The most intriguing topics in sociology include physical development in early childhood, socio-emotional development in early childhood, physical development in middle and late childhood, cognitive development and socio-emotional development in middle and late childhood. Social development occurs in different stages at different levels of growth and it is marked by various distinguishing characteristics. In early childhood, physical development is gradual and is marked by an obvious change in the physical characteristics. Girls are smaller and lighter than boys are at this stage and have more body fat than boys have although it declines steadily as they grow. Growth patterns vary from one individual to another owing to different DNA compositions between individuals. Other factors such as the environment contribute to the physical differences among individuals. For instance, urban middle-class and firstborn children tend to be taller than children from the lower class and middle and last-born children.
Cognitive development is characterized by maturation of the brain through continuous destruction and replacement of brain cells. This change is combined with increased ability in children to make decisions and plan their actions, responding to stimuli and increased language development. As children grow, the number of dendrites increases making the transmission of information along the nervous system more efficient. Proper eating habits and adequate physical activity are essential for a child’s development and a consistent and healthy diet will prevent obesity in later stages of life. In middle and late childhood stages, the total volume of the brain increases although there are significant changes in various parts of the brain. The areas of the brain being actively utilized register an increase in the synaptic connections while those areas not in use show a decrease in connections.
Socio-emotional development in early childhood is characterized by a utilization of the acquired language and cognitive skills to make things happen. They are able to use their own initiative to do things as they become exposed to a more social world. They are also able to understand themselves. Young children begin to include emotional terms and psychological traits in their self-descriptions. Self-awareness in children is linked to the expanding range of emotions that children experience as they develop. Emotions play a major role in determining the success of a child’s relationship with others. Guardians and parents should coach their children emotionally and morally so that they can develop healthy relationships and conform to the standard rules and norms that govern the society. Young children are heteronomous moralists since thy judge the rightness or wrongness of an action by considering its consequences. During childhood, children are able to understand their gender identity and gender roles. They also somewhat understand their social roles and conform to them. Parents should train their children to ensure that children avoid negative peer influences. Children are sometimes subjected to physical punishment when they break the rules. This may be effective in some instances but it is not desirable as it may result in negative attitudes and problems in adjustment for young children.
Physical development in middle and late childhood is characterized by gradual and consistent physical growth. Children are able to control various aspects of their lives such as attention. They are much more coordinated than they were in early childhood although boys outperform girls in gross motor skills at this stage. Children are more fatigued by extended periods of sitting down than playing therefore play should be encouraged at this stage. Learning disabilities may also be discovered at this stage. Learning disabilities may be caused by impaired brain functions. Disabilities include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Children with disabilities are enrolled into special schools in order to ensure that they develop like normal children. At this stage, children show increased knowledge and more use of memory strategies. They are able to remember things more clearly especially if information is presented in the form of images. It is possible to determine the intelligence levels of children when they reach this stage. Children are also able master vocabulary and grammar.
Socio-emotional development in middle and late childhood is characterized by development of self-understanding. Children recognize their own social aspects and are more able to distinguish themselves from others by comparison. Parents and guardians are expected to provide emotional support for children in order to prevent low self-esteem in children. Children need to be made aware of their self-efficacy and assured that they can master situations without assistance. Children are more aware emotionally at this stage. Parents should therefore reassure their children and encourage them to talk about any emotional hardships that they are experiencing. Generally, females have a longer life expectancy rate than their male counterparts. Males are taller than females and posses better visual-spatial and math skills compared to females. Girls are more able to express themselves emotionally and are more likely to show empathy. Children develop friendships that are more compact at this stage.
The study of sociology enables one to develop a clearer view on the society as a whole. An increased understanding of what constitutes the society enables a person to deal with different societal issues more effectively. In my view, a person is able to develop a certain perception of the society and adjust accordingly. The study of sociology empowers its students and increases awareness regarding various issues affecting the society. The topics mentioned in the essay were most interesting as they explained various processes in human physical, social and cognitive development that help explain human behavior and choices. By studying sociology, an individual will be able to make sound judgment and decisions in issues relating to the society.