Lifespan development deals with the changes and growth that occurs in humans during their life. Many things especially in the 21st century affect a child development. Globalization and technological changes contribute to environment factors that directly influence the growth and development of a child. Heredity is one of the contributing factors that influence child development. According to Coon (2006), heredity refers to the passing of characteristics from parents to children genetically. The environment, according to Coon (2006) refers to all external conditions that affect a person. Both the heredity and environmental factors contribute to the relationship of human and cognitive differences (Lenroot and Giedd, 2011).
Heredity factors such as the gender identification, where the child learns attitudes relating to their culture are influenced by both genetic factors and environmental factors. A factor such as height, which is determined by heredity, is also influenced by environmental factors. For instance, dietary supplementation, which is made possible by the presence of many synthetic foods, can influence the genotype of a child resulting to an increase in height. According to Galobardes (2012), a factor such as a mother’s levels of education influenced the height of the baby being born. An environmental factor such as smoking, by the pregnant mother negatively influences the height of a child (Galobardes et al., 2012). According to Lenroot and Giedd (2011), psychiatric syndromes such as bipolar disorders and autism depend on both the inherited genes and environment. Early behavioral interventions can help in improving psychosocial functioning of children with autism (Andersen and Navalta, 2011).
Heredity arises from the genes that a child inherits from the parent. For instance, if a parent posses both short genes, chances are that the child will be short. Heredity influences a child’s growth from birth to death. Genes determine all characteristics such as, sex, skin color, eye color, and susceptibility to diseases. Increase in cases of homosexuality has resulted in scientists investigating the role genetics plays in contributing to this behavioral change in the 21st century. Technologies such as the use of genetic screening technologies help detect genetic disorders early before conception. This allows for the correction of such defects.
Gender of a child determined during the early stages of conception influences a number of physical, social, and personal factors that are directly linked to the child’s development. Presence of either female or male organs is the most common biological difference. Physical traits that will be influenced by gender include hair distribution, body physique, and height. Furthermore, certain diseases affect one gender more than the other does. For instance, color blindness is more common in males (Bowden and Greenberg, 2010).
Environment factors may contribute in deterring or improving the development of a child. For instance, a child may be born normal, but child maltreatment contributes to poor mental health (Andersen and Navalta, 2011). Currently, most environmental factors are detrimental to child development. Environmental factors include culture, social class, diseases, drugs, air quality, and radiation.
A child’s development will be influenced by both the heredity and environmental factors. Infants experience sensitive periods in development where environmental factors have a huge influence. Diseases, exposure to radiation and drugs affect a mother s health, which affects prenatal development. The levels of radiation are increasing due to global warming because of increased industrialization in the 21st century.
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