Four sorts of history can be considered. Ontogenetic history, the history of the organism from conception to death, is the basic material of human development. Phylogenetic history refers to the evolutionary development of the species. According to one theory—proposed by G. Stanley Hall in his treatise Adolescence (1904), but now largely dis-counted—the ontogenetic history of individuals represented a "recapitulation" or repeating of the species's phy-logenetic history.

A third sort of history refers to changes over time in the concept of childhood, corresponding to the sociocultural history of the family. Philippe Müller (1969) identified four periods in the cultural history of the family that corresponded to changing conceptions of the child.

A fourth kind of history in child psychology is the history of the field itself. Early Greek writers were concerned with stages of development, the socialization process, and the proper education of children. The origins of child psychology as a science, however, can be traced to the careful observations recorded in early "baby biographies," such as those written by Tiedemann (1787), Darwin (1877), and Preyer (1888/1882). Despite their shortcomings as scientific data, these biographies paved the way for more careful observation, for attention to psychological processes, and finally for experiments dealing with child behavior.

More recent influences on child psychology have been the testing movement and the development of child guidance clinics and major university centers for research on child behavior. Current literature emphasizes develop-mentally appropriate guidance, that is, optimal ways to work with and parent children.

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