Child Development: A Practitioner's Guide / Edition 1

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Overview

Now in a revised and expanded second edition, this indispensable text helps practitioners apply the latest developmental knowledge to their work with children and families. The book begins with a framework for understanding the transactions between individual development and the child's wider environment, emphasizing the crucial role of attachment. Key developmental processes and tasks from infancy through middle childhood are then discussed in paired chapters that respectively address how children of different ages typically feel, think, and behave, and how to intervene effectively with those who are having difficulties. Ideally structured for classroom use, the second edition has been updated throughout to reflect current research, practice advances, and policy issues. Included are an important new chapter on the developing brain and expanded coverage of applications for child care and school settings.
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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Renee Mehlinger, MEd, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is a book about development from infancy to middle childhood. It is arranged into two basic sections: the contexts of development and the course of child development. There is a reference section and an index.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a foundation for practitioners who work with children by describing child development and how it can be applied to practice with children. The author meets the objectives through the presentation of theories of child development, assessment techniques, case examples, and interview strategies.
Audience: Written for practitioners who work with children, this book is a practical and theoretical guide that would benefit students and professionals in education, social work, and the mental health field. The integration of theoretical and real life applications make it a useful tool for teaching child development to pediatric and child psychiatry residents.
Features: A clear, concise, and well developed table of contents, a current reference section, and thorough index provide a well organized and thoughtful method for learning, integrating, and understanding the material. The organization also aids in the use of the book as a quick reference guide. The use of real children as case examples to illustrate developmental concepts enhances the overall quality that reinforces the learning process and consolidates theoretical information.
Assessment: This guide presents a useful, cogent, practical approach to understanding the complexities of development from infancy through childhood. The integration of theoretical, practical, and experiential knowledge provides a framework through which the interplay of family, environment, and the resiliency of the individual child can be understood.
From the Publisher

"This is an outstanding book. Davies' Child Development is going to become that well-worn book on the shelf in the office, bearing signs of frequent use long after the practitioner leaves graduate school. As a teacher of social work, I have been disappointed in other books on human development because they've lacked what Child Development has as its strength--teaching practitioners how to think about a person developing in interaction with their environment. Strongly based in attachment theory, Davies develops the transactional-ecological model to demonstrate the course of child development. Using concepts like protective factors, risk factors, and scaffolding, the practitioner gains rich developmental detail, an understanding of interferences in development and excellent suggestions for interventions. Davies is a natural storyteller so his case examples are a lens on childhood, illustrating his themes perfectly. He understands the need to read and interpret the child through the mediums of words, behavior, and play while never losing sight of the larger social context. His appendices, tables, and summaries will prove invaluable to the practitioner. The book is a pleasure to read: wise, human, and critically and theoretically balanced with practice applications in abundance. I will be using this book as the child text in my courses and I'll keep it close at hand in my clinical practice." --Sallie M. Foley, MSW, Professor, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

"This beautifully written book will help all of us--from students to seasoned practitioners--to recognize when a youngster's behavior is signaling a need for family intervention, and to support the progress of all infants and children toward optimal growth and resiliency. It will be required reading for our trainees and will be available as a resource for all of our intervention staff." --Kathleen Baltman, MA, Parents & Children Together (PACT), Department of Sociology, Wayne State University

"This volume contributes in a very important and clear way to our understanding that a solid, thorough grasp of childhood development is crucial to appropriate clinical practice with children and their families. Davies embeds child development in a useful attachment paradigm as well as in a broad environmental context in which risk and protective factors are carefully and thoughtfully arranged. He traces the course of development in chapters that describe relevant issues and achievement in relation to age, and alternates these with chapters that illustrate the significance of that understanding to appropriate clinical practice. This helpful juxtaposition is transactionally enriching. Throughout, his clinical examples, brief and long, are compelling, intelligent, and continuously instructive." --Jeree H. Pawl, PhD, Director, Infant-Parent Program, Department of Psychiatry, San Francisco General Hospital

