Formal Operational Stage (11 years and older):


  • Abstract and hypothetical thinking.

  • Systematic problem-solving and logical reasoning.

  • Ability to think about possibilities and engage in deductive reasoning.

  • Metacognition (thinking about one's own thinking).


Additional Considerations:

Piagetian Processes:

Piaget described several processes that underlie intellectual development, including assimilation (interpreting new information based on existing schemes) and accommodation (modifying existing schemes to fit new information).


Stages as Universal Sequences:

Piaget's stages are often seen as a universal sequence, but the timing and pace of progression can vary among individuals.


Criticisms and Revisions:

While Piaget's theory has been influential, it has also faced criticism. Some argue that cognitive development may not be as stage-like as Piaget proposed, and individual differences are significant.


Impact on Education:

Piaget's ideas have had a substantial impact on educational practices, emphasizing the importance of active learning and hands-on experiences for children.

Piaget's theory provides a foundational framework for understanding cognitive development, and his work has influenced both psychology and education. However, it's essential to recognize that individual differences and cultural factors can influence the progression through these stages.

B. Social & Emotional Development 

 B1. Social Developmental stages



Social development involves the gradual acquisition of skills, attitudes, and behaviors that enable individuals to interact effectively with others. While the stages of social development are interconnected and vary among individuals, there are general patterns that can be observed. Here are the social developmental stages across the lifespan:


Infancy (0 to 2 years):

Social Milestones:

Attachment to caregivers is established through bonding and emotional connections.

Beginning of social smiling and social referencing (looking to caregivers for cues).

Joint Attention: Ability to focus on an object or activity with others - Emergence of basic social behaviours like turn-taking during interactions.


Early Childhood (2 to 6 years):

Social Milestones:

Play Development: Engagement in parallel play play (playing alongside but not with others).and later cooperative play.

Friendship Formation: Beginning of social connections with peers.

Sharing and Turn-Taking: Learning to share toys and take turns in activities.

Emotional Expression: Increased ability to express and recognize emotions.


Middle Childhood (6 to 12 years):

Social Milestones:

Friendship Intensity: Formation of more complex and emotionally significant friendships (based on shared interests and activities).

Teamwork: Participation in group activities, sports, and cooperative tasks.

Understanding Social Rules: Development of a deeper understanding of social norms and expectations.

Empathy: Improved ability to understand and share the feelings of others.


Adolescence (12 to 18 years):

Social Milestones:

Identity Formation: Exploration of personal identity and values.

Peer Relationships: Formation of more intimate and emotionally complex peer relationships.

Independence: Increasing independence from family and exploration of autonomy.

Moral Development: Advancement in moral reasoning and ethical decision-making.

Romantic Relationships: Exploration of romantic and dating relationships.



Additional Considerations:

Cultural and Environmental Factors: Social development is influenced by cultural norms, family structures, and socio-economic factors.

Peer Influence: Peers play a crucial role in social development during childhood and adolescence.


Social Skills and Communication: The acquisition of effective communication skills and the ability to navigate social situations become increasingly important.


Social Problem-Solving: Children learn to solve social problems and conflicts, developing conflict resolution skills.


Impact of Technology: Technology, including social media, can influence social development in contemporary society.


Social and Emotional Learning (SEL): In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs in schools. SEL focuses on fostering skills such as self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and relationship-building, aiming to enhance overall social and emotional well-being in children.


Understanding these social developmental stages can help parents, caregivers, and educators support children's social growth and provide appropriate guidance at each phase of development. It's essential to create environments that encourage positive social interactions and help children build healthy relationships with others.



Early Adulthood (18 to 40 years):

Social Milestones:

  • Intimate Relationships: Formation of long-term romantic relationships and marriages.

  • Parenting: Transition into parenthood and the development of parenting skills.

  • Career and Social Roles: Establishment of professional and social roles.

  • Community Involvement: Participation in community activities and social networks.


Middle Adulthood (40 to 65 years):

Social Milestones:

  • Midlife Transitions: Reevaluation of life goals and priorities.

  • Empty Nest Syndrome: Adjustment to children leaving home.

  • Work and Social Contributions: Career advancements and community involvement.

  • Inter-Generational Relationships: Relationships with adult children and aging parents.


Late Adulthood (65 years and older):

Social Milestones:

  • Retirement and Leisure: Adjustment to retirement and engagement in leisure activities.

  • Grandparenting: Roles as grandparents and relationships with grandchildren.

