Psychology of the Child and the Adolescent

By Robert I. Watson; Henry Clay Lindgren | Go to book overview

preface

While the fourth edition of Psychology of the Child and the Adolescent retains the basic theme and approach of its previous editions, we feel we have strengthened the text in several ways. As the title suggests, we have included in this edition two new chapters on adolescent development, which, we hope, will make the book more complete and useful. To assist the reader, we have added a glossary of terms and sought to simplify the writing. We have also diligently tried to incorporate the results of recent scholarship.

Some textbooks in child psychology emphasize theory and methodology. Others are primarily concerned with talking to students about the students' own experiences. We have chosen to use both of these approaches because we find each of them attractive. Without theory and methodology, psychology may be appealing in an anecdotal way, but it is not a science. We consider the scientific study of human behavior not only attractive but an important enterprise; we have devoted our lives to it. As teachers, we also know that students learn more effectively when they see how the material relates to their own lives and daily experiences. We want psychology to make sense to students; a student who, after taking a psychology course or reading a psychology textbook, does not understand himself and others at least a little better has failed, and so has his teacher or the author. In essence, our goal has been to bridge the gap between psychologists' views of child behavior and development and students' everyday experiences with children, including their memories of what it was like to be a child.

In writing this book, we have also been strongly influenced by our belief that any subject becomes more interesting and more understandable when a number of its aspects or dimensions are presented. For example, we may understand a child biologically, but our understanding is enhanced if we can also see him as a social organism, as a personality, as affecting the behavior and attitudes of others, and as being affected

-v-

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