Early theories of child psychology were largely implicit, children being thought of as miniature adults. Not until the late nineteenth century and the emergence of a formal discipline of psychology did theories about child behavior become prominent. An early psychologist, G. Stanley Hall, proposed a biogenetic theory emphasizing biological growth and genetic predispositions.

Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, emphasized environmental and especially social factors in the development of child behavior and personality. One of the first to stress the influence of early experience on later behavior, Freud assigned a major role to the unconscious. He postulated a series of psychosexual stages defined by the characteristic way in which libido, or mental sexual energy, gets expressed (see "Psychosexual Stages").

Jean Piaget developed a major theory of cognitive development. For Piaget, the stages of development concern the increasingly complex way in which the individual can incorporate and process information and assimilate it into his or her own previously developed mental structures.

Learning theorists have tended to view children's behavior as based on environmental rather than organismic factors and, like Freud, see the organism as passive rather than active in its own development. The emergence of social learning theory was in some respects a combination of psychoanalytic and learning theory concepts.

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Confident Kids

Confident Kids

Although nobody gets a parenting manual or bible in the delivery room, it is our duty as parents to try to make our kids as well rounded, happy and confident as possible. It is a lot easier to bring up great kids than it is to try and fix problems caused by bad parenting, when our kids have become adults. Our children are all individuals - they are not our property but people in their own right.

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