Child Observation Essay

In my professional practice as a sociology student, I had to report on child observation.  In this essay, I will provide my evaluation of child development basing my arguments on the comments I made. I will begin with a brief description of the child in I interacted with and the environment the practice took place. I will also expound on details of the entire observation process. Since this essay is supposed to be informative of child development issues, I will employ two child development theories to illustrate what constitutes normal child development. I will also address issues relating to ethics, anti-oppression and children rights.

I decided to take my child observation practice into a daycare center. Since I never wanted to leave anything to chance, I opted to observe a child of a different race. I settled on the 4year old boy, whose name was Earnest. He was white, though I did not inquire about the race of his parents. The daycare management allowed me to take my observation practice from any corner of the institution. I was therefore permitted to observe earnest even during class time. The administration however cautioned me about informing earnest that I was watching him as this would make him anxious. I was objected to the idea of leaving him in the dark about what was happening because he would realize that much of my attention was on him. As a sociology student, I find it wrong to undertake an activity that oppresses others. I felt that hiding the truth from earnest amounted to oppression. However, I could not go against what the management of the daycare recommended.

Before this practice, I had never been so close to children, and this made me anxious about the whole process. The first one hour of my observation involved walking around the few places that earnest would visit. I was curious about his communication skills and relationship with other children. Most of the children in the daycare came from across all races, and therefore I was assured of learning more about discrimination among children as well as discrimination practice. From my observation, I could tell that Earnest was a very active kid because he could hardly stick to one place or activity for more than ten minutes. He seemed to be close to the other kids, and this made me like his character. He looked like the kid who is hardly bothered by anything.

To get an interacting session in earnest, I had to first interact with a few other kids so he would not be scared of my approach. When we finally met, Earnest seemed very composed and smiled during the entire interactive session. He was very fluent in his speech and honest about most of the things he knew of. During our interaction, he mentioned something that got me thinking. He confidently asked me if I were a murderer or a sex predator. For a few minutes I could not respond to his question, but wonder how such a small kid could understand the meaning of such words. I, therefore, decided to ask him about the sense of a murderer and a sex predator, and even though his definition was weak, I could tell that he knew the meaning of those words. I had to ask earnest why he thought I would be any of those two people. His answer was short and direct to the point. He said, “My mom says so.” He had to ask those questions because am an African American individual. Earnest’s behavior made me develop an interest in discrimination and racism behaviors in kids.

According to the theory of behavioral child development, the interactions that child has with those around them will determine their behaviors (Slater, Hocking & Loose, 2003). If a child learns that his/her parents do not like a person from a particular background, it will develop hatred towards the person without questioning the behavior. If a child learns that their parents hate black people, it will develop hatred towards people of color. From this theory, I could relate why Earnest was so confident and composed when enquiring whether I was a murderer or a pedophile. He believed that there is nothing wrong with the question because most children understand that their parents are always right.

Unless corrected, Earnest will become a racist in future. According to what I learned from Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, the influence of a child’s surroundings plays a significant role in determining their thoughts and character as adults (Slater, Hocking & Loose, 2003). Considering that Earnest will spend the at least thirteen more years in the company of his parents, there is a very high probability that his mentality will be influenced to develop hatred among people of color.

In normal child development, the child should be taught how to love and appreciate people from different origins. However, most parents are unaware that their words have a significant influence on the behavioral outcome of their children. Hatred and aggressiveness in children come from their interaction with parents. An aggressive child assumes an ‘abnormal development’ that in many cases affect their ability to relate with others in future.

I have gathered immense knowledge about child development this practice. My decision to observe a child from a different race enabled me to understand the evolution of hatred and racism in children. Through child development theories I have learned that parents contribute significantly to the behavioral outcome of their children.

References

Slater, A., Hocking, I., & Loose, J. (2003). Theories and issues in child development. An introduction to developmental psychology, 34-63.

Child Observation Outline

Thesis:

Child observation practice is essential in understanding child development. In this essay, two theories are used to explain the origin of discriminatory behavior in children.

Body

Paragraph 1:

  • I took my observation practice at a daycare center.
  • I observed a child of a different race.
  • I found it oppressive to hide my intentions from Earnest, the white kid I was observing.
  • Sociology dictates that people should respect each other’s rights.

Paragraph 2:

  • I experienced anxiety considering that I had never interacted with children before.
  • My first task was to evaluate the relationships and communication skills of the child.
  • I observed that Earnest was a very active kid.

Paragraph 3:

  • My approach was to interact with other kids before interacting with Earnest.
  • Earnest was very confident and composed.
  • His questions revealed to me that he had the discriminatory and racial mentality.

Paragraph 4:

  • The theory of behavioral child development indicates that the people a child interact with influences their behavior as they develop.
  • If a child learns that his/her parents do not like a person from a particular background, it will develop hatred towards the person without questioning the behavior.

Paragraph 5:

  • There is a high chance that Earnest will become a racist.
  • Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, reveals that the influence of a child’s surroundings plays a significant role in determining their thoughts and character as adults.

Paragraph 6:

  • In normal child development, the child should be taught how to love and appreciate people from different origins.
  • Hatred and aggressiveness in children come from their interaction with parents.

Conclusion:

Child observation is an essential practice in understanding child development. The theory of behavioral development shows that a child’s interaction with other people influences its behavior. Piaget’s theory of cognitive evolution, further provides that a child’s environment will affect its thoughts during development.