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The Developing Person Through

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In the scenario of the case study for this week the class is to determine whether a child under the age of seven has the mental capability to commit a crime with actual intent. In the United States most states have laws protecting children under the age of seven from being charged with criminal intent, and with good reason, since it has been proven that although children under seven can commit crimes they are not capable of committing the crime with actual intent. The law dictionary describe a Criminal intent as “the intent to commit a crime: malice, as evidence by a criminal act.” (The Law Dictionary, n.d.) According to Piaget’s theory a six year old child is at the preoperational intelligence stage of development.

The preoperational stage of development takes place between the ages of two through six, Piaget also refers to this stage as the play years. In this phase of life children are undergoing the obvious physical changes that takes places for children during this stage of their lives, but there brain is also going through vast development. Biosocial development which is the growth and development of the brain is probably one of the biggest reasons why children under the age of seven cannot be convicted of the intent to commit a crime. At the preoperational intelligence stage children are not able to able to use “logical operation” (Berger, Pg. 238, 2011) which means they do not yet have the ability to use reason.

Furthermore because the child’s brain is still in development the brains is still undergoing the lateralization process in which the two sides of the brain hemisphere have to connect. Until the brain has not completed the process of lateralization a child’s ability of logical thinking, motor skill, and patience are limited. A child’s cognitive development must be taken into account when determining whether a he or she has the ability to perform a task with intent. Cognitive development “is the construction of thought process, including remembering, problem solving, and decision making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood.” (Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, n.d.) According to Piaget’s theory during the preoperational intelligence stage a child’s cognitive development is obstructed by “four types of limitations which limit their logic and in this case the intent to commit a crime, which are centration, focus on appearance, static reasoning, and irreversibility.” (Berger, Pg. 238, 2011)

Psychosocial Development is Erickson approach to explain how a child develops emotionally or how the ego developed. As per Erickson a person must undergo eight stages of development for the ego to develop successfully. Psychosocial development is not dependent on the individual instead it relies heavily on society to aid children, adolescents, and adults have successful emotional development. Erickson’s theory emphasis that a plethora of factors will affect the child’s social development ranging from gender, ethnicity, religion, culture, socioeconomic, parenting style, and even the media. In the case study given to the class this week the child involved in shooting had a father and grandfather who were serving time in jail for gun possession.

He had a teenage uncle who had illegal guns in his possession, giving the six year old child access to dangerous weapons. According to Erickson’s theory the child was acting according to what he learned from his environment. The adults in is life solved problems with guns, so when he was confronted with a problem with one of his classmates he acted according to the examples the adults in his life had set, and solved the problem with a gun.

Berger, K. S. (2011). The Developing Person Through the Life Span (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers. Encyclopedia of Children’s Health. (n.d.). Cognitive Development. Retrieved from http://healthofchildren.com/C/Cognitive-Development.html The Law Dictionary. (n.d.). What is Criminal Intent? Retrieved from

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