Child Study Research Paper

School-age children have certain behavioral patterns in their developmental years that manifest themselves in different ways. Developmental variations can affect a child's behavior as well as his or her ability to learn. In addition to being able to teach, educators must also be capable of understanding these behavioral patterns and evaluating behavioral problems. Accordingly, this article will also discuss a teacher's capacity to evaluate behavioral patterns and how this ability is connected to successfully teaching school age children. Finally, this article will include a discussion of the role that parents and families play in conjunction with teachers to create a satisfying classroom experience for children and teachers alike.

Keywords Abnormal Behavior; Autonomy; Childhood Development; Cultural Differences; Developmental Stages; Emotional Development; Empathy; Motor Skills; National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC); PsychoSocial Crises; Social Development; Variations in Development


The study of childhood development is a thoroughly analyzed field and this article will relate that area of study to the successful teaching of young children. As children progress through the first five to seven years of life, a number of developmental stages occur. During this time, there are variations in development that can affect a child's behavior. These variations, in turn, are influenced by a host of factors. Further, determining whether or not that behavior is normal depends on a number of considerations. According to Schor (2000), most children have basic desires for recognition, success, acceptance and unconditional love. Children also have corollary needs for privacy and autonomy. In addition to these basic needs and desires, as children grow, they also experience transitions of life that include entering school, meeting new people and making friends, as well as trying new activities.

As children go through these stages of development and life changes, their behavior also undergoes changes, and while there is a difference between normal and abnormal behavior, determining the difference between the two can be difficult. This is because there are a number of influences that affect a child's behavior. At times, these differences are related to the differences between an individual child's unique developmental growth as well as external influences such as social factors. These factors are usually related to family issues and there are many differences in family styles, sizes, cultures, and even schedules that come into play. There are however, clues to determine if certain behaviors are abnormal.

For example, some children are very well behaved. In fact, they may be too well behaved. According to the Schor (2000), these children have been found to be "overly anxious to please, very needy of attention, love and approval or fearful of rejection." Such children have been found to be "overly cautious, shy and insecure." Other abnormal behavior patterns are seen in children who intentionally do poorly in school, refuse to follow rules and seek out "no-win" situations. These children often lack self-esteem and self-confidence (Schor, 2000).

The fact that certain children develop the so-called abnormal behaviors elucidated above while other children seem to progress normally through the early stages of life can be attributed to a number of factors. The study of the social development and emotional development of children is rooted in the work of child psychologist Erik Erikson. He established criteria for stages of development that are widely followed by child psychologists. Moreover, he termed these stages psychosocial crises that demand resolution before the next stage can be handled. Some of the early stages of development include learning basic trust, learning autonomy, learning initiative, learning industry, and learning identity (Schor, 2000).

During a child's formative years, parents, guardians and families have the greatest influence on this development. At this time, children should develop the capacity to trust and have a sense of basic optimism. Well-adjusted children also become sure of themselves, or autonomous. As children continue to grow, they develop new skills by playing and fantasizing. In so doing, they should learn to cooperate with others, and should be able to relate with their peers. As children enter school, they should be able to follow rules and work in a team environment. When they begin more formal studies of reading and math, and are given homework, they should have the self-discipline to meet these challenges. In short, children that have successfully developed through the first stages of childhood should be trusting, autonomous, and have initiative. Children who have not resolved these so-called psychosocial crises become mistrusting and are doubtful about the future. Such children usually experience defeat and feel inferior (Schor, 2000).


There are a number of reasons why certain children are able to master the early stages of development while others seem to lag or have behavioral or emotional problems. Some of these variations in development are natural and arise from the different paces at which children develop. In these cases, a child that apparently is developing more slowly may not in fact be experiencing a problem or exhibiting an abnormal behavior pattern. In addition, a number of family-related factors also influence a child's early development. For example, children born into a family where there are cultural and ethnic differences may develop at a different pace. In homes where English is not the primary language, there can be apparent delays in emotional development that can be the result of a child's ability to learn to speak English outside of the home.


