Léhana van Zyl
Student number: 201802139
27 August 2018
Ms A Simelane
Psychology: Developmental Psychology
In this essay I will discuss the external environmental harmful agents that are most likely to affect the embryo/foetus during an unhealthy pregnancy like substance abuse and maternal stress. I will explain what early attachment implications are as well as the physical and cognitive developmental implications, how day-care or the lack thereof can affect a child. I will also apply all these below to a theory that was given to us.
The external environmental harmful agents that are likely to affect the embryo/foetus during unhealthy pregnancy. Firstly, we will look at Maternal drug use which falls under three components alcohol, smoking and other substances. Alcohol use during pregnancy. When consuming any kind of alcohol during pregnancy the alcohol goes straight to the foetus through a cord namely the umbilical cord. Pregnant woman should avoid alcohol during pregnancy. Women who drinks alcohol during their pregnancy are most likely to give still birth to the baby or getting a miscarriage. If the mother drinks alcohol and the baby are being delivered it can happen that the baby would have birth defects or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). The outcomes of the FAS can be hyperactivity disorder, abnormal facial features, low body weight and vision or hearing problems. In the theory we are introduced to a 25-year-old single mother Boitumelo who spended her remainder days of her pregnancy depressed, and she abused alcohol. We don’t know if Boitumelo’s child had any birth defects or FAS but what we know through the theory are the baby was not a still born and Boitumelo did not have a miscarriage. Smoking during pregnancy can lead to a lot of things that could go wrong with the baby’s health. The most common thing that could go wrong would be the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It can also cause some birth defects and can also lead to preterm birth. Second hand smoke is also bad for a woman during her pregnancy second-hand smoke can lead to health problems for the baby. Other substances like marijuana and cocaine are mostly used by pregnant women. Smoking marijuana while expecting can lead to low birth weight, giving birth earlier then when the baby is expected, extreme crying, severe or chronic vomiting. Using cocaine during pregnancy babies often show abnormal behaviour like crying, irritability, and don’t want interaction with humans. Secondly, maternal stress and foetal neuronal network. High levels of stress hormones in the blood-stream of the foetal and maternal stress. Stress hormones act directly on the neuronal network of the foetal to increase blood pressure. Mothers who have very high levels of anxiety are most likely to give birth to a baby who are hyperactive, irritable and having problems to feed the child as well as to get the baby to sleep. Maternal stress is very harmful to the unborn baby. We can apply this again on the theory of Boitumelo. When Boitumelo was in her second trimester when her fiancé was arrested and sentenced for 10 years. Boitumelo spent the remainder of her pregnancy depressed. This could have lead to harm the unborn baby because of her maternal stress. Thirdly, influence of culture usually we see that African Cultures have a strong connection with their parents, grandparents and ancestors. The importance of ancestors is confirmed with regards to crisis events during developmental stages like concerning families, births and marriage. In the theory we can apply influence of culture through Boitumelo’s mother who did not approve Boitumelo’s relationship with Tshepo. Boitumelo’s mother saw Tshepo as a bad man. Boitumelo loves Tshepo and they were expecting a baby together. This could lead to Boitumelo’s mother pushing her away and letting her struggle. To punish her for not taking the right man. Lastly would be Socio-Economic status. Grouping of people with the similar educational, occupational and economic characteristics. Were it varying is by the salaries and the prestige. The theory Boitumelo falls under the low income which also means the working class. To make it easier for us to understand is that Boitumelo did not finish school she has no degree. Boitumelo change jobs several times in search for a better paying job in order to pay the basic necessities like home and car expenses. She works a 10-hour day shift at a call centre when she picks Kgosi up from day-care she is exhausted which means that there is no bonding time for Boitumelo and Kgosi (Weiten,2016).
