I was asked to create and answer questions about a virtual child. When I was told this was an assignment I thought “this should be easy”. Boy was I wrong! I found many things can affect the outcome of my child. If I am too strict or too easy, the child’s behavior will show this. Over time, this will also affect the child’s temperament. I have learned that some of my classmates’ virtual children are harder to get along with and require more discipline then others. I decided to just trust my instinct and answer the questions as if they were for a real child.
In this report you will see how my answers affected my virtual daughter Alexis and, my experience throughout the duration of the assignment. 0-8 MONTHS 1. How does your baby’s eating, sleeping and motor development compare to the typical developmental patterns? ~Alexis’s motor skills are typical for her age, crawling, sitting up, and standing up, but not walking yet. Her sleeping habits are normal for her age. Infants normally sleep sixteen-seventeen hours a day. For the first week or so Alexis wasn’t very hungry and actually lost a little weight, she has now started eating and has gained back some of the weight she lost. . At 8 months of age was your child an “easy”, “slow-to-warm-up”, or “difficult” baby in terms of Thomas and Chess’s classic temperamental categories? On what do you base this judgment? ~Alexis was an easy baby. She had a positive disposition and her body functions operated regularly. She is mostly positive and shows intense interest in her surroundings. She smiles at familiar people and toys, and she is able to laugh at funny and is developing lots of cute little habits. 3. How is your child’s attachment to you and your partner developing?
What is happening at the 3-month and 8-month periods that might affect attachment security according to Bowlby and Ainsworth, and various research studies? ~Alexis is more attached to me than my partner. She is able to focus her eyes on me and she studies my face. When Alexis started daycare she would usually cried when I dropped her off but got over it quickly. Now she is use to it and doesn’t seem to have any problem with it. 8-18 MONTHS 1. Describe and give examples of changes in your child’s exploratory or problem solving behavior from 8 through 18 months and categorize them according to Piagetian and information processing theories.
Note that 8 months is included, so you’ll need to use the time-line to look back at 8 months for examples. ~When Alexis was 8 months she was in substage 3 based on Piaget’s 6 substages. . I played a hiding game with Alexis, she could find the object when I hid it in the same spot but was unable to find it if I put it in a different place. Now Alexis is in the substage 4, based on Piaget’s 6 substages. I played a hiding game with Alexis again and she was able to find the object even after long delays and seemed to think this is was great game. 2. Analyze your baby’s temperament in more detail at 18 months than you did at 8 months.
How would you describe your baby in terms of the five aspects of temperament utilized by the Virtual Child program (activity, sociability, emotionality, aggressiveness vs. cooperativeness, and self-control)? Has Alexis’s temperament been stable over the first 18 months? A blurb defining and providing examples of the five aspects of temperament is provided at 12 months, but you should seek out further explanations of temperament from your textbook. Explain how the concept of goodness of fit (also discussed in the blurb on infant temperament) applies to your interactions with your child. Alexis is very active and is a very social baby. She isn’t aggressive at all and she cooperates very well. I play with Alexis and introduce her to new things and she seems to enjoy it very much. 3. Were you surprised by anything in the developmental assessment at 19 months? That is, does your perception of your child’s physical, cognitive, language and social development differ from that of the developmental examiner? Give specific examples. If you were not surprised, write instead about some aspects of your child’s development that need the most work. I was very surprised that Alexis scored above average in all aspects of language development and she was above age-norms for building a block tower to model one made by the examiner and other skills such as copying shapes, coloring within the lines and solving picture puzzles. 2 YEARS OLD 1. Have there been any environmental events in your child’s first 2 1/2 years that you think might have influenced his or her behavior? On what do you base your hypotheses? ~She is now in preschool and I think it has been difficult for her because she isn’t use to the new caregiver and environment.
Another instance is she was in an accident with her tricycle and she is now afraid to ride it. 2. How is your child progressing on typical toddler issues, such as learning household rules, learning to follow routines, listening to you, developing self-control and learning to get along with other children? ~She has been doing well with learning household rules and listing to me. Sometimes she looks guilty when she breaks something, or embarrassment when she has a potty accident. She gets along with other children good. 3. Analyze your own parenting philosophy and practices.
What principles from social learning theory, Bowlby, Ainsworth, Piaget, Vygotsky, information processing theory, developmental neuroscience and other theories do you appear to have relied on in making your parenting choices or interpreting your child’s behavior? Include three principles/theorists from the above list in your answer. ~My parenting practices and philosophy come from my experience as a child. I remember when I was young my parents didn’t really push me to succeed and learn new things. I want my child to explore and learn as much as she can.