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Renee Mehlinger, MEd, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is a book about development from infancy to middle childhood. It is arranged into two basic sections: the contexts of development and the course of child development. There is a reference section and an index.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide a foundation for practitioners who work with children by describing child development and how it can be applied to practice with children. The author meets the objectives through the presentation of theories of child development, assessment techniques, case examples, and interview strategies.
Audience: Written for practitioners who work with children, this book is a practical and theoretical guide that would benefit students and professionals in education, social work, and the mental health field. The integration of theoretical and real life applications make it a useful tool for teaching child development to pediatric and child psychiatry residents.
Features: A clear, concise, and well developed table of contents, a current reference section, and thorough index provide a well organized and thoughtful method for learning, integrating, and understanding the material. The organization also aids in the use of the book as a quick reference guide. The use of real children as case examples to illustrate developmental concepts enhances the overall quality that reinforces the learning process and consolidates theoretical information.
Assessment: This guide presents a useful, cogent, practical approach to understanding the complexities of development from infancy through childhood. The integration of theoretical, practical, and experiential knowledge provides a framework through which the interplay of family, environment, and the resiliency of the individual child can be understood.
From the Publisher

"This is indeed a practitioner's guide to child development. Davies presents frontier understanding of the complex interactions between child and experience that underlie all developmental achievements leading to both healthy and problematic child behavior. Combining advanced academic knowledge with applications to specific child problems, the author provides both students and those already involved in clinical work and intervention efforts a clarity of vision into how developmental symptoms arise and how they can be alleviated. This text is an excellent preparation for undergraduates and graduate students interested in understanding and improving the lives of children."--Arnold J. Sameroff, PhD

"I highly recommend this second edition for courses in child development or human behavior in the social environment. Although the text provides the depth and complexity required for graduate-level students, it could easily be adapted for use with undergraduates. The author expertly integrates knowledge of human development with practice examples and strategies, helpfully organized by developmental stage. Case studies are rich in complexity and cultural diversity, and provide challenging, realistic material for discussions and assignments. In particular, I appreciated the inclusion of multiple case studies involving child maltreatment and family violence, trauma, and parental substance use--all difficult but common issues that can profoundly affect child development and practice with children and families. The underlying risk and resilience framework offers a cutting-edge perspective on child development that resonates well with social work practice philosophies. Readable, well-organized, and engaging."--Kristen Shook Slack, PhD, MSW, School of Social Work, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"No one else writes about attachment and development with the wisdom and genuineness of Douglas Davies. This second edition has retained all the graceful writing and richness of content of its predecessor, but now has an expanded scope. Included are additional cross-cultural studies and case examples, many more descriptions of normal child behavior, references to current policy, and updates in all areas of developmental research. Of great significance is a detailed, comprehensive chapter on brain development that is both knowledgeable and clear. I find this book useful both in the classroom with graduate students and in clinical practice with families. When psychological writing unfolds with such ease and candor, when the information seems to flow from one subject to the next, you know you are reading the work of a gifted writer and clinician. An exceptional text."--Sallie Foley, MSW, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Michigan

"This new edition, while specifically aimed at those in social work, contains thought-provoking material for any student of child development. The new chapter on brain development updates and extends Davies's developmental pathways conception in useful ways, and the thorough vignettes help to engage students in consideration of what development looks like in actual life."--Katheryn East, EdD, Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations, College of Education, University of Northern Iowa

"I used the previous edition of this text in a cognitive development course for psychology doctoral students. Numerous students reported that the text was a tremendous resource both professionally and personally. The chapters are concise yet deeply informative and generate great discussions, and the author has a gift for helping students stay connected and stimulated. The coverage of brain development and other new topics in the second edition will make this text even more comprehensive and useful. In addition to graduate courses, I could see using this book in undergraduate courses as well."--Valerie Correa, PsyD, LMFT, School of Professional Psychology, Pacific University


3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

Meet the Author


Douglas Davies, MSW, PhD, is Clinical/Practice Associate Professor at the School of Social Work and Lecturer in Psychiatry at the Medical School, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is an infant mental health specialist, and has published several articles on intervention with young children and their families. In his practice, he works with children and families, supervises clinicians, and offers consultation to mental health agencies and child care centers. He frequently presents professional workshops on practice with infants and toddlers, play therapy, treatment of child witnesses of domestic violence, and developmental approaches to child therapy.
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Read an Excerpt

