CHAPTER 1: THE LIFE-SPAN DEVELOPMENT
The Historical Perspectives
• Interest in children has a long and rich history. Throughout history, philosophers have speculated at length about the nature of children and how they should be reared.
o In the perspective of the original sin, especially advocated during the Middle Ages, children were perceived as being basically bad, as being born into the world as evil beings. The goal of child rearing is salvation.
o Toward the end of the 17th century, the tabula rasa view was proposed by English philosopher John Locke. He argued that children are not innately bad, but instead they are like a blank tablet and will acquire their characteristics through experiences. He believed that childhood experiences are important in determining adult characteristics.
o In the 18th century, the innate goodness view was presented by Swiss-born French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, who stressed that children are basically good, they should be permitted to grow naturally with little parental monitoring or constraints.
o In the late 19th century, investigators from a variety of academic backgrounds began to observe the development of their own children and to publish these data in works known as baby biographies (a detailed record of an infant’s growth and development over a period of time.
• The scientific study of adolescence appeared in the beginning of 20th century.
o In 1904, American psychologist G. Stanley Hall wrote the first scientific book on the nature of adolescence. His storm-and-stress view stated that adolescence is a turbulent time charged with conflict and mood swings.
o An investigation by Daniel Offer and his colleagues (1988) documented that the vast majority of adolescents are competent human beings who are not experiencing deep emotional turmoil… The adolescents were moving toward adulthood with a healthy integration of their identity…
o By 1950, the developmental period we refer...