Let's discuss 10 principles of Growth and Development in the following . Developmental psychologists believe that knowledge of an accurate pattern of
development is fundamental to an understanding of children. There are several
basic principles that characterizes the pattern and process of growth and
development. These principles describe typical development as a predictable and
orderly process. Even though there are individual differences in children‟s
personalities, attitudes, behavior and timing of development, the principles and
characteristics of development are universal patterns.
10 Principles of Growth and Development
1-Development involves change:-
The human being is undergoing changes
from the moment of conception to the time of death. There are different
types of change occur such as, changes in size, proportions, the disappearance of
old features and acquisition of new features etc. The goal of these
developmental changes is self-realization, which Abraham Maslow has
labeled as self-actualization. Each individual is equipped with certain
abilities and potentialities at birth. By utilizing the innate or inborn abilities
one tries to realize and strive for self actualization during the total life
period. Children‟s attitude toward change are generally determined by his
knowledge about these changes, social attitudes toward this change and the
way people of society treats to children when these changes take place.
2-. Development is a continuous process:-
Development continues throughout
the life of an individual. This process takes place in interaction with the
environment in which a person lives. One stage of development is the basic
framework for the next stage of development. A child has limited knowledge
and experiences about his environment. But as he develops, he acquires
more information through explorations and adds to the skills already
acquired and the new skills become the basis for further achievement and
mastery of skills. For example, the child is able to write and draw, he must
have developed a hand control to hold a pencil and crayon. Thus, a person
has vast experiences and knowledge as he grows up.
3-Development follows a direction and uniform pattern in an orderly
1)Development proceeds from the center of the body outward. This is
the principle of proximodistal development that describes the
direction of development (from nearer to far apart). It means that the
spinal cord develops before outer parts of the body. The child‟s arms
develop before the hands and the hands and feet develop before the
fingers and toes.
(ii) Development proceeds from the head downwards. This is called the
cephalocaudal principle. According to this principle, development
occurs from head to tail. The child gains control of the head first, then
the arms and then the legs.
4. Individual Differences in the Development Process:-
Even though the the pattern of development is similar for all children but the rate of development
varies among children. Each child develops as per his abilities and
perception of his environment. Children differ from each other both
genetically and environmentally. So, both biological factor and
environmental situations have their impact on an individual‟s development
which leads to individual differences in development. Understanding this
fact of individual differences in rates of development should aware us to be
careful about using and relying on age and stage characteristics to label
5-Development depends on maturation and learning:-
Maturation refers to
the sequential characteristic of biological growth and development. The
biological changes occur in sequential order and give children new abilities.
Changes in the brain and nervous system account largely for maturation.
These changes in the brain and nervous system account largely for
maturation. The child‟s environment and the learning that occurs as a result
of the child‟s experiences largely determine whether the child will reach
optimal development. An enriched environment and varied experiences help
the child to develop his/her potential.
6-Development is predictable:-
Human development is predictable during the
life span. Although this development is influenced by both genetic and
environmental factors, however, it takes place in a pre-defined manner.
Specific areas of development, such as: different aspects of motor
development, emotional behavior, speech, social behavior, concept
development, goals, intellectual development etc. follow predictable
patterns. For example, the growth of the child in height and weight etc.
continue up to a certain age. In general, it is also found that all children
follow a commonality in the development periods of life. All children
generally grow following the periods like prenatal period and postnatal
period. The postnatal period includes infancy, babyhood, childhood, puberty
and so on.
7-Early development is more critical than later development:-
writes “ The childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day.”
Similarly, Erikson views “childhood is the scene of man‟s beginning as
man.” He explains that if parents gratify the needs of the child for food,
attention and love etc. , his perception towards people and situation remains
positive throughout his life. He develops positive attitudes, feels secure,
emotionally stable and adjust well with the environment. If negative
experiences occur during early life of the child, maladjustments may take
place. Glueck concludes that delinquents can be identified as early as 2-3
years of age. Different researchers view that the preschool years age are
most important years of development as basic foundation is laid down
during this period which is difficult to change.
8-Development involves Social expectations:- In every society there are
certain rules, standards and traditions which everyone is expected to follow.
Development is determined by social norms and expectations of behaviors
form the individuals. Children learn customs, traditions and values of the
society and also what behaviors are expected from them. They realize from
the approval or disapproval of their behavior.
Social expectations are otherwise known as “developmental tasks”.
Havinghurst defines developmental task as a “task which arises at or about a
certain period in the life of an individual. Developmental tasks arise mainly
(a) as a result of physical maturation,
(b) form the cultural pressures of
(c) out of the personal values and aspirations of the individual. The
developmental tasks remain the same from one generation after another in a
As societies are evolving, changing traditions and cultural
patterns of a society are learned automatically by children during their
development process. These developmental tasks help in motivating children
to learn as well as help parents to guide their children.
9-. Development has potential hazards:-
Development may be hampered by
various hazards. Hazards may be of physical, environmental or
psychological type. These hazards may be originated from the environment
in which the child grows or due to hereditary factors. They have negative
impact on physical as well as sociopsychological development of the child.
The growth of the child may be retarded, he may be an aggressive person or
he may encounter adjustment problems. For example, if a child is slurring or
stammering and parents neglect the child, the child may continue with this
10- Happiness varies at different periods of development:-
at different periods in the development process. Childhood is the happiest
period of life and puberty is the most unhappy. The patterns of happiness
vary from child to child and it is influenced by the rearing process of the
Paul B. Baltes stated six principles of development of life span approach.
The six principles of development are mentioned below:
1) Development is a lifelong process- Development is a process which
continues throughout life. It begins at birth and ends in death of an
2) Development includes both gain and loss during life span. The child
may develop in one area and lose in another area.
3) Development is influenced by the biological factor and
environmental situations- The human development is influenced by
biological and environmental factors. For example, the body strength
of the child develops in the early period but may deteriorate during
4) Development involves changing allocation of resources. It states that
during different developmental periods, resources such as; time,
money, social support etc. are used differently. For example, during
old age people require more money to maintain their proper health.
5) Development can be modified- This principle reveals that through
proper training development can be modified. For example, an
individual can maintain his proper health by doing different
exercises even in old age.
6) Development is based upon historical and cultural environment- The
child grows, develops, acquires knowledge about the traditions,
rules, regulations of society according to his historical and cultural