Child Development

A Practitioner's Guide
By Douglas Davies

The Guilford Press

Copyright © 2004 The Guilford Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-59385-076-X


Chapter One

Attachment as a Context of Development

This chapter describes how the early parent-child relationship mediates and influences the course of development. Although parenting is not the only influence on development, it is a critically important one. Attachment theory provides the most useful perspective on early parent-child interactions. John Bowlby formulated attachment theory, and other researchers, particularly Mary Ainsworth, have validated and refined it. Bowlby described attachment as a fundamental need that has a biological basis. The goal of the infant's attachment behavior is to keep close to a preferred person, in order to maintain a sense of security. The motivation to stay close and to avoid separation from an attachment figure can be seen in an infant who wakes up from a nap and begins to fuss and cry, which alerts the parent to come and pick her up.

Bowlby pointed out that attachment serves as a protective device for the immature young of many species, including humans. Babies need the care of adults to survive, and they have many built-in behaviors, such as making strong eye contact, cooing and vocalizing, and smiling, that attract adults to them. Every baby with a normal neurological systemdevelops a focal attachment to the mother or other primary caregiver. The beginnings of the attachment process can be observed in the early weeks of life, but attachment is clearly evident between 4 and 6 months of age. Although the behavioral expression of attachment varies across cultures, attachment is a universal phenomenon in humans (Bowlby, 1969; LeVine & Miller, 1990).

HOW ATTACHMENT DEVELOPS

Infants make attachments with specific people. Although a newborn infant may be comforted by anyone who picks him up, he very quickly differentiates his primary attachment figure(s) from others. During the early weeks of life he learns the particular qualities of his mother (assuming the mother is the primary caregiver). The baby, through repeated interactions, learns to recognize his mother-what her face looks like, what she smells like, what her touch feels like, and how her voice sounds. Through this process the infant's attachment becomes specific and preferential. In most cultures, infants' attachments have an order of preference, usually to mother, then father, and then siblings, although infants who are in care full-time with a single caregiver often develop an attachment to her that is second only to the mother.

FUNCTIONS OF ATTACHMENT

Attachment has four main functions: providing a sense of security; regulation of affect and arousal; promoting the expression of feelings and communication; and serving as a base for exploration.

Providing a Sense of Security

The implicit goal of attachment is to keep the infant feeling secure. When an infant becomes distressed, both parent and infant take actions to restore the sense of security (Bowlby, 1969). For example, an infant becomes upset and communicates this by looking anxious, crying, or moving closer to her mother. The mother moves toward the baby, soothes her with her voice, and picks her up. The baby continues to fuss briefly, then molds to the mother's body, stops crying, and soon begins to breathe more slowly and regularly, indicating a decrease in arousal; her sense of security has been restored. In Bowlby's terms, the infant's distress signal, which is functionally an attachment-seeking behavior, activates the mother's side of the attachment system, and the mother takes steps to calm the baby's distress.

Regulation of Affect and Arousal

A second primary function of attachment, as this example suggests, is to regulate the infant's affective states. "Arousal" refers to the subjective feeling of being "on alert," with the accompanying physiological reactions of increased respiration and heartbeat and bodily tension. If arousal intensifies without relief, it begins to feel aversive and the infant becomes distressed. When this happens the infant sends out distress signals and moves toward the caregiver. In a secure attachment the infant is able to draw on the mother for help in regulating distress. The mother's capacity to read an infant's affects accurately and to provide soothing or stimulation helps the infant modulate arousal (Stern, 1985). Over time, infants and parents develop transactional patterns of mutual regulation to relieve the infant's states of disequilibrium. Repeated successful mutual regulation of arousal helps the infant begin to develop the ability to regulate arousal through his own efforts. Through the experience of being soothed, the infant internalizes strategies for self-soothing. Good self-regulation helps the child feel competent in controlling distress and negative emotions (Cassidy, 1994).