  • Coping with Loss: Coping with the loss of friends, family, and peers.

  • Reflection on Life: Reflection on life achievements and contributions.


Understanding these general social developmental stages can provide insights into the challenges and opportunities individuals face at different points in their lives. It's important to note that individual experiences may vary, and cultural, environmental, and personal factors contribute to the diversity of social development trajectories.

B2. Emotional Development 

B2.1. Emotional Development Stages

Emotional development refers to the gradual acquisition and refinement of emotional skills, understanding, and regulation throughout an individual's life. It involves the ability to recognize, express, and manage one's own emotions, as well as understanding and responding to the emotions of others. Emotional development is a complex process influenced by genetics, environment, and experiences. Here are the key aspects and stages of emotional development:


1. Infancy (0 to 2 years):

Social and Emotional Bonds:

Formation of strong emotional bonds with caregivers.

Development of trust and a sense of security.

Basic Emotions:

Expression of basic emotions such as joy, anger, fear, and surprise.

Gradual differentiation and recognition of different emotional states.


Formation of attachment bonds with primary caregivers.

2. Early Childhood (2 to 6 years):

Emotional Expression:

Increased vocabulary and ability to express a wider range of emotions.

Development of facial expressions and body language to convey emotions.

Empathy and Understanding:

Beginning of empathy and understanding of others' emotions.

Learning to recognize and label emotions in oneself and others.

Regulation Skills:

Developing basic emotional regulation skills.

Experimentation with coping strategies for managing emotions.

3. Middle Childhood (6 to 12 years):

Emotional Competence:

Further development of emotional vocabulary and understanding.

Improved ability to interpret and respond to social cues.

Continued development of empathy and perspective-taking.

Social Relationships:

Formation of more complex friendships and peer relationships.

Exploration of group dynamics and social hierarchies.


Development of a more nuanced self-concept linked to emotional experiences.



4. Adolescence (12 to 18 years):

Identity Exploration:

Exploration and consolidation of personal identity.

Emotional challenges related to self-discovery and identity formation.

Peer Relationships:

Intense emotional experiences within peer relationships.

Development of romantic and intimate relationships.

Emotional Regulation:

Continued refinement of emotional regulation skills.

Coping with stress and pressure related to academic and social demands.

5. Adulthood (18 years and older):

Emotional Resilience:

Development of emotional resilience and coping strategies.

Navigating the complexities of work, relationships, and life events.

Intimacy and Family:

Formation and maintenance of intimate relationships and families.

Coping with the emotional challenges of parenthood.

Reflective Capacity:

Reflecting on one's emotions and life experiences.

Integration of emotional intelligence into decision-making.



Additional Considerations:

Cultural and Individual Differences: Cultural norms and individual experiences influence emotional development.

Trauma and AdversityExperiences of trauma or adversity can impact emotional development.


Mental Health: Emotional well-being is closely connected to mental health.


Continual Growth: Emotional development is a lifelong process with opportunities for growth and change.


Promoting healthy emotional development involves creating supportive environments, fostering positive relationships, and teaching emotional regulation skills. Encouraging open communication and validating emotional experiences contribute to the overall well-being of individuals at every stage of development.

B2.2. Emotions Classification


Emotions are complex psychological and physiological states that can be classified into several broad categories. While there are numerous emotions, researchers have identified primary or basic emotions that serve as building blocks for a more nuanced emotional experience. Here are some commonly recognized categories of emotions:


1. Basic Emotions:

These are considered fundamental and universal emotions that are present across cultures. They include:

Joy: A feeling of happiness or delight.

Sadness: A state of unhappiness or sorrow.

Fear: A response to perceived threats or danger.

Anger: An emotional response to perceived frustration or threat.

Surprise: The reaction to unexpected events.

Disgust: A reaction to something unpleasant or offensive.

2. Positive Emotions:

Love: A deep affection or attachment to someone or something.

Gratitude: A feeling of appreciation and thankfulness.

Satisfaction: A sense of contentment or fulfillment.

Amusement: A state of being entertained or amused.

3. Negative Emotions:

Sadness: Beyond basic sadness, this can include grief, despair, or melancholy.

Anger: Alongside basic anger, this may involve frustration, irritation, or resentment.

Fear: Anxiety, nervousness, or dread are variations of fear.

Disgust: Repulsion or revulsion toward something unpleasant.

4. Social Emotions:

Empathy: Understanding and sharing the feelings of others.

