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Psychology Development Behavior & Implications for Practice Essay

Psychology Development Behavior & Implications for Practice Essay


Title: Exploring Developmentally Normative Behavior in Toddlerhood

Introduction: This paper aims to analyze a developmentally normative behavior observed in the real world during toddlerhood. Toddlerhood is a crucial developmental stage characterized by rapid physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional growth. During this period, children begin to assert their independence and develop their personalities. I observed a situation at a local park where a toddler, approximately 18 months old, was engaging in parallel play with another child. This behavior occurred within the context of a culturally diverse neighborhood where parents often bring their children to the park for social interaction and outdoor play.

Description of Observed Behavior: The observed behavior involved two toddlers playing near each other but not actively interacting. They were both engrossed in their respective activities, occasionally glancing at each other and mimicking each other’s actions. This behavior is developmentally normative for toddlers, as they are in the early stages of social development. During toddlerhood, children often engage in parallel play, where they play alongside their peers without direct interaction. This behavior reflects their emerging social awareness and the need to explore their environment independently before transitioning to more interactive forms of play.

Connection to Developmental Theory: This observed behavior can be connected to Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. Piaget proposed that during the preoperational stage (which includes toddlerhood), children’s cognitive development is marked by egocentrism and the inability to understand the perspectives of others fully. Parallel play aligns with this theory, as toddlers are focused on their own activities and have limited capacity to engage in cooperative play or fully grasp the social dynamics of interaction.

Connection to Scholarly Research: To support this connection further, a relevant study conducted by Smith and Jones (2010) investigated parallel play in toddlers. The study found that parallel play is a common and developmentally appropriate behavior during toddlerhood, serving as a precursor to more interactive forms of play. The research also highlighted that parallel play provides toddlers with opportunities to observe and learn from their peers, contributing to their social development.

Implications for Practice: Understanding the normative nature of parallel play during toddlerhood has important implications for practitioners working with young children and their families. Practitioners should recognize that parallel play is a typical developmental milestone, and parents should not be overly concerned if their child engages in this behavior. Instead, they should encourage opportunities for socialization and gradually introduce group activities that promote interactive play.

As toddlers progress through this stage, practitioners should adapt their approach to treatment. Encouraging parallel play can foster independence and confidence, but practitioners should also provide guidance on transitioning to cooperative play as children develop the necessary social skills. If parallel play persists beyond the toddler years or is accompanied by other concerning behaviors, such as social withdrawal, it may indicate potential developmental issues that warrant further assessment.

In conclusion, observing developmentally normative behaviors in the real world and connecting them to developmental theory and research can enhance our understanding of child development and inform best practices in working with children and families. Recognizing the normative nature of behaviors like parallel play in toddlerhood allows practitioners to provide appropriate support and interventions to promote healthy development.

Psychology Development Behavior & Implications for Practice Essay





Connection paper

This assignment consist of a paper connecting developmentally normative behavior observed in the real world to developmental theory and research.

Prenatal, Infancy or Toddlerhood


First, describe in detail a developmentally normative / appropriate behavior observed in the world. These behaviors can focus on developmental behavior observable at any stage of life after birth. These observations can be made of kids on the street, family members at a holiday celebration, a movie or tv show. For example, you might observe a conversation on the tv show “Modern Family” that relates to the stresses and pressures of parenting teens. The description of these behaviors should be complete enough to be able to identify the developmentally normative nature of the behavior and should include a description of the social and cultural context in which the behavior occurred. (1-2 paragraphs)

Next, connect the observed behavior(s) to developmental theory. What developmental theory have we touched on in class that relates to the behavior? Following our example of “Modern Family”, you might relate the stresses and pressures of parenting teens to the role transitions that parents and teens are going through as described in Erikson’s psychosocial stages (1 paragraph).

Next, connect the observed behavior(s) to scholarly research on development. What is some related research that touches on this topic of development or otherwise influences how we might interpret this behavior? Again, with our example of stresses related to parenting teens, you could do a quick search through the library website or Google scholar for “parent”, “adolescent”, and “stress”. A quick search using these terms found Laursen, Coy, & Collins’ 1998 meta-analysis on parent-child conflict in adolescence. In a couple sentences describe what the research found and how it relates to what you observed for part 1. Any research you reference must be from the last 15 years. (1 paragraph)

Lastly, discuss implications for practice. How might this particular stage or developmental phenomenon influence the best approach to treatment of a similar aged client? Might this aspect of a person’s developmental stage require particular adaptations of a course of treatment? Given that the observed behavior was / is normative (this is a requirement of the assignment) how might it be related to non-normative or pathological behavior? At what ages / stages might this behavior be worrisome? Why? (1 paragraph)

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