Choose two theories relating to child development to compare and contrast, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Be sure to consider how culture and context interact with these theories. Apply these theories to real-life examples to illustrate your points.
Respond to at least two other learners. Do you agree with each learner’s assessment of the theories? Why or why not? What real-life examples can you add? The two learners are listed below
The two theories that I’ve picked were Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gillian because I have never heard of them and their theories are very different, similar, and interesting. The theory that Carol Gillian focus on is the moral development of women and girls and the three stages of moral development which are selfish, social or conventional morality, or post conventional or principled morality.
Lawrence Kohlberg theory views children as young philosophers and that the moral reasoning was influenced by emotional relationships such as empathy, love respect, and attachment.
Kohlberg theory has three levels broken into six different stages of moral development.
- Obedience and Punishment Orientation
- Instrumental-Relativist Orientation
- Good Boy/Nice Girl Orientation
- Law & Order Orientation
- Legalistic Orientation
- Universal, Ethical Orientation
Gilligan’s theory believes that part of her stages of moral development progress over time in three stages and that women must learn to care from their own interest and the interest of other. And that women will hesitate to judge because they see complexities of relationships. Woman value the following; Who is speaking, what body, who is telling the story, and the cultural framework of the story presented. Where as Kohlberg’s stage 6 is Universal, Ethical, Orientation an individual’s moral judgment is motivated by one’s own conscience.
Strengths & Weakness
I have to say that Kohlberg’s theory is more noticeable in children at a very young age and he states that morals and values is based on a person’s own need. He shows an example of individual’s making judgment calls based off of their obedience and punishment and this is very true and is considered a strength. As far as a weakness at level 2 stage 4 of his -Stages of Moral Development “Law & Order Orientation” I would have to disagree because I don’t think that an individual is motivated by an authority figure. This would be considered as a weakness because I don’t see self-control.
Gillian has stated that woman make moral decisions based on caring for people and expecting others to care for them. I have wrestled with this statement because I can see the weakness because I feel like women can make strong decisions without expectations of people caring for them. But I also know that as a woman it is second nature to have expectations we don’t just do things to do them, we just don’t give love or care without expecting it in return.
The two theories that I chose that relate to child development are John Bowlby’s “attachment theory” and Carol Gilligan’s “Three Stages of Moral Development”. I chose these two theories because they are the least familiar to me. Gilligan and Bowlby are similar in the aspect that their theories focus on interpersonal skills. They differ in how Gilligan believes women make decisions based on caring for others and Bowlby believes attachment form from the need of protection.
Gilligan’s theory focused primarily on the moral development of girls and women. Gilligan believes that women’s morale is based on taking care of others and the expectation of being taken care of by others. The three stages of development include: Selfish, Social or Conventional Morality, and Post-Conventional or Principled Morality.
I agree with Gilligan’s theory that women intrinsically develop as nurturers. I believe that this is evident across all cultures. As an African American woman, my culture is prideful in rearing independent women who are able to care for others whereas other cultures expect women to be nurturers but not necessarily independent. A weakness of this theory is that Gilligan believes women must learn to care for their own interests and the interests of others. I consider this to be a weakness because some women may have no interests in caring for others, as some women decide against starting families. Also, Gilligan’s theory yields weakness in the aspect that women are less judgmental because of their perception of relationships. This theory would reflect more so character traits or personal experiences.
Bowlby’s attachment theory focuses on children and how their early experiences shape internal expectations and attitudes toward others. Bowlby primarily focused on attitudes and behaviors of children toward their adult caregivers. Bowlby’s perspective lead to the idea that attachment behavior evolves from a survival strategy that protects infants.
In my experiences as a caregiver, Bowlby’s theory has many strengths. His theory of Safe Haven, Secure Base, Proximity Maintenance, and Separation Anxiety all reflect stages of child development that are relevant currently. I do not necessarily find any concrete weaknesses in Bowlby’s theory based on the information provided