My parents were also lenient when it came to me getting in trouble which made me do worse things when I was older because I knew the consequences wouldn’t be so bad. That made me want to be a strict parent. 3 YEARS OLD 1. What activities and experiences you and your child have engaged in might be promoting healthy behavioral practices and an interest in physical activity? ~Alexis like to play hide and seek and likes to play sports for a short time. I think this will help her be more interested in sports when she gets older which, will make her an active child, reducing the chance of obesity. . Describe development of your child’s language and cognitive skills and discuss how these might be affecting his or her interactions with you ; your responses. ~Alexis’s language development is very good. She likes to tell people about things she has done, but she sometimes leaves out details. When I hear her telling stories I ask questions to help her to fill in a few details. Alexis is also fascinated with her new baby sister Ashlynn and tells everyone about her. 3. How well is your child adapting to social situations in the home and outside the home?
Does your child have any behavior or emotional problems at this point? Why do you think these problems are occurring and what are you doing about them? ~Alexis clings more to adults and only has a few friends in preschool. The only behavioral problem she has is acting up in public places and she is somewhat anxious and unsure of herself in social situations. I think these problems are occurring because she is constantly around adults. I’m going to invite a few friends over and have play dates to help her get use to children. 4 YEARS OLD 1. How would you characterize your parenting style?
How have your specific parenting techniques changed since infancy? In what ways do you think your parenting style, or any other aspect of your parenting, has been influenced by your cultural background or other experiences? ~My parenting style is Authoritative. I set rules and boundaries and if they are not followed there are repercussions but, at the same time I am a loving parent and I am emotionally supportive. My parenting techniques have been about the same since Alexis was a baby. I don’t think my parenting skills have been influenced by my cultural background at all.
My experiences might have influenced my parenting because I was treated horribly when I was a child so I know I don’t want my child treated like that. 2. Describe two specific examples of changes in your child’s behavior at age 4 that seem to stem from growth in cognitive and language ability since the period of infancy (e. g. , improvements in symbolic thinking, reasoning, knowledge of the world, theory of mind). ~Alexis’s symbolic thinking and reasoning has grown a lot since infancy. She is above average in her problem solving skills and language abilities.
She can solve problems with more than two steps and she can complete full sentences. 3. How would you characterize your child’s personality? Would you say that your child is primarily overcontrolled, undercontrolled or resilient? Support your argument. ~Alexis is in the overcontrolled category. She is cooperative, and follows the rules, but she is very shy in social situations and anxious and clingy under pressure. For example, when she is in class and is asked to join a group for work she gets very unsure of herself and clings to the teacher. 6 YEARS OLD . How well is your child adapting to social situations in the home and outside the home? Does your child have any behavior or emotional problems at this point? Why do you think these problems are occurring and what are you doing about them? ~Alexis is doing well in social situations she has made more friends and she isn’t as clingy towards adults as she was before. Alexis still acts up on occasion in public places but overall has been doing great. 2. Do you notice any improvements in cognitive and language skills since age 4? Give specific examples.
Does your child have any special needs with regard to cognitive or language development at this point and what do you plan to do? ~Alexis’s cognitive and language skills are above average. Alexis’s memory is getting better. She beats me on memory games such as Concentration because she remembers where the cards are located. But when she tells people about things that happened to her, she leaves a lot of details out and sometimes gets the order wrong. I join in the retelling of the experience, prompting Alexis with questions, rather than just butting in and telling it myself. . Which aspects of your child’s behavior and personality reflect continuities from earlier behavior (e. g. , at ages 3-4 years) and which seem to be novel for this age level? ~Alexis doesn’t act up in public places anymore like she used to. But she does like to cheat when we play games. Her personality is about the same a sweet girl who sometimes gets nervous and shy and looks to an adult to help her out. She has made more friends. Alexis has become a kind of quiet leader of her small group of friends in first grade. She is still a bit shy, but well-liked by the other kids YEARS OLD 1. How smart is your child, and in what areas? Think back to the blurb on multiple intelligences that appeared at age 6. Find specific evidence regarding your child’s verbal, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical and bodily-kinesthetic intelligence from your observations of your own child as well as the psychologist’s report at age 8 years, 11 months. ~Alexis is very smart for her age. She is grate in solving problems, telling stories, and she is very talented in piano and singing. Alexis Demonstrates strength in her reading and writing.