Emotional Development

There are other factors that contribute to variations in the pace of emotional development in children. In particular, there are variations in development stages for boys and girls. In her article, "Guiding Boys in the Early Years to Lead Healthy Emotional Lives," Christine Mercurio (2003) contends that there are differences in the development of boys and girls. She states that boys and girls have different capabilities and that this is seen in their capacity for "mathematical reasoning, mechanical reasoning and greater motor coordination." Her research indicates that in these areas young boys usually are more advanced than girls. On the other hand, girls show a greater capacity for "fine motor coordination, memory of sequential details and social cognition" (Mercurio, 2003).

Motor Skills

Motor skills are essentially actions that enable people to move the muscles in their bodies. "Greater" motor skills relate to the movement of the arms, legs, feet and the entire body in general. The development of these skills is seen as children begin to crawl, then walk, and then by running and jumping. "Fine" motor skills, on the other hand, are smaller actions such as being able to grasp objects with the hands, and to use the lips and tongue to taste objects. While there are differences between boys and girls, children attain these developmental benchmarks at different rates and acquire these skills at their own paces.

Communication Styles

Boys and girls also display different styles of communication. While boys tend to be more adversarial, girls tend to be agreeable and more likely to have empathy. Girls tend to externalize positive emotions and internalize sadness and anxiety (Chaplin & Aldao, 2013), whereas boys appear to have a harder time expressing emotions, in particular anger. Many teachers claim that boys can be more troublesome than girls. This can be seen by the fact that boys are more likely to shout, to be stubborn, to argue and to seek attention. In so doing they also are likely to disrupt others. Such behavior usually causes a teacher to react negatively. The gender of the teacher can also be important in light of the fact that the majority of teachers of childhood-aged students are women. For Mercurio, "boys need to master an environment in which they feel tested." But the challenge for girls is to "find a voice … while guarding against the danger of fracturing relationships and being cut off from them" (Mercurio, 2003 p. 256).

While differences between boys and girls' development are...

Previously, in our first guide, we discussed 12 facts for research paper on child development, which, we are certain, acknowledged you with quality information.

In this guide, however, we will be focusing on 20 child development research paper topics, which are perfect if you are in a hurry and don’t want to waste your time looking for a good topic for your research paper.

Of course, you don’t want to forget reading our last guideline, writer’s manual for research paper on child development, which is perfect for polishing your research paper writing skills and improving the composition of your paper further.

Without further ado, here are the 20 Child Development Research Paper Topics:

  1. How Children Change and Grow over the Course of First 12 Years
  2. Why Child Development was Largely Ignored Throughout the History
  3. The Social, Emotional and Cognitive Aspects of Child Development and Growth
  4. The Benefits of Studying How a Child Grows, Change and Learns Things.
  5. A Research Paper on the Forming of Ego in the Stages of Child Development
  6. A Research Study on Behavioral Child Development Studies
  7. Does Environment Really Play a Significant Role in Child Development?
  8. The Influence of Parents, Peers and Caregivers on the Development of a Child
  9. Why Child Development Plays a Vital Role in Shaping the a Person’s Entire Life
  10. The Reason behind the Children’s Active and Hands-on Experience Learning
  11. What Kind of Child Development Takes Place During Prenatal Stage?
  12. Are Children Really More Intelligent and Creative than Average Adults?
  13. Why Play is Significant in Helping Children Learn and Understand Life
  14. Why Speaking to a Real Person Is More Important for a Child’s Growth than Just Playing Games
  15. How a More Frequent Social Interaction can Help Babies Learn More and Faster
  16. Why Premature Babies are Vulnerable to Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
  17. How Much Time Should Parents Spend With Children to Help Their Brain Develop?
  18. Can Music Increase Visual, Motor, Attention and Mathematical Skills of in Children?
  19. The Five Stages of Psychological Development in Children Explained
  20. The Four Kind of Parenting and The One You Should Adapt

Here you go! Now you have 20 topics to choose from and start writing. But before you do that, have a look at our sample essay that we have written below. It will give you a good idea on how a research paper is written and composed. Here it is:

A Short Sample Essay on Why Play is Significant in Helping Children Learn and Understand Life

Play is more significant than you might think it is.

