How Different Transitions Affect Child Development

Last Updated: 17 Aug 2022
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Unit 331 5. 1&5. 2 Explain the different types of transitions can affect children’s development and evaluate the effectiveness of positive relationships during periods of transitions. Transitions are the movement or changes from one position, stage or state to another. These changes can be gradual or sudden, and last for differing periods of time. Transitions can be stressful for young people and this stress can have far reaching effects on children’s emotional wellbeing and academic achievement.

Children face many different transitions in their young lives. One of the main transitions is changing schools. This may make them feel anxious and nervous, they may be apprehensive about what their new school is going to be like. They may be sad because they are leaving their friends and familiar security of their previous school. They may experience a sense of loss and even bereavement about losing their friends. The child’s behaviour may change; they may become withdrawn or display extroverted behaviour.

The child may show regression academically and communicatively. They may become ill, this maybe a genuine stress related illness or a pretend illness that will delay the change that is upsetting them. Younger children may become clingy and display behaviour of a younger child because they feel vulnerable. Older children may have sleepless nights or nightmares; they may develop mood swings and become grumpy and irritable. They may experience loss of appetite or binge to find comfort. In extreme cases children may self-harm or even think about suicide.

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These effects of these transitions would impede development emotional, physically, socially and cognitively. Puberty is another transition that all children will experience. The way a child behaves is entirely due to hormones. Puberty is a time of great change. Physically, the body changes and begins to turn into a more adult like body. Puberty and hormones also effects things like friendship, attitudes to others (of both sexes) and to parents change quite dramatically. It can make a child moody, bad-tempered, loose their concentration and tired.

The teenager can become self-conscious and worried about the changes that are happening to his body, this could affect all areas of development. There are other transitions that can affect the child such as moving house, moving schools, divorce, and an introduction of a new partner by a parent. This stress can affect the child emotionally, physically, physiologically and intellectually. The child may become physically unwell, their school work may suffer, and they may feel worried, confused and depressed. Children need to have positive relationships during these periods of transition.

This could be a parent, teacher or a peer. The child will need someone that they can trust and rely on, someone who they can talk through their fears and concerns with. A positive relationship is essential to help the child cope through transition; someone who is there for them and provides support, both practically and emotionally. The psychoanalyst John Bowlby developed the attachment theory which he states that a child needs a supportive, dependable secure relationship with their care giver. This positive relationship helps the child develop and cope with the stresses of the many transitions that they face.

Children with the back-up of strong attachments and positive relationships during transitions will be able to cope more efficiently, be more resilient and maintain their self-esteem. If they feel valued and respected their academic, social and emotional development will continue. They will have the self-esteem and self-confidence to explore and embrace the transitions. They will be able to make new relationships and cope with the new situations. If a child experiences successful transitions in early life it will make it easier to cope with subsequent transitions in the future.

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How Different Transitions Affect Child Development. (2017, Feb 12). Retrieved from

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