Alexis is able to hold her own in conversations with adults, and uses some surprisingly difficult words in her speech. She also is beginning to use this vocabulary in her writing for school. Areas of speaking and listening and in content knowledge of social studies and science, areas of mathematical problem solving, understanding of data and number concepts and, in the areas of spatial understanding and visual arts. 2. Describe some examples of your child’s behavior or thinking that you think are due to typical American gender role socialization and explain why you think so.
Several examples can be found at ages 6 and 8. How closely does your attitude toward gender roles correspond to typical American attitudes, and if there is a discrepancy, to what do you attribute this (e. g. , cultural background, attitudes of your own parents, etc. )? ~Alexis likes to follow me around and do what I do. Alexis enjoys playing sports with one of her friend’s brothers, and sometimes Alexis will also play sports with some of the boys on the block. Alexis is able to play with both boys and girls at school, but mostly plays with girls.
I have taught Alexis that she can do whatever she want’s. Such as being a police women or a sports athlete. I grew up playing with cars and toy soldiers as well as Barbie dolls to me it doesn’t matter what gender you are. 3. How might your child’s development have been different if s/he was raised by people with a different socioeconomic, ethnic or cultural background? Base your answer on specific evidence of SES/cultural differences from the textbook and class lectures. ~Different cultures have different views on how a child should be raised.
For instance a child in a Chinese household would have to focus more on school and less on activities and would have much stricter rules. Or a female child in a Hipic culture would focus more on home economics. 10 YEARS OLD 1. Describe your child’s academic skills between ages 6 and 10 and assess how well these skills are developing. The 5th grade report card will be useful for this but you should also incorporate your own observations. What are you doing to help your child? ~Alexis demonstrates strength in all areas of reading, and in spelling and appropriate for grade level in writing. Alexis s also demonstrating strength in the areas of speaking and listening and in content knowledge of social studies and science, in the areas of mathematical problem solving, understanding of data, number concepts, graphical applications, and arithmetic computation, in the area of art as well as in area of music. She is very smart. I help her by introducing her to new things and encouraging her to write, work on music and her art work. 2. How well is your child adapting to social situations in the home and outside the home? Does your child have any behavior or emotional problems at this point?
Why do you think these problems are occurring and what are you doing about them? ~Alexis is doing good in outside social situations. She is already adept at social networking. She adds photos to the family page every so often and sends messages to her friends. Alexis likes to go on weekends and hang out there with one or two friends. At home she sometimes fights with her sister Ashlynn. Sometimes Alexis gets upset in stressful situations inside or outside the classroom, and will withdraw from activities or become anxious or moody. She usually improves before the day is over.
When she fights with her sister I put her in time out and tell her what she did wrong and why it is wrong. 3. Has your parenting changed since the preschool period and if so, why do you think it has changed and what effect might this have on your child? Refer to your textbook or lecture notes for evidence on typical changes in parenting that occur in middle childhood. ~I don’t think my parenting has changed at all. I’m still a strict but loving parent and I still help Alexis excel in her school and music and other activities that interest her. 12 YEARS OLD 1. Describe any physical or behavioral signs of incipient puberty. Alexis argues with me more, mostly about clothes bedtime and chores but otherwise we get along pretty well. I have to renegotiate household rules more then I use to with Alexis. And I have to make reasonable concessions, such as a later bedtime in exchange for more chores. Alexis has shown an interest in boys and likes to talk about hot actors or musicians. I’ve also noticed she’s been reading magazine articles about sex. Alexis thinks she’s too fat due to a growth spurt. She has taken to staring at herself in the mirror and refusing to wear certain clothes that she thinks make her look big.
She seems to be more interested in hanging out with her friends than studying, and tries to get out of doing homework. Alexis has been getting teased for not wearing a bra because she is developing. 2. How would you characterize your child at this point in terms of the under-controlled, over-controlled or resilient categories? Have there been any changes since the preschool period and why might they have occurred? ~Alexis is now in the undercontrolled category she does not follow the rules, and has a tendency to become distracted and overly emotional, particularly when under stress.
