Developmental Stage Theories

Posted by: pinewood1

Developmental Stage Theories - 03/27/20 12:37 PM

A lot of therapists like to make reference to developmental stage theories, or just the concept of "a child that age can't do X," to make their clients feel better about bad choices they made as children, or about things they were not able to fix as children.

I've never gotten any comfort out of these lines, because... well, as a child I was doing plenty of things that I was "not supposed to" be able to do. I'm not sure most of these therapists are familiar with the concept of asynchrony, or that they really think through which aspects of development are relevant in a discussion.

Personally, I would rather appeal to the concept that a child has little to no legal/societal power to leave an abusive situation or to change it, than appeal to the idea that children below a certain age aren't responsible for their behavior because they have no power of abstract reasoning.

What are your thoughts about how developmental stage theories apply to the gifted population? Is there actually any research on this?
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Developmental Stage Theories - 03/27/20 05:30 PM

One of the most frustrating things for me is current edu-fad trends in my home country around "developmentally appropriate" approaches to schooling... And then having developed this whole amazing sounding "Developmentally appropriate" pedagogy, referencing varied speed of development in each child, discussion ends with directly substituting age for stage/development...

The child should be allowed to do "developmentally appropriate" puzzle tasks... This child is 5 and this box says 4-6, so they can do this puzzle! Never mind whether the child was doing puzzles for 2 year olds or adults last week, before the "developmentally appropriate" curriculum was introduced...

Miraca Gross's book covers social/emotional/moral development in the EG/PG cohort she study and concludes that (to varying degrees) these areas were also significantly advanced in her subjects. This was one of the most profound things for me in terms of wishing I had read her book earlier.

With regard to my own child, for whom I read Miraca's book, when there were social difficulties in Gr1 we visited a psychologist. They quite clearly stated that our child was showing unusually advanced social/emotional awareness/behaviour for age (ie considering their own role in things going wrong at school and attributing partial blame to themselves, which was very unusual for age). Sadly this observation didn't lead to the psychologist giving any particularly constructive advice about the situation "You're at a good school and there is no point changing, I see families change and change and it doesn't help, they'll be fine eventually". I regret not taking at different path at that time.

Edit to add: The point of my rambling post is I do believe that there is evidence that gifted children can move through developmental stages faster. Mine have. But no I don't think there is much awareness of this, or certainly not practical application of the awareness. It seems like this reality can be acknowledged and then implications ignored all in one interaction.
Posted by: pinewood1

Re: Developmental Stage Theories - 03/27/20 06:09 PM

Something that jumped out at me when I was reading a book about dissociative disorders (I was just reading it to study the history of the field; it was a pretty terrible book) was a claim the author made about attachment. He said that children who are abused by parents between ages 4 and 8 maintain an attachment to the perpetrator because they have a biological imperative to for survival, and because they're in "early Piagetian stages of development."

A lot of this stuff is just things various therapists have asserted on a theoretical basis without statistical evidence, but I thought that was interesting in light of this topic.

I had a friend who said they'd observed that HG+ people were more likely not to have an attachment to their abusive parents, or to be able to break it. I'd dearly love to see an actual study on this, but I'm not sure how it could be done.
Posted by: puffin

Re: Developmental Stage Theories - 03/28/20 05:04 AM

Developmentally appropriate and child led are buzz words that sound so good but like most things mean "what we consider appropriate" and "we know where they are leading us because we set it up so they couldn't lead anywhere else".
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: Developmental Stage Theories - 03/28/20 08:42 PM

Originally Posted By: puffin
Developmentally appropriate and child led are buzz words that sound so good but like most things mean "what we consider appropriate" and "we know where they are leading us because we set it up so they couldn't lead anywhere else".

Yes! YES, so much this.