Review the definitions of parenting styles. ?The parenting styles consist of Authoritarian Parenting, Authoritative Parenting, Neglectful Parenting, Indulgent Par

Review the definitions of parenting styles.  The parenting styles consist of Authoritarian Parenting, Authoritative Parenting, Neglectful Parenting, Indulgent Parenting

What are the characteristics of the ideal parents?  How does parenting style change as a child develops?

250 words


John W. Santrock

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Chapter 9

Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle and Late Childhood

© 2021 McGraw Hill. All rights reserved. Authorized only for instructor use in the classroom. No reproduction or further distribution permitted without the prior written consent of McGraw Hill.

Chapter Outline

Physical Changes and Health.

Children with Disabilities.

Cognitive Changes.

Language Development.

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Physical Changes and Health: Topics

Body growth and change.

The brain.

Motor development.


Health, illness, and disease.

Chris Windsor/Digital Vision/Getty Images

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Body Growth and Change

Slow, consistent growth is seen in middle and late childhood.

Growth averages 2 to 3 inches per year.

Weight gain averages 5 to 7 pounds per year.

Head circumference and waist circumference decrease in relation to body height.

Bones continue to ossify during middle and late childhood but yield to pressure and pull more than mature bones.

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The Brain

Total brain volume stabilizes.

Significant changes in structures and regions occur, especially in the prefrontal cortex.

Cortical thickness increases.

Activation of some brain areas increases, while in others it decreases.

Brain pathways and circuitry involving the prefrontal cortex, the highest level in the brain, continue to increase.

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Motor Development

Motor skills become smoother and more coordinated in middle and late childhood.

Girls outperform boys in their use of fine motor skills.

Improvement of fine motor skills during middle and late childhood results from increased myelination of the central nervous system.

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Exercise 1

A higher level of physical activity is linked to a lower level of metabolic disease risk, based on measures of cholesterol, waist circumference, and insulin levels.

Regular physical activity combined with a high level of calcium intake increases bone health.

Aerobic exercise benefits include:

Lower incidence of obesity.

Improved attention and memory, and cognitive inhibitory control.

Effortful and goal-directed thinking and behavior.


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Exercise 2

Ways to get children to exercise:

Offer physical activity programs at school facilities.

Improve physical fitness activities in schools.

Have children plan community and school activities.

Encourage families to focus more on physical activity.

Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

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Health, Illness, and Disease 1

Middle and late childhood is a time of excellent health.

Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death in this period.

Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of severe injury, as passenger or pedestrian.

Safety belt restraints and child booster seats are highly recommended.

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Health, Illness, and Disease 2

Overweight children:

The percentage of U.S. children at risk has increased dramatically.

Both heredity and environmental contexts are related.

Environmental factors include declining physical activity, eating habits and contexts, and heavy screen time.

Potential consequences include diabetes, hypertension, elevated blood cholesterol levels, and low self-esteem.

Intervention programs encourage:

Parents to engage in healthier lifestyles themselves.

Healthier food and more exercise.

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Health, Illness, and Disease 3

Cardiovascular disease is uncommon in children, but environmental experiences and behavior can sow the seeds.

Many elementary-school-aged children already have one or more of the risk factors:



Higher body mass index.

Adult coronary disease is linked to childhood elevated blood pressure and high body fat levels.

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Health, Illness, and Disease 4

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children who are 5 to 14 years old.

The most common child cancer is leukemia.

Today, children with cancer are surviving longer because of advancements in cancer treatment.

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Health, Illness, and Disease 5


Cancers in children have a different profile from adult cancers, which attack mainly the lungs, colon, breast, prostate, and pancreas.

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Children with Disabilities: Topics

The scope of disabilities.

Educational issues.

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The Scope of Disabilities 1

In the United States, 12.9% of 3- to 21-year-olds received special education or related services in 20 15 to 20 16, an increase of 3% since 19 80 to 19 81.

Note the U.S. Department of Education includes both students with a learning disability and students with A D H D in the category of “learning disability.”

