Language skills are learnt from the environment an individual lives in with regard to socializing or being in contact with people who speak a certain language. First language is the easiest language for children to learn as they are in constant conduct with the language. The immediate family and friends are some of the entities that foster the language skills. On the other hand, first language skills are less applicable in situations that demand diversity in terms of social skills. Employment for adults is sometimes influenced by language, while for students and the young may influence their rate of learning. In this case, transferred students at the middle childhood levels are likely to be faced with the challenge of lacking crucial language skills. Middle childhood is the stage that follows infancy, and is therefore the active stage upon which children start to have open minds that can be learnt from instructions.
The development of second language skills is determined by the ability of the brain to conceive new information and adapt to changes. Adults and teenagers are less able to learn second language effectively especially if they are forced to do so by circumstances like education or employment. On the other hand, children in the middle childhood stage are likely to develop second language skills much faster than their adult and teenage counterparts (Thomas & Johnson, 2006). The ability of the brain to fathom and register new developments is higher in children of this age due to high brain plasticity. This means that as a child grows, the ability of the brain is higher at the middle childhood stage than at any other stage. At the same time, in spite of the fact that learning a second language may be difficult at the initial stages, children at this stage have a higher input (conduct with the second language) and intake (ability to understand the second language) capabilities. Therefore, the problems that an adult may have with the second language, may not be experienced by an individual who studies the second language at the middle childhood stage (Shaw, 2006).
Factors that Influence Personality
Personality change is a rare phenomenon for young children under the age of 6 years. This is because they are too young to understand most of the things that happen in their lives. Towards and during the middle childhood stage, a child’s brain starts to develop in terms of producing more neurons, upon which registry of events assumes a higher rate. At this stage, the level of creativity of a child is considerably low but curiosity is high. In this case, curiosity may be confused with a personality change for children in this age group. Curiosity and personality are not related in any way, but personality is indirectly influenced by curiosity. Through curiosity, children develop a series of understandings that either shape their ability to make judgment, or impair their abilities to make the right decisions. Despite the fact that children are too young to make decisions, the few activities they perform, either as assignments or following instructions are dependent on how much sense they make of the activities and their general judgments(Stiles, 2008).
Instructing children at the middle childhood stage too much can impair their ability to be creative or influence their ability to intake negatively. When dealing with children, either at home or in an instructional setting, they should be allowed time to experience difficulties on their own and deal with them in their own way. Input means the level of conduct one has with a situation, and it might be in language terms or other life challenges like making choices that may affect an individual in one way or another. The level of input one has gained over time depends on how close one is with a situation and how he/she is used to the situation. The higher the input level, the better the chances of the individual to make sense and understand the variables and constraints of the situations. The middle childhood stage is the only stage where input makes more sense to children than at any other stage, as they integrate the new knowledge into their systems (Shaw, 2006).
Tackling Difficult Situations
What can be termed as a difficult situation for a child? Any problem that influences or makes a child uncomfortable can be classified as a difficult situation. In the growth cycle, two distinct but interconnected processes take place in a child’s life: brain and behavior developments. The development of the brain is referred to functional plasticity while behavioral development is referred to structural plasticity. The development of the mind or the brain involves various stages that range from behavior change to personality formation. Functional plasticity is the ability of the brain or the mind to make sense of situations and learn from events that take place around the environment (Thomas & Johnson, 2006). Functional plasticity is non-linear to age and reduces with age. The middle childhood stage is one of the stages where children have the highest chances of developing skills through education and observation methods. During the peak of the functional plasticity, a child is able to attain most of the basic skills as well as developing exceptional skills. With the lapse of time, the ability to learn fast or even develop new skills diminishes and slows the rate at which a certain individual can attain new skills (Shaw, 2006).
Functional plasticity influences the behavior that is likely to change as functional plasticity increases. On the other hand, structural functionality refers to the underlying prospects that influence behavior change. If behavior is influenced by how much an individual has learned, the functional plasticity is variable that develops from the knowledge one has attained. Attitude is an underlying aspect that can be classified under structural plasticity and whose effect shapes behavior. The connection between the two types of plasticity and the ability of a child or an individual to tackle difficult situation, is the amount of composure one has towards that problem, and the level of information attained by that particular individual. In school and at work different individuals are faced with challenges of discriminations, bullying, racism, and loss of either employment or scholarship. An individual whose functional plasticity was utilized properly is likely to tackle these problems positively.
