The process of child development

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A number of shifts and stability from conception to puberty are involved in the process of child growth. In psychology, there are diverse developmental principles that concentrate on child development. The film “Juno” by Jason Reitman illustrates these theories of creation in an age where contradictory anti-sex discourses were met with sexual education. The film is a touching pregnancy tale that seeks to resolve the uncertainty that adolescents face in today’s sexualized youth culture as they begin to understand their masculinity and femininity.Optimal development of children is vital to the society, hence the need to understand the educational, social, cognitive and emotional development changes that occur during childhood ( Shirilla, Joan & Weatherston, pp.4).

In developmental psychology, certain theories are applied in the assessment of the human mind. The first theory is the Psychoanalytic theory by Sigmund Freud that tries to explain why children are driven by sexual impulses and aggression. The theory explains that human development is shaped by unconscious forces. According to Freud; development is a series of psychosexual stages where any form of conflict can have a lasting influence on personality and behavior. In addition, Freud also believes that the personality is composed of a primary component known as the ID which is driven by the pleasure principle leading to anxiety and tension if the person’s desire is not achieved (Nevid, pp.412).When Juno realizes that she is pregnant, she makes an impulsive decision to terminate it. Nonetheless, she ends up choosing life and adoption for her baby. One of the strongest elements in her personality is when she sees the baby in the ultrasound footage and reacts emotionally the little person growing inside of her.

The second theory is known as the learning theory; this human development view holds that behavioral changes are as a result of adaptation and experience. A child learns from the environment surrounding them. In the film, Juno makes a brief stop at the abortion clinic but is unable to go ahead with the abortion because of her life experiences and she opts to find suitable adoptive parents for her baby despite her desperate circumstances. Vanessa drinks wine to enable her to relax in the difficult situation and Juno jokes that she drinks a lot of booze and might give birth to a baby without genitals “Juno” (Jason Reitman, 2008).The obscene scenes involve the use of crude and profane language, as euphemisms for sex, are noted in most of the scenes depicting an immoral society. Juno entertains the idea of hanging herself. However, she results to tell her dad and stepmom about the pregnancy and their reaction is rather gracious helping them form an even stronger bond and this is vividly displayed in Juno’s relationship with her unborn baby.

The cognitive theory views that a child’s thought processes are central to development and tend to seek out behaviors which they are used to (Shaffer, David & Kipp, pp. 201).For instance; a child who grows up in an abusive environment will tend to be attracted to aggressive or submissive partners depending on their gender. Throughout the film, the medical practitioners are seen to be more judgmental than the parents instead of offering support. Without any consideration of rules, sex is likely to occur between friends and is not necessarily a precursor for deepening commitment. One of the complicated factors that teens experience in defining their relationships understands their environment. Likewise, pregnancy these days is lacking in social stigma. The film poses several questions in the minds of the viewer’s inspiring a positive perspective towards the pregnancy and making the right decisions. The teenagers in the movies seem to fail to understand their culture and Juno’s experiences reinforce the lack of morality in the youth today.


Juno. Jason Reitman.20th Century Fox, DVD Release Date: April 15, 2008, n.d. Print.

Nevid, Jeffrey S. Essentials of Psychology: Concepts and Applications. , 2015. Print.

Shaffer, David R, and Katherine Kipp. Developmental Psychology: Childhood and Adolescence. Australia: Wadsworth, 2014. Print.

Shirilla, Joan J., and Deborah Weatherston, eds. Case studies in infant mental health: Risk, resiliency, and relationships. Zero to Three, 2002.

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