Categories Anthropology

I.10 Factors affecting growth and development

1) Hereditary Factors:- Heredity exerts an influence on human development. The child carries genetic endowments from his/her parents. It is genetically transmitted characteristics from one generation to the next. The physical characteristics like height, weight, eye color etc. and psychological characteristics such as intelligence, personality, creativity and so on are innately determined and hereditary. The genetic code provides the base on which brain and body grow and manifest in observable appearance and behavior.

2) Environmental Factors:- Another important factor of human development is the environment where an individual lives. The child lives and grows in his environment. Environment consists of a wide range of stimuli and it provides the necessary input and experiential base for development of the child. Enrichment or impoverishment of the environment would produce differences in his abilities.

For example, a child may have inherited music talent from his parents through transmission of genes, but he may not excel in music field if he does not get the proper environment and support to develop his innate ability.

3) Home Environment:- Home environment exerts tremendous influence on child‟s understanding of the external world. It builds self-concept and prepares him to face the external world. The child begins to acquire knowledge through interaction with parents and other family members. During his early years of development, the behaviours of the child are modulated by the home environment. The environment of the family can be supportive or stressful for the child. If it is supportive, warm and harmonious environment, the child develops normally. In unsupportive and stressful home environment, broken families or uncaring parents in the family, children may develop as maladjusted persons.

4) Cultural Factors:- Culture refers to a system of beliefs, attitudes and values that are transmitted from one generation to the next. It is a product of past human behavior and is also a shaper of future aspirations. The development of the child is influenced by family as well as by the society. The child learns the habits, beliefs, attitude, skills and standards of judgment through the socialization processes. The socialization processes of the child take place according to the culture, customs and traditions of the society. For example, greeting someone is a familiar experience but behavioral experiences are different in different cultures. In Indian culture, people greet others by saying namaskar, folding hands or lying down near the feet but in Western culture, people greet by handshake or kissing or saying hello etc.

5) Socioeconomic Status (SES):- Socioeconomic Status plays a pivotal role in human development. The index of socioeconomic status is determined by parental education, occupation and income. The children of low socioeconomic status may develop as mal-nourished, suffer from lack of knowledge in many aspects and their normal development may get hampered. The parenting in high socioeconomic status families would be different from low socio-economic status families. Children of the high socioeconomic groups of the society get better social opportunities, are nurtured with better nutrition, good medical treatment and are exposed to more intellectual stimulation than low socioeconomic group.

6) Normative influences:- Normative influences occur in a similar way for majority of people in a particular group. These influences may be biological or environmental.

For example, biological events like sexual maturity or deterioration in old age. Environmental events, like entering the school at about 6 yrs of age, parenthood etc. have the same influences on individuals. Most of the people of the same age, at same place and time and generation have common biological and environmental influences such as floods, famines and other natural disasters. Non-normative influences include the unusual life events in an individual‟s life. For example, death of a parent when a child is young or birth defects etc.

7) Education and Training:- Each child is equipped with certain abilities which need to be nurtured through proper education and training. Therefore, the first and foremost step is to identify and recognize the ability  of the child and the next step is to provide adequate opportunities to develop the same. If proper identification of the ability is not possible and adequate facilities are not available to the child, then his innate ability may
not be developed. Thus, adequate education and training have influence on human development.

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