Some English sayings cannot be verified in terms of how authentic or practical they are when applied in real life situations. For example, dogs are referred to as man’s best friends, but the number of people with dogs as pets is less that those keeping other types of pets. The reason for the above example is to set grounds for discussing the changes which children at the middle childhood stage associate with and the mental changes that take place as they approach puberty. Whether a boy or a girl, children like to associate themselves with their mothers as they consider them to be their protection and only hope they have in attaining comfortability. When discussing this from a gender perspective, girls are more likely to associate themselves with their mothers from the age of 4 year to the age of 12 years (Thomas & Johnson, 2006). However, as they become teenagers, the majority of children like to associate themselves with their dads and brothers (the case on single parent children may vary with this claim). Boys on the other hand, start to isolate themselves from their mothers and sisters during the middle childhood stage. They prefer to play or to associate themselves with other boys, brothers, or in activities that their fathers are actively involved in. On the other hand, single parent children, for the case of boys with a female parent, start to pull away from their mothers and socialize more with male friends.
The social changes that take place in the age group of 6-12 years are steered by open mindedness and natural instincts that direct the entities to carry out activities that reflect their personalities. However, this behavior under the gender perspective may not be a universal phenomenon for all children and expected changes for some children may come to maturation. In this case, the feminist saying of ‘boys will always be boys’ can be translated to mean that children will always be children, as the tendencies they develop in young age are depicted in most instances of their later lives (Shaw, 2006).
In general, well-being is the state of being in a healthy relationship with the people around, comfortably performing the activities one is supposed to undertake, and being positive about life. Changes in children are not formulated out of the scope within which they exist but they are affected by the activities that occur around them. Changes at the middle childhood stage consist of a variety of elements and variables. Social well-being, emotional well-being, and school well-being are some of the types of well-being affected by family relations, friendship networks, and behavior of the surrounding people. Social well-being for children at the middle childhood stage is affected by their relationships with the parents. Abusive parents, parents who involve themselves in alcoholism, and non-supportive parents affect both boys and girls negatively. Support from parents should be lent in the form of encouragement and provision of guidelines on how to associate with other children and members of the society in general.
Children in the middle childhood stage who associate themselves with positive friends are likely to have positive school well-being. School well-being is derived from the support that friends of a particular child give to him/her. Friendship associations that do not show or depict any kind of support in terms of education have negative results for the child’s school well-being. This is because children would be tempted to emulate the behavioral tendencies of their friends. Studying together or spending time with friends who have interest in schooling boosts changes the attitude of a child towards education and makes him/her appreciate it (Shaw et al., 2006).
The role of friends and parents in building an emotional well-being is depicted through the kind of events that take place around them. Parents that batter each other bring negative influence to children and make these children feel uncomfortable and unhappy. On the other hand, friends that involve themselves in violent activities scare children and overtime, the child borrows this routine or way of life.
Change in Attitude
Middle childhood can be a stage of various changes and developments for children, as most of the important or basic things are learnt at this stage. The food we eat must be cooked in order to soften it and add taste. This is a general or basic knowledge a child in this age group may not inquire, but would make sense of by observing. The functional plasticity in this age group gives the children an opportunity to learn more about the variables that matter in life as well as attain skills. The ability of the brain to register events enables a child to develop a personality that is defined with attitude towards events and other factors of life. The life of an adult must pass through this stage and some attitudes developed at this stage exist for a lifetime. There are children who are likely to smoke and take drugs at tender age because people around them do that all the time. Children brought up in abusive relationships are likely to be disturbed mentally or to have issues in later relationships. It is therefore, noteworthy for parents, guardians, and instructors to keep children in safe social settings because what the brain registers during the middle childhood stage has a high chance to affect them in future (Slabakova, 2006).
Change as attitude is a collective aspect of growth which can be affected by numerous factors. Between the age of 6 years and 12 years, a child is likely to develop a positive or a negative attitude towards parents, friends, and the society in general depending on the amount of information she/he has gained from the people around. A child does not learn from the internet how to behave or how to tackle difficulties. However, the exposure to situations by his/her parents and friends teaches him/her a certain perspective of encountering situations. In this case, a child whose father batters his/her mother is likely to depict violent behavior with time or before she/he reaches puberty. On the other hand, a single parent child living with his mother will develop interest in things that his/her mother has interest in; and some social values like level of education may influence the child’s interest in education (Stiles, 2008).
Children do not have a mechanism within which they can generate behavior that is unique and different from that depicted by the people around them. Middle childhood is a stage upon which ability to learn through observation, formulate judgment, and urge to try new things is at the highest level. Development of attitude leads to the development of behaviors that describes the character of a child. Towards puberty, children would like to make friends with other children and sometimes they would try to do things that adults do. Children with elder siblings are likely to experiment with drugs, sexuality, and violence in regards to the behavior depicted by their elders (Thomas & Johnson, 2006). It is not guaranteed that children will copy what their elders do since sometimes new tendencies are picked from the TV programs they watch and the video games they play.
