Child psychology deals with the personality and behavior of children, typically from conception to puberty. In the past child psychology has referred to both normal and abnormal behavior, to both theory and research, and also to the psychotherapy or counseling of disturbed children. Current usage, however, limits the term to a branch of the science of developmental psychology, specifying "child clinical" when referring to the professional practice of child psychology.
Childhood can be divided into substages: prenatal, infancy, toddlerhood, preschool, middle childhood, and later childhood. Some researchers, however, argue that development is best understood in the context of the total span of life and propose a "life span developmental psychology." Additionally, current research has focused on the contexts that influence development, including the family, school, and peers (see Bronfenbrenner, 1989, 1993).
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