Shame: A self-conscious emotion related to one's perceived shortcomings.

Guilt: A feeling of remorse or responsibility for a wrongdoing.

Embarrassment: A reaction to a social awkwardness or self-consciousness.

5. Complex Emotions:

Jealousy: Feeling envious of someone else's possessions, qualities, or achievements.

Pride: A sense of satisfaction in one's accomplishments.

Contempt: A feeling of scorn or disdain toward someone or something.

6. Mood States:

Happiness: A more enduring and generalized state of well-being.

Sadness: A prolonged and pervasive feeling of unhappiness.

Irritability: A mood characterized by easily provoked frustration.

7. Coping Emotions:

Hope: A positive outlook and expectation for a favorable outcome.

Resilience: The ability to bounce back from adversity.

Coping: Emotional responses aimed at dealing with stress or challenges.

8. Cultural and Individual Variations:

Cultural Influences: Emotions can be expressed and interpreted differently across cultures.

Individual Differences: Each person may experience and express emotions uniquely.



It's important to note that emotions are complex and interconnected, and individuals may experience a blend of different emotions simultaneously. Additionally, the language used to describe emotions can vary, and cultural factors play a significant role in shaping emotional experiences and expressions. The field of emotion research continues to evolve, and scholars may use different models or classifications based on their theoretical perspectives.

Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions (1980)

B2.3. Emotional Intelligence


Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to recognize, understand, manage, and effectively use one's own emotions, as well as the ability to recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others. Coined by psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer and popularized by author and psychologist Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence is considered a crucial aspect of personal and social competence. It involves a combination of skills related to self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and interpersonal effectiveness. Here are the key components of emotional intelligence:


1. Self-Awareness:

Definition: Recognizing and understanding one's own emotions.


Identifying and labeling emotions accurately.

Understanding the impact of emotions on thoughts and behaviors.

2. Self-Regulation:

Definition: Managing and controlling one's own emotions and impulses.


Maintaining composure in stressful situations.

Adapting to change with flexibility.

Delaying gratification and resisting impulsive reactions.

3. Motivation:

Definition: Channeling emotions toward achieving goals.


Setting and pursuing meaningful goals.

Demonstrating initiative and a positive attitude.

Persisting in the face of setbacks.

4. Empathy:

Definition: Understanding and sharing the feelings of others.


Recognizing and validating others' emotions.

Demonstrating an understanding of different perspectives.

Showing sensitivity to others' needs and concerns.

5. Social Skills:

Definition: Effectively managing relationships and navigating social situations.


Building and maintaining positive relationships.

Communicating clearly and persuasively.

Resolving conflicts constructively.

Applications of Emotional Intelligence:

Personal Development: Enhancing self-awareness and self-regulation for personal growth.

Leadership: Effective leaders often possess strong emotional intelligence, which contributes to better decision-making and team collaboration.

Workplace Success: Emotional intelligence is associated with success in the workplace, including improved job performance, leadership skills, and teamwork.


Building and maintaining healthy relationships by understanding and responding to emotions in oneself and others.

Conflict Resolution:

Effective handling of conflicts by recognizing and addressing emotions underlying disagreements.



Improved communication skills, including active listening and clear expression of ideas and emotions.



Developing Emotional Intelligence:

Self-Reflection: Engaging in regular self-reflection to understand personal emotions and reactions.

Active Listening: Practicing active listening to understand and empathize with others.

Feedback: Seeking and receiving feedback to enhance self-awareness.

Mindfulness: Incorporating mindfulness practices to stay present and manage stress.

Continuous Learning: Continuously learning about emotional intelligence concepts and applying them in daily life.

Emotional intelligence is considered a valuable skill in various aspects of life, contributing to personal well-being, effective leadership, and positive social interactions. Developing and honing emotional intelligence can lead to improved relationships, enhanced communication, and greater overall success and satisfaction.

C. Moral development stages (Kohlberg, 1958)

The study of moral development, particularly as proposed by the psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg, suggests that individuals progress through distinct stages of moral reasoning. Kohlberg's theory is built upon the work of Jean Piaget and expanded to encompass the development of moral judgment. The stages of moral judgment development are divided into three main levels, each with two sub-stages. It's important to note that not everyone progresses through all stages, and progression is not strictly age-dependent. Here are the stages:


Level 1: Pre-conventional Morality

1. Stage 1: Obedience and Punishment Orientation:


Focus on avoiding punishment.

