Child Development Theory- Case Study Analysis

Child Development Theory-Case Study Analysis


Child development theories try to explain how children grow and change their behavior throughout different stages of their childhood lives. Such development theories focus on various aspects including emotional, cognitive, and social growth. The study of human development has been a topic of discussion since long ago where different theorists tried to explain the cognitive transformation of humans. It is absurd to say that we are all satisfied with the developmental process we undergo from infancy to adulthood. Studying these theories of childhood development will help us understand how humans grow, learn, and behave as they do.

Psychologists try to explain the reason why children behave differently and how these behaviours are not the same as other children exposed to a different environment. Developmental psychologists provide answers to these broad questions of how developmental growth is different among children.

For us to understand the entire concept of child developmental growth, I will concentrate on the case study presented in this assignment. The case study is a good illustration of a child’s development process when subjected to a certain environment. Leah, who is a topic of discussion in this case study, is seen to suffer from a condition caused in her childhood life. She was raised in a family where the family was separated. The case study leads us to learn about a theory that explains the attachments of a child in her infancy life.

Background of Child Development Theories

Human development theories provide a framework for understanding the growth and learning of how human development in their cognitive part of life (Lerner et al., 2015). Questions have been formulated on why we should study human development. These questions are important since it is through learning that we can explain the social behaviour of an individual having learned their background.

According to the society we are living in, the majority of the people do not appreciate the theories that explain the developmental process of a child. People tend to ignore the efforts done by psychologists and theorists in explaining the child development process. Throughout the history of mankind, children were considered to be small versions of adults. For this reason, children were given less or zero attention to cognitive development that would affect their language, behaviours, and physical; growth during childhood and adolescence.

There began researchers in the field of child development in the 20th Century following the interests in understanding the abnormal behaviour of individuals. This line of theory attracted more researchers in the field of psychology where the more researchers invested in learning the typical development growth of humans from their childhood to adulthood.

Case Study Evaluation

The case study features a summarized life of a girl, Leah who has undergone a series of developmental crises throughout her life. She grew up in a family where the parents separated long ago thus lacking the support of both parents which is a key contributor to her current state of life. The environment she was raised into was not supportive to create an attachment bond with the parents and caregivers. Leah lacked the attachment of both parents which is very important in building a child’s foundation in future interactions with others.

According to Bowlby’s theory of attachment, child behaviour and emotions are dictated by her early relationship with caregivers. In the case study, we realize that Leah lacked the close attachment of her father who had separated from her mother long ago. The situation affected Leah such that her performance in school deteriorated with a great effect.

Her current state of alcoholism is a clear indication of hopelessness as she views herself as a failure. The triggering cause of her alcoholic behaviour when she realized that the training program was not as easy as she thought. The trainers could have spotted her behaviours before taking the action of expelling her from the program.

Theory of Discussion

Following the understanding of the case study presented herein, the theory that emanates from it is the theory that coincides with a child’s attachment to the caregivers who in this case are the parents. The theory of attachment is best suited in this scenario since throughout Leah’s life, she was not in a good relationship with the mother and her father who separated with her mother a long time ago when she was just a small kid.

Bowlby’s Attachment Theory and its Presence in the Case Study

The attachment theory was proposed by John Bowlby to relate the relationship of a child to the caregivers. Bowlby argued that a child is born with the innate to form attachments. Such attachments are very important in the overall development of a child since they promote an environment for the stable growth of the child. The philosopher argued that a child and her caregivers strive to create a harmonious environment for mutual growth (Fear, 2018).

From the case study provided we realize that Leah was not in a close relationship with her parents. The separation from both parents reduced the chance to make the necessary attachment that would make her develop better behaviour and concentration in academics. From her early life as a child, Leah was seen to lack concentration in her studies which made her fail terribly.

Her depression worsened after the accumulation of thoughts and stress due to continuous neglect by her dad. According to Bowlby, attachment theory can help caregivers and parents to enhance closeness to the child so that the child can have a conducive environment to grow stably in her cognitive development (Fonagy, 2018).


            Understanding the theories that explain the cognitive development of a human being from childhood to early adulthood is imperative to establishing a better experience for the child. According to Bowlby’s theory of attachment, caregivers and parents need to have a good bond with their children since lack of attachment results in emotional distress for the child which affects her life.  Leah was not given enough care by the parent due to the separation of the parents which made her develop bitterness in her life. Her academic performance was also affected by the situation which could be addressed at the early age of her life. At the moment, Leah should avoid her current friends to evade peer pressure which led her to abuse alcohol. She should also attend a counseling session from an experienced councilor for recovery. I, therefore, recommend caregivers and parents to establish close relationships with their children in their tender ages which will shape the moral and behaviour life of the child throughout her childhood life to adulthood.



Fear, R. M. (2018). Attachment Theory: Working Towards Learned Security. Routledge

Fonagy, P. (2018). Attachment theory and psychoanalysis. Routledge.

Lerner, R. M., Hershberg, R. M., Hilliard, L. J., & Johnson, S. K. (2015). Human Development, theories of. J. Wright (eds) International encyclopedia of social and behavioral sciences

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