In contrast, "unresponsive or abusive parents may promote chronic hyperarousal that can have enduring effects on the child's ability to modulate strong emotions" (van der Kolk & Fisher, 1994, p. 150). Children who have not been helped to regulate arousal within the attachment relationship tend, as they get older, to feel at the mercy of strong impulses and emotions. They have more behavioral problems because they have not developed effective internal ways of controlling their reactions to stressful stimuli (Solomon, George, & de Jong, 1995). In another type of insecure attachment, parents respond negatively to the infant's expressions of distress. The child learns that in order to maintain the attachment he must inhibit strong feelings, especially negative ones. Over time he internalizes a style of overregulating, minimizing, and avoiding expression of strong emotions (Magai, 1999).

Expression of Feelings and Communication

As the attachment relationship develops during first 6 months of life, it also becomes the vehicle for sharing positive feelings and learning to communicate and play.

For example, a 6-month-old infant initiates a game of peek-a-boo (which has been previously taught by her father) by pulling a diaper over her face. Her father responds by saying, "Oh, you want to play, huh," and pulls the diaper off, saying "peek-a-boo!" and smiling and looking into the baby's eyes. The baby smiles and begins to wave her arms and kick her feet. The father says warmly, "Oh you like to play peek-a-boo, don't you?" The baby vocalizes, then begins to pull the diaper over her face again in order to continue the game.

This example indicates how attachment is established and how it is perpetuated. Attachment develops out of transactions-the infant expresses a need, to be fed, to be played with, to be comforted-and the parent responds. These transactions, when they are going well, reveal important qualities of the attachment relationship: mutually reinforcing, synchronous behaviors on the part of the parent and infant, a high degree of mutual involvement, attunement to each other's feelings, and attentiveness and empathy on the part of the parent (Stern, 1985).

However, even in the most secure attachment, synchrony is not always present. Parents are not always optimally responsive and attuned, nor do they need to be. Transactions between infant and parent show moment-to-moment variability in the degree of synchrony, attunement, and mutual responsiveness (Nadel, Carchon, Kervalla, Marcelli, & Reserbat-Planty, 1999). Interactional mismatches between baby and parent are commonplace, and they temporarily interfere with the infant's ability to regulate affects. An indicator of secure attachment is the ability of the parent and infant to use interactive coping skills to repair such mismatches when they occur, thus restoring equilibrium for the infant and for the attachment relationship (Tronick and Gianino, 1986b). For example, when a parent is preoccupied or even depressed, the infant watching her begins to feel out-of-touch-that is a minor mismatch. The baby may whine or, alternatively, smile and kick his feet to attract the mother's attention. As the mother responds, the mismatch ends and the feeling of security is reestablished. Siegel notes, "Repair is ... important in helping to teach the child that life is filled with invevitable moments of misunderstandings and missed connections that can be identified and connection created again" (Siegel, 2001, p. 79).

A Base for Exploration

Later in development, especially from age 1 onward, the attachment relationship becomes a base for exploration. Attachment theorists consider the motivation to explore and learn about the world and to develop new skills to be as intrinsic in infants as attachment motivation. Bowlby pointed out that the attachment and exploratory behavioral systems operate in tandem. The confidence with which the child ventures out depends a great deal on her confidence in her attachments. If a toddler has a secure base in her attachment relationship, she will feel free to explore her environment, with the implicit awareness that the caregiver is available if needed (Grossman, Grossman, & Zimmerman, 1999). Since she is not concerned about attachment, exploratory behavior dominates (Bowlby, 1969). Her confidence allows her to interact with her environment in an open and curious way: "Secure children show more concentrated exploration of novel stimuli and more focused attention during tasks" (Grossman et al., 1999, p. 781). A secure 18-month-old playing on her own repeatedly stacks and knocks over blocks. In doing so she exercises motor and cognitive skills and through concentrated practice develops a sense of competence. Exploring from a secure base gives her opportunities to focus on developmental tasks and to feel competent (Meins, 1997). On the other hand, a toddler who is anxious about whether her caregiver will be responsive and protective may be inhibited from exploring, because emotionally she remains focused on making sure her attachment figures are available (Lieberman, 1993).

