PSY 104: Child and Adolescent Development

Week 2 - Instructor Guidance



Here is a neat video describing prenatal development.

Click HERE to view this video directly on YouTube

Learning Outcomes

This week students will:

  • Identify specific concerns regarding pregnancy and prenatal development.
  • Describe the causes for and influences of Postpartum Depression on mothers, fathers, and the development of infants.
  • Inspect resources which can aid individuals and families in finding proper care for Postpartum Depression.
  • Compare contextual and/or environmental differences in infant care.


In this section you will find my own thoughts and teaching on the subject matter. This does not substitute for the assigned and suggested course readings and other materials.

Genetic Testing

Technological advances and increases in our understanding of the genetic basis of certain diseases and conditions has allowed us to forewarn parents and provide early interventions like no other point in history. Advances in medicine, however, are not without ethical concerns.

Can knowing too much about your unborn child lead you to make rash decisions?

Is it fair to have a child how may suffer for years with a condition?

These are the questions that face us today as we journey into a new world of understanding of our genetic make up.

Click HERE to visit the Disciplined website sponsored by the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health. On this page you will find links to descriptions of various genetic tests.

We often hear of genetic testing in isolation of the complete services that are provided. There are experts in genetic testing who function as "Genetic Counselors" to assist parents with choosing to do testing and in understanding the risks, benefits, and results of testing.

According to Disciplined:

Genetic counseling provides information and support to people who have, or may be at risk for, genetic disorders. A genetic counselor meets with you to discuss genetic risks. The counseling may be for yourself or a family member. Or you may get it when you are planning or expecting a baby. You may follow up with genetic testing.

There are many reasons to seek genetic counseling. You may consider it if you

  • Have a personal or family history of a genetic condition or birth defect
  • Are pregnant or planning to be pregnant after age 35
  • Already have a child with a genetic disorder or birth defect
  • Have had two or more pregnancy losses or a baby who died
  • Have had ultrasound or screening tests that suggest a possible problem

Postpartum Depression

This is a video on Postpartum Depression published by the March of Dimes
Click HERE to view this video on the original website  

Click HERE to view the definition of Postpartum Depression from the Mayo Clinic.

Click HERE to read the following article:

Field, T. (2010). Postpartum depression effects on early interactions, parenting, and safety practices: A review. Infant Behavior and Development. 33(1). 1.

Abstract - In this paper studies are reviewed from the last decade on postpartum depression effects on early interactions, parenting, safety practices and on early interventions. The interaction disturbances of depressed mothers and their infants appear to be universal, across different cultures and socioeconomic status groups and, include less sensitivity of the mothers and responsibility of the infants. Several caregiving activities also appear to be compromised by postpartum depression including feeding practices, most especially breastfeeding, sleep routines and well-child visits, vaccinations and safety practices. These data highlight the need for universal screening of maternal and paternal depression during the postpartum period. Early interventions reviewed here include psychotherapy and interaction coaching for the mothers, and infant massage for their infants.

Multicultural Childcare

In the field of Sociology, the term that describes the transmission of culture (all that we know and understand of the world around us) is "Socialization". How we understand and perceive the world is impacted by our genetics but it is also impacted by our environment (the classic nature AND nurture relationship!)

This is an image from a typical childcare center as we may understand it in the US

This is a lifelong process, and it begins in early childcare. Consider these questions as you reflect on your own cultural upbringing:

  1. Did you have toys as a child?
  2. Did you live with your parents?
  3. What role did other community members have in your upbringing?
  4. Did you have expectations such as chores and duties in the home?
  5. Were the boys raised different than the girls?
  6. Who was your primary caregiver? (mom, dad, aunt, grandparents, others)
  7. Did you go to daycare or stay home?
  8. Did you go to preschool?
  9. Did you have early medical care?
  10. Was religion or a faith part of your early life?
  11. Did your parents punish you? How?

These questions, and many, many others, help you to focus on the various factors of your culture that have deeply impacted your life and your expectations.

We, however, live in a very diverse world...full of alternative (yet often just as valid) ways of raising children.

This image from a South African childcare center for orphans does not seem much different!

Click HERE to view a link called "Different Cultures, Different Childhoods" will find some interesting tidbits about childhood in different parts of the world.

Montgomery, H. (2006). Different cultures, different childhoods. OpenLearn. Open University

Click HERE to view an extensive article on the Ethnographic study of Childhood. This is a deep read into the methods and historical viewpoints of childhood from an Anthropological perspective. This is a good one for those of you who may find yourself working with children from diverse backgrounds, but it is not a "casual read"!

Levine, R.A. (2007). Ethnographic studies of childhood: A historical overview. American Anthropologist. 109(2). 247-260.

The following are links to two book chapters related to childcare in different cultures:

Kinship and Childrearing in Two African Societies: A Comparative Investigation of the Orring and the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria

Japanese Childrearing


In this section you will find any specific instructions or ideas I may have for you to support your graded work. Please read the instructions for each task in the course as well as the information I have here.

Discussion - Genetic Testing

In this discussion you are asked to address an ethical/moral decision. These are challenging in the context of an academic course. For the sake of this discussion you need to focus on identified risks and benefits of specific procedures (and in the case of the theoretical dilemmas, speculated risks and benefits).

Be sure that you speak to the documented risks and benefits FIRST. Support your conclusions with your sources (peer reviewed journals or reliable websites). You can THEN speak to the debate based on other grounds (ethical and moral).

This is a class that honors diversity of viewpoints, this is not a place to challenge individual stands, but to share those in a spirit of mutual understanding. I say this because I know that the debate about genetic interventions is a hot topic.

Discussion - Postpartum Depression - Public Service Announcement

Please read the instructions for this activity very carefully...there are a number of steps in the process. While this activity may be technologically complex and challenging, I believe the resulting presentations will be rather interesting!

I took the opportunity to test this out myself and created the presentation you see below. It is a LOT longer than the one you will need to complete. See the notes below the video to find out how I did this...and the troubles I ran into!


Click HERE to view this video directly on YouTube

I was able to create the slide show on the Prezi website itself...however, Screenr did not work for me. I use a Mac and the Java for Mac is unique and did not seem compatible.

I downloaded the free Quicktime comes with a screen capture feature and I simply captured the part of the screen where the Prezi show was.

I recorded the voice over with my headset mike.

I then uploaded the video to my YouTube channel.

Admittedly this is not my best performance...I was just hurrying through to make a bit of an example...rehearsal is in order! I suspect we will be quite forgiving of one another in this process!

Journal - Infant Care

Culture is to us like water is to fish! It is all around us and influences us so much that we are often not even aware of it!

They key to this journal entry is to focus on the impact of your own cultural and environmental influences. We like to think that our values and expectations come from within, but we were taught them. They are part of the social world that we live in.

Then you need to examine two other cultures...similar to the ones expressed in the links above...and see how other cultures view childrearing from their unique perspective.

If YOU have been raised in TWO cultures then feel free to make some comparisons there as well!