Obedience to authority to avoid consequences.

2. Stage 2: Individualism and Exchange:


Recognition of differing interests.

Understanding that actions serve one's individual needs.

Level 2: Conventional Morality

3. Stage 3: Interpersonal Relationships:


Desire for approval and conformity.

Emphasis on being a good person in the eyes of others.

4. Stage 4: Maintaining Social Order:


Respect for authority and social order.

Understanding the importance of societal laws and rules.

Level 3: Post-conventional Morality

5. Stage 5: Social Contract and Individual Rights:


Recognition of the importance of social contracts and agreements.

Acknowledgment that rules may be arbitrary and can be changed for the greater good.

6. Stage 6: Universal Principles:


Adherence to universal ethical principles.

Willingness to act against the law if it violates one's principles.


Additional Considerations:

Cultural Variations: Moral development can be influenced by cultural factors, and different cultures may emphasize particular moral values.

Criticisms of the Theory:


Kohlberg's theory has been critiqued for its gender bias and cultural specificity.

Individual Differences: Individuals may progress through these stages at different rates or may not reach the higher stages.

Post-conventional Morality in Practice: Stage 6, Universal Principles, is considered rare in practice, and most adults operate within the conventional morality stages.

Moral Reasoning and Behavior: It's essential to recognize that moral reasoning doesn't always align with moral behavior. People may act in ways inconsistent with their stated moral principles.



Kohlberg's stages provide a framework for understanding the development of moral judgment, emphasizing the internalization of moral principles and the reasoning behind moral decisions. Keep in mind that this is just one perspective, and other theories of moral development, such as Carol Gilligan's ethic of care, offer different insights into the complexities of moral reasoning.

          Figure 1. Kohlberg's Model of Moral Development 1958

By Lawrence Kohlberg, Em Griffin.










​D. Dominant Activities

D1. Dominant Activities for Children:


Play and Exploration:

Free Play: Unstructured activities that allow for creativity and imagination.

Exploration: Activities that encourage discovery and understanding of the environment.

Learning and Education:


School and Educational Activities:

Classroom learning, reading, and engaging in educational games.

Skill Development: Building cognitive, motor, and social skills through age-appropriate activities.


Social Interaction:

Playdates and Socialization: Interacting with peers to develop social skills.

Family Time: Engaging in activities with family members for bonding.


Physical Activities:

Sports and Outdoor Play: Participating in sports, games, and physical activities for health and development.

Fine and Gross Motor Skills: Activities that enhance coordination and motor skills.


Creativity and Expression:

Art and Craft: Expressing creativity through drawing, painting, and crafting.

Music and Movement: Exploring musical instruments and dance for self-expression.


Routine and Habits:

Daily Routines: Establishing habits such as bedtime routines and mealtime rituals.

Personal Care Activities: Learning and practicing personal hygiene routines.

D2. Dominant Activities for Adults


Work and Career:

Professional Responsibilities: Work-related tasks and responsibilities.

Career Development: Engaging in activities for skill enhancement and career advancement.

Family and Relationships:

Parenting: Activities related to raising and caring for children.

Quality Time with Family: Shared activities that strengthen family bonds.


Social and Community Engagement:

Socializing: Spending time with friends and maintaining social connections.

Community Involvement: Participating in community events and volunteering.


Self-Care and Well-being:

Exercise and Fitness: Engaging in physical activities for health and well-being.

Mental Health Practices: Activities for stress relief, relaxation, and mental well-being.


Learning and Personal Growth:

Continuous Learning: Pursuing education and skill development.

Personal Development: Engaging in activities that foster personal growth and self-improvement.


Hobbies and Recreation:

Hobbies and Interests: Pursuing activities for enjoyment and relaxation.

Recreational Activities: Participating in leisure activities such as sports, hobbies, or travel.


Financial Management:

Budgeting and Financial Planning: Activities related to managing finances and planning for the future.


Routine and Responsibilities:

Daily Responsibilities: Managing household tasks, chores, and daily routines.



It's important to note that these categories are not mutually exclusive, and individuals may engage in a variety of activities across different domains. Additionally, the nature of dominant activities can vary based on individual preferences, lifestyle, and cultural factors. Balancing activities across these domains is crucial for holistic development and well-being at any age.

A. Intellectual dev
B. Social & Emotional
B2. Emotional Dev
C. Moral Dev
D. Dominant Act
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