When she was in preschool she was undercontrolled. I believe these changes have occurred because she has hit puberty and has entered a sort of rebellious stage. 3. Using the 7th grade report card and your own observations, summarize your child’s academic skills at this point. What specific activities might promote some of these skills? ~Alexis is still doing great in school making straight A’s. She needs to focus more on time management, working independently in the class room and finishing homework on time. Some activities to promote her good grades would be to encourage her to keep it up. 5 YEARS OLD 1. What activities and experiences at ages 12 and 14 has your teen been involved in that might promote healthy behavioral practices, physical fitness and skill in sports? ~Alexis tried out for the high school dance team and made it. Alexis practices routines and stretches at home quite often. She also played a little bit of Tennis one summer. She likes to do outdoorsy things lik going camping. I believe these things will help promote healthy behaviors. 2. Have there been any changes in your teen’s behavior toward you or your partner? Why are these occurring and how are you responding? Alexis occasionally gets upset and becomes cranky or gives us the silent treatment when we have discussions about issues such as bedtime, chores, curfew, clothing choices, music choices, etc. , but otherwise we get along pretty well. When we have discussions and she gets like this I drop it and talk to her about it more once she has calmed down. 3. Do you see any examples of how cognitive and physical changes in early adolescence (ages 12-14) relate to your teen’s social or emotional behavior? ~Now that she’s older she wants to hang out with friends more and she’s a lot more social.
She was a little emotional about her body because of the changes puberty brought on. Along with puberty came a lot of emotional ups and downs. 16 YEARS OLD 1. Think about your teen’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses and how they are reflected in his or her school grades and activities from 14-16 years of age. What careers or courses of study might be best suited to your teen’s abilities and interests? ~Based off of Alexis’s grades and interest, I think she would be best suited for a career in science, art, or music. She has excelled in these three subjects and she enjoys them very much.
The most practical career would most likely be in science. 2. How important have your teen’s relationships with peers been to his/her social development, emotional well-being and school achievement from 14-16 years of age? ~It has been very important to her social development and wellbeing. It has helped her socially by getting her interested in things teens her age should be interested in and has made her emotional well-being much better. It hasn’t helped her school achievements much, she would rather hang out with her peers instead of doing homework or working on school things. 3.
How has your teen adjusted at 14-16 years of age to typical adolescent issues such as risk-taking, drugs, alcohol, and sexual interests, and how have you responded to your teen? ~She has experimented with alcohol, I talked to her and grounded her. She has been dating a boy for a few months and says she’s in love so I talked to her about sex, birth control and condoms. 18 YEARS OLD 1. As the program ends, what pathways does your child appear to be on in terms of physical, cognitive, social, emotional and moral development? To what extent could you have predicted these pathways based on what you knew of your child’s earlier development?
Describe some specific ways in which you think your parenting mattered for your child’s development, based on evidence from the course regarding the contributions of parents to child development. ~I think Alexis will continue dancing and she is on a great path for education. She had magnificent grades and did great on her PSAT’s. I believe she will get into a great college and have a great career. She has good social skills and even though she is a little emotional I think she will make good friends in the future. Her moral development is good she knows what’s right and what’s wrong and I think she will act accordingly.
I knew Alexis would be smart from the time she was little. She always wanted to learn and she always did great in her academics. My parenting skills helped her achive as much as she did because I always encouraged her to learn and do what made her happy but at the same time I was strict and made sure what she needed to get done was done. 2. Describe some specific ways in which your child developed that appeared to be influenced by factors outside your control, such as genes, random environmental events or the general influence of contemporary middle-class American culture. I think her shyness was probably a genetic factor. I also think that her school environment and the influence of other children her age made her the way she is. Our culture also influenced her with music and T. V. 3. Bonus Question: Are there any issues you had with your parents, your school work, your friends, or your romantic involvements in the last year of high school that continued to be issues for you in college? Reflect on your own personality, interests and cognitive abilities at the time you graduated high school. How did these personality characteristics and abilities manifest themselves in subsequent years?
How have they changed since your high school days, if at all? ~My last year of high school my foster mother passed away which really affected my school work which made college harder for me. I love music it’s my passion and I think when I left high school I focused more on it because I had more time to do so. When I first started my virtual child I figured it would be easy, and at first it was. After I created my user name and password I was prompted to answer a few questions to help determine my baby’s gender and inherited traits.
A few minutes later my virtual daughter Alexis was born. I have to say that doing virtual child was by far a great experience. I was very eager to do this project because I believed it would show me what kind of mother I will be when I decide I’m ready for children in real life. A few weeks after Alexis was born she was somewhat lethargic, didn’t want to eat very much, and she hadn’t gained much weight. When I read this I was a little worried. I then read that I took her to a pediatrician and he said it was nothing serious.
I thought it was a little strange as well so I looked it up. I learned that it is normal for newborn babies to stay around the same weight or even lose weight within the first few weeks, after that, babies generally start eating more and gaining weight. I also learned when a baby loses weight they can become lethargic from lack of energy due to not eating enough. A short time passed and Alexis was eating heartily and gaining weight back. While raising Alexis I learned a lot of things. Like that genetics play a key part in her temperament.