The early attachment (emotional) implications. What is attachment? Attachment is emotional bonding with someone it also means that you are close to someone. Attachment usually occurs between infants and caregivers. Children form attachments to a lot of other people, like grandparents, fathers and older siblings. A mother would be a child’s first attachment. The mother is seen as the primary caregiver especially in the early years of the child’s life. At 2 to 3 months infants interact more with their mother by starting with smiling and laughing. Infants can also interact with strangers like the babysitter. Then it all changes when the infant is 6 to 8 months. They show a pronounced preference for their mother compony. The infant would start to protest when they are separated from their mother. Separation anxiety is emotional distress seen by many infants when they get separated from people they had an attachment with. The separation anxiety can also occur with familiar caregivers and fathers. This usually happens around 14 to 18 months. Mary Ainsworth showed that infant and mother attachments vary. Mary Ainsworth used a method namely strange situation procedure. Were infants are exposed of eight separation and reunion episodes to see the quality of attachment. Attachment falls into three categories, secure attachment, avoidant attachment and anxious attachment. Most infants develop secure attachments, children play comfortable with the mother present do get visibly upset when the mother is leaving and calms again when the child’s mother returns. Avoidance attachment children seek little contact with their mothers and are not stressed when the mother leaves. Anxious attachment, child appear anxious even when the child’s mothers is near, and the child will protest when she leaves. researchers added a fourth one to the category disorganised-disorientated attachment, children appear confuse don’t now whether they should approach their mother or avoid her however these children are very insecure then other. Maternal behaviour has a big influence over the type of attachment which emerges between mother and infant (Weiten, 2016).
Physical and cognitive developmental implications are the transitions of the pattern of children thinking, problem solving and reasoning. The theory of cognitive development was dominated by Jean Piagets theory, Jean Piagets was considered the most influential developmental psychologist. The theory viewed at children’s thinking and their learning. Piagets proposed four major stages for cognitive development. the four stages include the following sensorimotor period, preoperational period, concrete operational period and formal operational theory. Sensorimotor last from birth to about age 2, the child starts to use their sensory input. The child would begin to use memory and thoughts, child learns to look to touch. Preoperational period happens from ages 2 to 7 children start to use their mental images. Child develops how to use symbols including language, child is having difficulties to see someone else’s point of view. Concrete operational happen from age 7 to 11, the development of mental operations and transformations that are internal and the manipulation of mental structures. Child will be able to solve problems that are concrete, child will start to understand some operations of mathematics. Formal operational usually starts at age 11 this is the last stage, children will start to apply mental operations to abstract concepts. Child will start to be concerned about social issues and identity, the child also becomes more scientific in thinking then before (Weiten, 2016).
Effects of day-care or lack thereof on children’s emotional, cognitive and social development. Children need to go to a day care in day care they can start to communicate with different kinds of people and it will only make things easier for your child she will begin to understand things more. Most children in day care makes friends which can lead to friendship if the child was not in the day care he/she would be home and would not be able to communicate with people the child’s same age. A day care has many positives and negatives. So many people ask if a day care influence your child behaviour I would say yes. A child is small so if there is a child that is very difficult in the day care your child would also become difficult. One child teaches the other one. On the other hand, the caretakers can help with that if they see that the child have done something wrong the child should be punished so that the other children can see that what this child did was not right and that if you have done something wrong there is always consequences.
Discuss how these possible effects(a-d) be ameliorated. During pregnancy’s mothers should try and keep their mind of things that will make them depressed or nervous. Rather go and talk to someone about the things that bother you then holding it all in and harming an unborn child. Don’t put yourself in a situation you know you can’t handle at that very moment. While you are busy stressing or being depressed the baby knows it. Mothers and their unborn child have a bond even if they are not born yet. Drinking alcohol or using other substances won’t make you feel better it will only make you feel worse. Rather go and get help at a rehab or talk to a Psychologist, if a woman who is pregnant wants to throw herself at alcohol or drugs rather do something else to get your mind set straight. Before you do such thing, ask yourself is it safe for my unborn child?
Weiten, W. ; Hassim, J. Ed. 2016. Psychology: Themes and Variations A South African Perspective. 2 nd South African Edition. Pretoria: Cengage Learning.
Name: Léhana van Zyl
Student number: 201802139
I declare that this is my own original work. Where secondary material has been used (either from a printed source or from the internet), this has been carefully acknowledged and referenced in accordance with university requirements. I understand what plagiarism is and am aware of the university’s policy in this regard. I have not allowed anyone else to copy my work.
Date: 27 August 2018