Play has a vital role in developing several aspects of a child. While it may seem nothing to you but science has shown that playing with kids or letting them play with toys, pets and even themselves, allows them to overcome physical and mental challenges. When children are playing, they learn to solve problems quickly, and can hone skills far better than those who don’t have the luxury to play. In this paper, you are going to see the benefits of play and why it’s significant in helping children learn and understand life.

Imaginative play is one of the most common aspects of a baby, which starts around at the age of 2. Everything that a child perceives, becomes his playing thing in his imagination. According to researchers, this is due to the fact that these imaginations become a recognition symbol. For example, a baby can see chunks of woods and imagine it to come into life and turn into a drum set or a boat. This makes a child’s brain work on its own bringing in new ideas.

This play allows children to understand that any object can actually transform in something better, hence, making them understand how the real-world works. While we may not notice how to play impacts a child in the early years, science has proven that it plays a vital role in the long-run.

With imaginative play, a child can understand the phenomenon of a superhero, a father or a police officer very easily. A baby experiments with identities and professions to explore different scenarios and outcomes that can take place during his/her life.

To be as simple as possible, imaginative play allows your child to have a sense of control because he becomes the master of interpreting the practices of the real-world and how everyday life works.

However, when a baby grows into a toddler, his play changes and becomes, what is known as, the parallel play. This helps children socialize with other children, creating story lines that are so complex that only they can understand.

It helps them understand what the terms like co-operation negotiation and sharing really is. According to Sara Wilford, director of the Art of Teaching Graduate Program at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, when children start to disagree with something and want to take decision, they start developing social skills.

Physical play on the other hand, allows children to have control over their bodies. By skipping, they can learn how to keep balance. Climbing monkey bars would allow their body to build strength and muscle. Sport activities, that involve groups, would help them understand coordination. Primary motor skills, such as running, pedaling, throwing etc. improve first before anything else. Fine motor skills, however, also start taking place at the age of 3, if the child is consistently being playful.

Physical play can also allow children to understand what stress and crankiness is. Your child likes to remain fit, which is why he demands a little physical play almost every hour or so (after the age of 3). This is because a child can become grumpy or tense if he hasn’t been active for an adequate amount of time. It may also cause the child to gain weight (unhealthy).

This play is so important that it helps them overcome mental challenges too. For example, if a baby can’t express a complex problem he’s going through; he will likely express it through physical play or would review it again and again until he finds a solution to it. This helps children overcome fear, and makes them independent.

Play also helps in creating independence and ingenuity in children. If a child is involved in multiple play routines, he/she will be able to dress and feed himself. Believe it or not, but research has shown that adults who have been more playful in their childhood, did better at school, at sports, jobs and pretty much everything.

These are the benefits that a child attains from play, which is why introducing playful habits and activities to a newborn child is very significant to improve child development.

Perfect! Since now you have read our first guide i.e. 12 facts for a research paper on child development and this one. It’s time to move to our final guide i.e. writer’s manual for research paper on child development, which would help you to lay a strong foundation of how a research paper is beautifully composed and written.


  1. Geraldine French, (2007) – Children’s early learning and development, A Research Paper by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)
  2. UNICEF, Early Childhood Development, The Key to Full and Productive Life.
  3. Wisconsin Child Welfare Training System, Effects of Abuse & Neglect: A Focus on Typical Development.
  4. Dan Tynan and Christina Wood, (2016) – Amazing development facts about your child, Baby Development by BabyCenter.
  5. Aamodt, Sandra, and Sam Wang, (2011) – Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.
  6. Nick Bilton, (2013) – The Child, the Tablet and the Developing Mind, The New York Times.
  7. Mooney, Carol Garhart. 2000. Theories of Childhood: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget, & Vygotsky. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.

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