For example, the questionnaire I answered at the beginning asked me about my sleeping habits, and I answered that I slept often and I was told that Alexis sleeps virtually all the time. At every stage, I learned something new about the stages of development. When Alexis was five weeks old I wanted Alexis to be curious about her environment so I gave Alexis a lot of audio stimulation, including talking to her, singing to her, and putting on music for her to listen to. At eighteen months Alexis was very interested in music, and often danced to the rhythm.
Then when Alexis was five she impressed everyone who heard her with her singing ability and ability to play songs by ear on the portable keyboard. I think playing music for her when she was a baby influenced this. At three months, Alexis started to make sounds like she was trying to speak to me. So I would encourage her by talking back with her. One of the things I thought was cute about Alexis was that she would smile at familiar people and toys, and she was able to laugh at surprising or funny things like playing peek-a-boo.
Alexis also preferred people over objects and smiled and interacted with nearly everyone. This made me feel good about how I was raising her. One part of the program said that my “mother” would come over and watch Alexis while I went out with my “husband” but I would call and check on her often. I think I would probably do that in real life. I think good mothers always worry about their children. When Alexis was fifteen months old, I noticed she would often study things in her environment and perform simple little experiments with them, almost like a little scientist.
Right away I thought it was interesting. I found out later on when she was older that she enjoyed science very much. I thought to myself, wow, things that you do when you are young carry on in to your older years. This made me think about what I was interested in when I was younger. When I was about four I sang in church and now I’m twenty-two and I still love to sing and write lyrics. I had never thought about it before and I thought it was cool to compare it with my life. When Alexis was ten she got into social networking. I was kind of shocked to learn this.
Even though I know computers and internet are very common these days, I wasn’t aware such young children were using social networks such as Facebook. When I was ten I didn’t even know what a computer was. Coming from my background and my raising I do not think I would let my child on a social network until they were at least fourteen. I just believe there are too many predators on the internet to let a ten year old join Facebook. A few times in the program Alexis told me that I was more supportive and approving of her than the average parent.
She also said that I was stricter than most of the other children’s parents. Even though Alexis is a virtual child this comment made me feel really good. When I do have a child this is exactly the kind of parent I want to be. When I was growing up my parents were not very supportive of me at all and they were extremely strict. I do not want to be like that so knowing I was making the right choices brought me great joy. In Alexis’s teenage years she started becoming more isolated and emotional. She started spending a lot of time in her room and was very moody.
She also became a lot less corporative. At first I thought it was because I did something wrong but, I started thinking about myself and other teenagers I know. From my own experience I figured out that that is just something that comes with puberty. Realizing that this was normal for teens, it helped me see that not everything was my foster parents fault when I was a teen, some of it was actually me. I believe this information will also help me when I have a teenager of my own. When Alexis was sixteen she got a part time job at a grocery store. This was an important thing for me.
When I was fifteen I got my first job and it helped me become more independent. I was able to save money during the summer and buy my own school clothes and did not have to rely on my parents for much. It made the transition from living with parents to living on my own a lot easier. I think this will help Alexis strengthen her independence when she becomes an adult. Alexis was a straight A student all through school. This made me feel extremely proud of my virtual daughter. I believe that school is a very important part of having a successful life.
When I was in school I strived to do my best so that I could go to college and have a great life. This experience with my virtual child was a very important one. To know my child was doing excellent in school told me I was doing something right in my parenting method. Some things that I found challenging in this assignment was the fact that there was not as much information as I thought there would be and what information was there was very spread out. I think it would have been easier if during the infant years they gave information for every month instead of every three months.
Also some of the information given to was a kind of confusing and I did not agree with some of the answers to the questions because, in my mind, I could come up with so much more scenarios. My virtual child definitely challenged me and putt my mind to work. Some of the things that were easy for me during this project is the fact that at the end of each stage they gave a parent and child evaluation information. This helped me with my assignment it showed where I was at as a parent and what I needed to work on. My virtual child all in all was an excellent experience for me. To raise a child from birth to adulthood is very interesting.
It helped me understand more about my human development class and I think it prepared me to be a wonderful parent in the future. My virtual child also helped me see where my all my parents were coming from when I lived in different homes and each of their own individual parenting methods. I also learned a lot from this experience about children. I know information that I probably wouldn’t have learned anywhere else. Mostly, I think my personality made this experience even better for me. The fact that I love children and projects made this fun for me which helped me get through the program.
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