Definition, Meaning and Stages of Growth & Development in Children

Tue, 10/25/2011 - 12:01 -- Umar Farooq

What is Growth and Development

Growth and development in education has specific meanings and both are relates to each other. The following comparison will clarify the differences between growth and development.

What is Growth

  1. It is indicative i.e. increase in body, size, weight etc.
  2. It is quantitative progress
  3. It is physical change
  4. It is external in nature
  5. stops at certain stage
  6. It is physical progress

What is Development

  1. It is not indicative
  2. It qualitative progress
  3. It is psychological change
  4. It is internal in nature
  5. It is continuous process
  6. It is cognitive progress

Stages of Growth and Development in Children


Growth and development goes side by side, and both have profound effects upon each other. When a child is born, passes through various stages and ultimately a whole picture of a person emerges. The following are the stages of growth and development through which every children passes:

1. Infancy: (From Birth to 2 Years)

Common features of infancy are

  1. A child jumps, walk and learn to talk.
  2. A child starts learning about simple, social concepts.
  3. The body growth is accelerated.

2. Early Childhood (2-6 Years)

The common features of this stage are:

  1. Infancy features are strengthened.
  2. Physical growth occurs like, expansion of muscles, speed in body actions, changes occur in respiration, blood pressure develops etc.
  3. Language skill is developed and learns new words.
  4. New concepts about social relations develop.
  5. Memory increases.
  6. They ask questions about the environment.
  7. Socially he/she develops new friends, and wants social approval of his/her actions.
  8. Emotional development starts to develop.

3. Adolescence (12-19 Years)

This is the period of adulthood and to some extend of maturity, physically and socially. This is called the spring, romantic, and the period of “storm & stress”. The development and growth vary from culture to culture and environment factors that influence a person at this stage. Some basic characteristics of this stage are as follows:

1. Physical Growth

Here children are active, and sharp. They are keen observers. They give more attention to body – beauty and strength. Boys love strength and play the games, where power is shown.

2. Mental or Intellectual Development

  1. They think in abstraction.
  2. They can anticipate the future needs and plan for that.
  3. The children ability to solve complex problems increase. They try to understand complicated issues, and to solve the complex problems
  4. They develop the communicative abilities and talk for hours.
  5. Confidence is developed which make them to make decisions about future.
  6. Moral concepts are developed and know that what is morally and socially good and wrong.

3. Emotional Development

Here the adolescent period is not rational but emotional. That’s why it is called the period of stress and storm. They are entering a new stage, which therefore, want emotional adjustment. Emotional disturbance is produced when they don’t adjust to new situation or role for which they are suppose to be.

Characteristics of Emotions in Adolescence
  1. Complexity: They experience complexity in various issues and start adjustment. When that adjustment doesn’t develop, storm and stress develop.
  2. Development of Abstract Emotions:They develop emotions with those things which do not exist in real situation. Wants and desires are generated by abstract emotions.
  3. Widening of Emotional Feelings: Here they select a hero/heroin. Idealization and imagination start. And get emotional attachment with that idealization.
  4. Bearing Tension: They start to learn that how to bear a difficult emotional situations.
  5. Sharing of Emotions: They share emotions, especially with peer groups. That develops loyalty and emotional   confidence among peer groups.
  6. Hopes & aspirations develop about the future.
  7. This stage gives increase to compassion in them.
Common Emotional Patterns

The following are some emotional patterns which can be seen in students:

  1. Worries/Anxieties:These can be imaginative or real. These can be the products of school work, exam, school problems or home problems.
  2. Phobias: Phobias or fears can be from material objects, meeting with people, talking to strangers etc.
  3. Anger, Love and Hate: These are some emotional patterns, which have its own causes, and effects.

As for emotions are concerned, the fear of failure make you to work hard. Emotions can be realized through good and positive activities. Now it is the responsibility of home, school, teachers & parents to understand the emotional state of the children and to avoid the bad effects of emotional disturbance. “Become emotions can make or mar one’s life”.