The Essence of Physical Potential and Appearance to Child Development
All things in the world are not constant. Humans, animals, objects alike undergo changes. Among the irrevocable laws of nature is change and we cannot do anything about it. In terms of humans, the most obvious change we notice is the physical aspects and details of a person. We start the journey of life through stepping the infancy and childhood years. It’s the time when we learn the basics of life never thinking of what other people perceive about who we are especially physical.
It is the time when we learn to discover our potentials and abilities. That is why we usually see child who wins a spelling bee, or envy a classmate when he knows how to sing and play a piano at an age of six.
One thing I miss about childhood is being carefree, not thinking about what will happen next, not thinking what food to eat, what clothes to wear and not thinking about how long will I play with my toys.
As I grew older, my eyes had beheld many things about myself, physically in particular, and start scrutinizing my physical appearance. At an early age, I can say that physical appearance, capabilities and talents as well as physical changes play an important role in child’s confidence development. In my own experience I’ve experience being belittled in terms of talents and physical appearance. I must say that I am at the average in terms of physical features, but being average is something unnoticeable.
The role of physical inferiority can be boiled down to two paths. One will lead to constructive criticism that will allow a child to see negative things in his life as a means of improvement and destructive criticism wherein the child may be doomed to feel insecurity with his shortcomings in life.
According to Erik Erikson in his proposed stages of Child development at a childhood age, specifically in the preschool years, a child may develop a leadership initiative wherein he learns to collaborate with his playmates, expands his skills through dynamic playing activities, and give and take relationship. On the other, hand if a child is deprived of child to child interaction, he may probably develop a childhood crisis where he becomes apprehensive of joining other groups of the same age, timid, continually reliant with adult supervision, and his imaginative skills would likely regress when deprived play age. Playing is essential in child’s competence and physical capabilities development as he involves himself with early brainstorming activities and moves his imagination towards the things he plays (Erikson, 1956 cited in Child Development Institute, 2008).
During my grade school years, I usually have a competent attitude in terms of my playmates when we play running games and hide and seek. Some of my playmates are great runners and even taller than me. It makes me a little anxious when one among those fast runners catches me. From that, I tried to exercise my self to run fast and worst even tease my classmates who are fat wherein they cannot ran fast. Those specific events stuck in my memory until now and I just simply give a skirmish smile whenever I remember those. Physical capabilities make one arrogant. In another case, my tall classmate and also a huge man at that age is one among the strongest person in our classroom. His physical strengths enable him to bully smaller classmates like us. To prevent him from doing it, we usually seek our teacher whenever he tries to destroy our game.
Peer reaction is also important in developing confidence and self acceptance towards physical shortcomings. At a grade school age having many playmates does not only enhance your physical activities but also develops acceptance on something you do not have. At the start you may envy other people why they possess talents and capabilities greater than yours, but as time goes you learn to accept that someone is greater than you and somebody may have lesser capabilities that you. We also learn to enhance our skills and capabilities to equal other people’s potential.
At schooling age, Erik Erikson also argued that there is also a psychological crisis in this stage wherein a child may learn teamwork exercises and learns to abide rules and sets rules. He also gives himself time to initiate things and accomplish things in his own. Hence a child learns the concept of autonomy and trust. His initiative abilities may also be an avenue for him to become a future leader. On the other hand, a child who practices opposite to the aforementioned qualities is likely to develop guilt feelings and self pity (Erikson, 1956 cited in Child Development Institute, 2008).
During high school years, I felt likely the same as more and more faces emerged in the midst but the only difference is I learn to admit my flaws and accepts defeats. Now my focus is centered on physical appearance as the age of puberty pressures an opposite sex attraction. From playing hide and seek, my life revolves in identity discovery, on who am I really as a person of the society, what qualities t will make the opposite sex attracted to me and what qualities will I need to improve physically and socially.
At this time, I learned to stay at the mirror more often to see if I am good looking, if my outfit gives me a satisfactory looks and if my over all appeal is truly appealing to others. Life in high school is centered on how you please others through physical appearance and talents but there will always be those people who are better looking than you are and better dresser than you are.
To those with experiences similar to me, I would have to advise them that learning to accept your flaws and limitations is the most important thing that should be remembered when you are in the adolescent stage where you find meaning on your identity. Learning the basics of acceptance will gear you not to covet things that aren’t unreachable by your own capability but do not mean that you keep yourself stuck in your current position. Learn to see your inadequacies and make them as a stepping stone to succeed and not to rebel. Life is good; you should make the most of it. Remember that physical appearance is not a sole basis for determining the aptitudes of a person but many factors as well.
Erikson, E. (1956) cited in Child Development Institute, (2008). Stages of Social-Emotional
Development In Children and Teenagers. Retrieved July 26, 2008 from
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