Children all over the world depend on their parents or guardians for protection and provision of basic needs, and therefore must be affected by the decisions made by their parents and guardians. Movement around the world due to the professional career needs and demands of the parents make the children unable to settle socially, therefore, turning to be antisocial or developing criminal behaviors. A child who is not happy or comfortable about his/her social life is likely to find an activity that fills that gap. Such activities can be drug addiction, drinking, or even stealing items from other people.
Antisocial behavior is a set of personality elements that are depicted by an individual with problems of blending in well with others. It is not always the fault of the individual depicting this kind of behavior; sometimes, provocations like being laughed at may cause one to become antisocial. The results of antisocial behavior are centered in the brain. Therefore, an individual feels like he/she does not belong and may resist advances of other people with violence.
Development of the Mind
The mind is the central tool that influences the activities of any particular person. The development of the mind starts from the moment a child or an infant starts to feed. The kind and type of food a human infant takes influences the healthy growth of the brain. However, the fact that one has a healthy brain does not mean that they have functional minds. In philosophy, Descartes and Plato argued that the mind and the body are two distinct elements that assume physical and spatial forms. The mind is therefore, a development of the brain which stores and cognitively relates things to make sense (Stiles, 2008). On the other hand, the body is an extension that influences the registry of experience by the mind but does not affect the functionality because the mind controls the body. The relevance of this philosophical approach to the context of this essay is to point out the difference between the brain and the mind. The brain never stops to grow as a form of biological activities. However, the mind, which holds the functional plasticity property, reduces its ability to respond to various new concepts and events (Slabakova, 2006).
Synapses are structures in the brain that facilitate for the communication of neurons. In the initial stages of life (middle childhood) there is an over production of these synapses and only the important ones are used for the functionality of the brain. The environment within which an individual is subjected to allows these synapses to be selected in accordance to the duties they serve. It is therefore, notable that the initial overproduction of the synapses is one way upon which brain plasticity can be measured. The earlier a child is exposed to various environments, the higher is the number of synapses that would be functional, hence the better developed will be his/her mind. Synaptic density is however inconsistent with age development as a remarkable decrease is registered during adolescence and teenage stages.
Decrease in Cognitive Abilities in Respect to Elasticity
High-level behaviors involved in language, music, science, or sport are not produced by a single brain part. There are networks within the brain that allow the functionality of an individual in such activities, and are crucial in terms of proficiency in any given area. In this case, second language acquisition or even the acquisition of the first language can be equated with the hearing of a musical tone and highly depends on motor skills. Extreme sports like gymnastics and playing a musical instrument rely on exposure to the activities. These skills can be attained proficiently at the middle childhood stage upon which instruction is not very necessary. Spontaneous exploration and exposure allow a child to develop skills from a firsthand perspective where he/she can tackle problems associated with these activities without the need of instruction. For the case of adults or teenagers, attaining of new skills is much limited than that of the children. This is because the ability of the brain to hold or to adapt to new skills is constrained by the fact that reduced brain plasticity was affected by the number of synapses activated or rendered functional at younger age.
Cognitive abilities are developed at a younger age, as the brain has the appropriate resources to develop these skills. As a person advances in age, the brain plasticity reduces and the chances to attain new cognitive abilities decrease as well. The number of activities that an individual is able to perform at any given period of his/her age depends on the exposure (input) and memory levels (intake). However, the problem with children is that they may suffer from memory loss, as prioritizing events and duties is a problem. Activities that require high motor and cognitive skills are better practiced or explored at the middle childhood stage.
General Change and Making Sense of Situations
The fact that children are referred to as entities that require constant coaching, they make up one of the sanest groups in terms of reason and production of ideas. Besides the negative changes that children are likely to pick from their elder siblings or parents, middle childhood is a stage upon which children start to formulate meaning and sense of things. While children may show great understanding at lower ages of three to five years, actions and attitudes towards the same activities changes. Children at this stage start to modify their plans in education and other aspects of life. A child at the schooling level will realize that school grades can be improved through study and practice. At this point, schooling, which might have seemed to be a routine at an earlier period, starts to make sense to the child. The child will derive meaning and be ready to learn more. With influence from parents, children may not want to be better than their parents at this stage, but once they understand that they can only be like their parents through education, they become more willing to study.
Education is a basic need for all children in their respective cultural settings. A number of occurrences can upset children. Some of these include failure in certain subjects like spelling classes or arithmetic. When this happens, a child at the middle childhood stage is likely to evaluate his/her progress. These cannot be classified as strategies that children apply to compete or raise their grades with; however, these are reflex personality reactions. For a parent with one child or two, this phenomenon may be pronounced from one case to another and at times it might be short lived in respect to other factors that affect the child’s development (Slabakova, 2006).