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The Scope of Disabilities 2

Disability Percentage of Children with a Disability
Specific learning impairment 34.6%
Speech or language impairment 19.5%
Other health impairment 14.4%
Autism 10.2%
Developmental delay 6.6%
Intellectual disability 6.3%
Emotional disturbance 5.1%


Figures are for the 20 17–20 18 school year and represent the seven categories with the highest numbers and percentages of children (National Center for Education Statistics, 20 19). Both learning disability and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are combined in the specific learning disability category. The most dramatic increase in a disability has occurred for autism. The first time autism was included in this assessment was 2000–2001, with only 0.1% of children with a disability classified as autistic. This figure increased to 6.5% in 20 10–20 11 and to 10.2% in 20 17–20 18.

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The Scope of Disabilities 3

Learning disabilities:

A child with a learning disability has difficulty in learning involving understanding or using spoken or written language.

The difficulty can appear in listening, thinking, reading, writing, or spelling.

Dyslexia: a severe impairment in the ability to read and spell.

Dysgraphia: a difficulty in handwriting.

Dyscalculia: a developmental arithmetic disorder.

Intensive instruction by a competent teacher can help children with learning disabilities.

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The Scope of Disabilities 4

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (A D H D): a disability characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Boys are twice as likely to receive an A D H D diagnosis.

Possible causes of A D H D:


Brain damage during prenatal or postnatal development.

Cigarette and alcohol exposure during prenatal development.

High maternal stress during prenatal development.

Low birth weight.

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The Scope of Disabilities 5

Children diagnosed with A D H D have an increased risk for:

Lower academic achievement.

Problematic peer relations.

School dropout.

Disordered eating.

Adolescent parenthood.

Substance use problems.

Antisocial behavior.

Criminal activity.


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The Scope of Disabilities 6


Note: The greatest delays occurred in the prefrontal cortex.

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The Scope of Disabilities 7

Emotional and behavioral disorders consist of serious, persistent problems that involve:

Relationships, aggression, depression, and fears associated with personal or school matters.

Inappropriate socioemotional characteristics.

Boys are three times as likely as girls to have these disorders.

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The Scope of Disabilities 8

Autism spectrum disorders (A S D) range from autistic disorder to Asperger syndrome and may have a genetic basis.

Autistic disorder is a severe developmental A S D.

Has its onset in the first 3 years of life.

Deficiencies in social relationships, abnormalities in communication, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.

Deficits in cognitive processing of information.

Identified five times more often in boys than girls.

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The Scope of Disabilities 9

Asperger syndrome is relatively mild.

Relatively good verbal language skills and milder nonverbal language problems.

Restricted range of interests and relationships; with obsessive, repetitive routines and preoccupations with a particular subject.

The current consensus is that autism is a brain dysfunction involving abnormalities in brain structure and neurotransmitters.

The children have deficits in cognitive processing but benefit from a well-structured classroom, individualized teaching, and small-group instruction.

Behavior modification techniques are sometimes effective.

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Educational Issues

Individualized education plan (I E P): a written statement specifically tailored for the disabled student.

Least restrictive environment (L R E): a setting as similar as possible to the one in which nondisabled children are educated.

Inclusion: educating a child with special education needs full-time in the regular classroom.

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Cognitive Changes: Topics

Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory.

Information processing.


Extremes of intelligence.

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Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory 1

The concrete operational stage:

Piaget proposed that this stage encompasses the ages of 7 to 11.

Children can perform concrete operations and reason logically, and are able to classify things into different sets.

Seriation: the concrete operation the involves ordering stimuli along a quantitative dimension (for example, length).

Transitivity: the ability to logically combine relations to understand certain conclusions.

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Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory 2


A family tree of four generations (I to IV): The preoperational child has trouble classifying the members of the four generations, while the concrete operational child can classify the members vertically, horizontally, and obliquely (up and down and across). For example, the concrete operational child understands that a family member can be a son, a brother, and a father, all at the same time.

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Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory 3

Evaluating Piaget’s concrete operational stage:

Concrete operational abilities do not appear in synchrony.

Education and culture exert strong influences on children’s development.

Neo-Piagetians: developmentalists who argue Piaget was partially correct, but his theory needs considerable revision.

Elaborated on Piaget’s theory, increasing the emphasis on information processing, strategies, and precise cognitive steps.

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Information Processing 1

During middle and late childhood, most children dramatically improve their ability to sustain and control attention.

They pay more attention to task-relevant stimuli than to salient stimuli.

Other changes in information processing involve memory, thinking, metacognition, and executive function.