PATTERNS OF ATTACHMENT Beginning in the mid-1960s, Mary Ainsworth began to apply Bowlby's attachment theory in a series of studies that would lead to more a specific understanding of the dynamics of attachment and to the identification of three distinct patterns of attachment. First Ainsworth did an anthropological field study of mother-infant interaction patterns of the Ganda people of Uganda through intensive observation. She found that maternal responsiveness and sensitivity and infant reactions to separation were the most important indicators of the quality of attachment behavior of Ganda mothers and infants (Ainsworth, 1967). Her initial observational studies of American mothers and infants confirmed the main findings of the Ganda study and provided beginning support for the validity of attachment theory across cultures. However, Ainsworth also observed cultural differences between the Ganda and American infants' ability to handle stress. The American babies, when observed in the home, seemed less stressed by very brief separations from the mother or by the presence of strangers than did the Ganda infants. Ganda infants were much more likely to initiate attachment behavior (to cry, protest, or try to follow) when the mother left the room than were American babies. The Ganda babies, who were almost always with their mothers, consequently had fewer early separation experiences than American infants.

To take into account the American infants' greater tolerance for separation, Ainsworth devised an experimental procedure called the "Strange Situation" to create a more stressful situation in order to elicit their attachment behavior. This procedure aims to create mild but increasing stress on the attachment relationship, in order to observe the infant's attachment strategies and the degree of security of attachment. In the Strange Situation, the mother and baby (12-18 months old) come into a room the infant has not seen before. After a brief period of play, while the mother sits and watches, a stranger enters the room. After the stranger talks with the mother, the mother briefly leaves the room and returns. The stranger leaves. Then the mother leaves the baby alone for a short time and returns. Ainsworth found that the infant's response to the mother's return was the most sensitive indicator of quality of attachment. Securely attached infants showed characteristic responses when reunited with the mother, and insecurely attached infants also reacted in distinctive ways. In Ainsworth's original study, infants between 9 and 12 months and their mothers were observed for a total of 72 hours at home prior to the Strange Situation procedure. These independent home observations correlated positively with ratings obtained from the Strange Situation procedure. Thus, the validity of the Strange Situation as a research tool for the assessment of attachment in middle-class American samples was established via independent observations.

ATTACHMENT CLASSIFICATIONS

Ainsworth's observational and experimental studies identified the characteristics of secure attachment and delineated two types of anxious or insecure attachment. A third type of insecure attachment has been described by Mary Main (Main & Solomon, 1990). The attachment classifications are:

Group A: Insecure-Avoidant

Group B: Secure

Group C: Insecure-Ambivalent/Resistant

Group D: Insecure-Disorganized/Disoriented

Infants in each attachment category present distinctly different reactions to the separation and reunion episodes of the Strange Situation procedure. These differences are seen not merely as reactions to the experimental situation but rather as outcomes of the history of attachment qualities and strategies that have developed over time (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978).

Secure Attachment

The infants rated as secure (B) showed confidence in the attachment relationship, even though they varied in how distressed they became in response to separation. When the mother returned, they tended to greet her positively, to look relieved and happy, and to move close to her. If distressed they wanted to be picked up, and they quickly calmed in response to the parent's attention and soothing. In these securely attached infants, there was an expected pattern of exploratory versus attachment-seeking behavior: "When they were alone with their mothers, they explored actively, showing very little attachment behavior. Most of them were upset in the separation episodes and explored little. All of them responded strongly to the mother's return in the reunion episodes, the majority seeking close bodily contact with her" (Ainsworth, 1982, p. 16).

Continues...


Excerpted from Child Development by Douglas Davies Copyright © 2004 by The Guilford Press. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


I. Contexts of Development
Introduction: Perspectives on Development
1. Attachment as a Context of Development
2. Risk and Protective Factors: The Child, Family, and Community Contexts
3. Analysis of Risk and Protective Factors: Practice Applications
II. The Course of Child Development
Introduction: A Developmental Lens on Childhood
4. Infant Development
5. Practice with Infants
6. Toddler Development
7. Practice with Toddlers
8. Preschool Development
9. Practice with Preschoolers
10. Middle Childhood Development
11. Practice with School-Age Children
12. Conclusion: Developmental Practice and Knowledge
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