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Human Development Essay, Research Paper

Human Development

In all actuality, my friend Michelle just had a baby boy 2 months ago. We are both very young and uneducated about the details of having a baby. However, since she has had her baby, I have learned a lot about them and the stages they go through. If she were still pregnant I’d now be able to answer all of her questions and offer her additional, helpful and interesting information. I could tell her what to expect during her pregnancy, and the development of her child. And it’s still not too late to enlighten her about the stages her baby will go through in the coming years, and present to her different parenting strategies.

To form a new life, a new person, the sperm must meet and fertilized the egg. If the sperm is successful enough to break through, and fertilize the egg, a series of cells are created and multiplied. At this stage the cells are called a zygote. After approximately 10 days the zygote attaches itself to the inside of the uterine wall, and forms the placenta, where the soon to be developing baby will gain it’s food, oxygen and nourishment. The inner cells from the zygote continue to grow and become classified as an embryo. “Over the next 6 weeks, organs begin to form and function. The heart begins to beat and the liver begins to make red blood cells” (Myers 119). At 9 weeks the embryo begins to look human and is then classified as a fetus. Over the next 6 months the fetus will form its stomach and other organs. Also, at this time, the fetus can respond to noise and different sounds and gain familiarity with its mother’s voice. Sadly, these different stages can be negatively affected and altered by teratogens. Teratogens are “harmful agents such as particular viruses and drugs” (Myers 119) that are able to pass through the

placenta without being destroyed. Smoke, alcohol and drugs are teratogens and can affect the growing embryo and the fetus. It is highly recommended that pregnant women avoid the consumption of these for both their health and their baby’s.

Once the baby is born, he immediately starts learning. Within days, the baby is able to recognize his mother by her scent. When breast-feeding, the baby instinctively knows how to suck milk from the nipple while maintaining to breath and swallow. They can also “turn their heads in the direction of human voices” (Myers 120). According to Jean Piaget, a developmental psychologist from the 1920’s, babies go through different stages over the beginning years of their life. From 0-2years they’re in the Sensorimotor stage. They “experience the world through senses and actions by looking, touching, mouthing, and grasping.” From about 2-6 years they are in the Preoperational stage where they are able to recognize things and give them the appropriate names but lack logical reasoning. From 7-11 years they go through the concrete Operational stage where they can think logically about factual events, begin to understand analogies and can perform some math operations. And then lastly, from 12 years old to adulthood they are in the Formal Operational stage where they can have abstract reasoning. In addition to these stages, there are certain important bench marks that mark significant steps in a child’s life. At 2 months they can laugh, 4-5months they can smile and recognize their parents, 5-6 months sit without support, 12 months walk unassisted, 20 months kick a ball forward, 20-22 months make two word sentences and 2 years, pedal a tricycle (Psyc notes).

Infants become attached to their parents quite easily because they are completely dependent on them. Also they feel secure, comfortable and responsive. If they are not given the necessary attention, they can become withdrawn, anxious and eventually abusive. (Myers 139). If they do form an attachment and are then separated they can become distressed. “Attachment style in infancy predicts later social development” (Myers 139).

Although my friend already had her child I’m sure this information would still be useful to her. In addition, if any of my other friends get pregnant I can tell them the same information that I’ve learned, and hopefully allow them to better understand the new life they have created.


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