Developmental psychology-global perspectives and social change

Global Perspectives and Social Change of Shift of Development Psychology to the East Whether psychological theories of human development originating from the West could be applied to other regions such as the Eastern spheres has been an extensively debated issue in academic as well as professional circles. What has become clear in this debate is the fact that in many instances, psychological events are bound and defined by the immediate culture. In other words, psychological theories developed in a given culture may not necessarily be generalised and used for discuss the customs or behaviours of people from a different culture (Greenfield, 2009). For instance, it is agreeable that psychology as a science and its theories mainly developed in the North America and Europe. Obviously, the data used to develop psychology and its theories were obtained from Western people and culture. It is thus asserted that it is only via the identification of culture-specific aspects of life, observed in the mainstream psychology. Then, new concepts about the general usage from various cultures should be adopted. Luckily, different stages and types of interactions across cultures from the West and the East have resulted in the application of Western development psychology and theories to Eastern scenarios (Greenfield, 2009). However, to be successful in using Western development psychology theories in Eastern cultures, several strategies are recommended. First, it is of the essence that indigenous psychological theories are developed on the basis of the cultural, native and ethnic aspects of the people from the East. The second, strategy is advocacy for the use of many methods in which both insiders and outsiders are incorporated to help achieve multiple perspectives and comprehensive and inclusive understanding (Miao & Wang, 2003). Third, it would be of huge benefit if development psychologists translated the practical and episodic understandings and perceptions of the Eastern people into analytical and understandable knowledge. Scientifically, these strategies do not propose absolute relativism or many psychologies; instead, the use of multiple perspectives to psychology is envisaged (Greenfield, 2009). The attempt to attain universal psychological approaches and theories, which can be practically and theoretically validated, is one reason psychology has shifted from being West-oriented to universality (Greenfield, 2009). The second reason global perspectives to development psychology are getting more favoured compared to Western-focused psychology is the apparent critical role played by distinct cultures in shaping social changes in different stages of human development. The third reason development psychology is being shifted to the East is the realization by stakeholders, especially researchers, that the field of psychology requires to be internationalized for an improved understanding of the universality of the human mind. These researchers are concerned that psychology tends to understand the functioning and the structure of the human mind on the basis of centuries-old Western-derived philosophical assumptions. There has also been the tendency of past psychological researchers to take cultural twists to mean universal principles given that most researchers have been either Americans or Europeans (Miao & Wang, 2003). Hence, the shift from Western to Eastern-based development psychology mainly stems from the fact that the human mind is created, developed and maintained as a person participates in different social settings and worlds, which are set in unique countries of origin, regions, ethnicity, religion, gender and professions (Miao & Wang, 2003). Possibilities of Positive Social Change in Adolescence Perhaps adolescence is the most interesting and pivotal stage of development in human beings’ lifespan due to the fact that it is the stage at which a child becomes an adult. Evidently, there are numerous social and emotional changes characterizing this stage of development. These include changes in interaction with family and community. Notably, every adolescent’s social changes are unique due to a unique combination of experiences, genes, brain development, community and cultures (Pinquart & Silbereisen, 2004). There are several strategies through which the possibilities if positive social changes can be attained in adolescents. Among the social changes that need to be harnessed include search for identity, search for independence, responsibilities, new experiences, differentiating right and wrong, developing and search for sexual identity and adopting different methods of communication. To increase the possibilities of positive social change in adolescents, caregivers, parents, guardians and teachers need to implement certain strategies and practices. First, these parties should be good role models to help adolescents form and maintain positive relations with their colleagues, partners, peers and classmates (Pinquart & Silbereisen, 2004). It is noteworthy that adolescents imitate their caregivers and parents’ personal relationships; hence they must first ensure their relationships are the right ones. Parents and caregivers should also ensure that their children’s friends are of good character. Listening to and respect an adolescent’s feelings, choices and perspectives is the other strategy for increasing their possibilities to realise positive social change. Importantly, parents and other influential people in the lives of adolescents should be open and clear about their feelings with regards to adolescents’ choices and ways of life (Pinquart & Silbereisen, 2004). Parents and guardians are also expected to be role models when it comes to dealing with difficult emotional situations and avoid giving adolescents the silent treatment. In addition, adolescents need to be addressed about relationship, sexuality and sex issues. It is thus imperative upon parents and other caregivers settle on the right time and place to talk to teenagers about such emotional issues. Social change possibilities may also be improved by parents’ reinforcement of the positive aspects of an adolescent’s social and emotional development instead of only focusing on their physical aspects. References Greenfield, P. M. (2009). “ Linking Social Change and Developmental Change: Shifting Pathways of Human Development.” Developmental Psychology, 45(2); 401-418. Miao, X., and Wang, W. (2003). “ A Century of Chinese Developmental Psychology.” International Journal of Psychology, 38(5); 258-273. Pinquart, M., and Silbereisen, R. K. (2004). “ Human Development in Times of Social Change: Theoretical Considerations and Research Needs.” International Journal of Behavioral Development, 28(4); 289-298.