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Information Processing 2


Long-term memory: a relatively permanent type of memory that holds huge amounts of information for a long period of time.

Increases with age during middle and late childhood.

In part, improvements in memory reflect children’s increased knowledge and use of strategies.

Working memory: a mental “workbench” where individuals manipulate and assemble information when making decisions, solving problems, and comprehending language.

Uses information from long-term memory in its work; and transmits information to long-term memory for longer storage.

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Information Processing 3


In Baddeley’s model, working memory is like a mental workbench where a great deal of information processing is carried out. Working memory consists of three main components, with the phonological loop and visuospatial working memory helping the central executive do its work. Input from sensory memory goes to the phonological loop, where information about speech is stored and rehearsal takes place, and visuospatial working memory, where visual and spatial information, including imagery, are stored. Working memory is a limited-capacity system, and information is stored there for only a brief time.

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Information Processing 4

Knowledge and expertise:

Experts have acquired extensive knowledge about a particular content area.

Older children usually have more expertise about a subject than younger children do.

This can contribute to better memory for the subject.

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Information Processing 5


Notice that when 10- to 11-year-old children and college students were asked to remember a string of random numbers that had been presented to them, the college students fared better. However, the 10- to 11-year-olds who had experience playing chess (“experts”) had better memory for the location of chess pieces on a chess board than college students with no chess experience (“novices”) (Chi, 19 78).

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Information Processing 6

Autobiographical memory:

As children age, their autobiographical narratives become more complete.

Mothers reminiscing with children in elaborative and evaluative ways appears to contribute.

Culture influences autobiographical memory.

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Information Processing 7


Strategies are deliberate mental activities that improve the processing of information.

Advise children to elaborate on what is to be remembered.

Elaboration: engaging in more extensive processing of information.

Encourage them to engage in mental imagery.

Motivate them to understand rather than memorize.

Repeat with variation, and link early and often.

Embed memory-relevant language.

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Information Processing 8

Fuzzy trace theory:

Fuzzy trace theory states that memory is best understood by considering two types of memory representations:

Verbatim memory trace: the precise details of the information.

Gist: the central idea of the information.

According to this theory, older children’s better memory can be attributed to the fuzzy traces created by extracting the gist of information.

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Information Processing 9


Many of the cognitive topics just discussed can be considered part of executive function.

Certain dimensions of executive function are most important for children’s cognitive development and school success:


Working memory.


Executive function is a better predictor of school readiness than general IQ.

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Information Processing 10

Critical thinking:

Critical thinking involves thinking reflectively and productively, and evaluating evidence.

One important aspect of critical thinking is mindfulness: being alert, mentally present, and cognitively flexible.

Mindfulness training has been found to improve children’s attention self-regulation.

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Information Processing 11

Creative thinking:

Creative thinking is the ability to think in novel and unusual ways.

Come up with unique solutions to problems.

Convergent thinking produces one correct answer and is characteristic of the kind of thinking tested by standardized intelligence tests.

Divergent thinking produces many answers to the same question and is characteristic of creativity.

Brainstorming: a process in which individuals come up with creative ideas in a group and play off each other’s ideas.

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Information Processing 12


Metacognition is cognition about cognition, or knowing about knowing.

Consists of several dimensions of executive function, such as planning and self-regulation.

Helps people perform cognitive tasks more effectively.

Metamemory is knowledge about memory.

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Intelligence 1

Intelligence is the ability to solve problems and to adapt and learn from experiences.

Interest in intelligence has often focused on individual differences and assessment.

Individual differences: the stable, consistent ways in which people differ from each other.

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Intelligence 2

The Binet tests:

Alfred Binet was initially asked to develop an intelligence test to identify students who did not benefit from the regular classroom.

Binet developed the concept of mental age (M A): the individual’s level of mental development relative to others.

William Stern developed the intelligence quotient (I Q): a person’s mental age divided by chronological age (C A), multiplied by 100.

That is,

If mental age is the same as chronological age, the person’s IQ is 100.

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Intelligence 3

Today, the Stanford-Binet tests obtain individual scores and a composite score in five content areas:

Fluid reasoning.


Quantitative reasoning.

Visual-spatial reasoning.

Working memory.

Scores on the Stanford-Binet approximate a normal distribution—that is, a symmetrical distribution, with most scores falling in the middle of the possible range and a few scores at the extremes.

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