Stages and Principles of Growth and Development


Stages of Growth and Development:



Difference between Growth and Development:

Stages of Growth and Development:

Infancy →childhood→ Adolescence→ Adulthood→ old age

Principles of Development:

Principle of continuity

Principle of lack of uniformity.

Principle of Individual Differences.

Principle of uniformity of Pattern.

Principle of Integration

Principle of interrelation

Principle of Interaction

Principle of cephalocaudal and proximodistal tendencies.

Principle of predictability.

Principle of spiral Vs. Linear Advancement.

Principle of proceeding from general to specific



Change is the law of nature. The processes by which a germinating seed or conceived organism is turned into the mature plant or full-fledged being are collectively termed as Growth and Development. In general, they refer to the changes produced by the interaction of one’s genetic and environmental factors as well as changes in the physical, mental, social and moral aspects involving one’s individuality.

Difference between Growth & Development:-

The changes in various dimensions of one’s personality are mainly of two types – quantitative and qualitative. While the term “growth” may limit to changes in the quantitative aspect i.e., increase in size, length, height weight and expansion of vocabulary etc, the term development implies the overall changes occurring in both the quantitative as well as the qualitative aspects.

For example, while studying physical development, one does not aim to describe the changes in size and proportions of the physical organs in a solely physical term but also to point out the impact of these physical changes in terms of the improvement in the working or functioning of the physical organs. The term growth, on the others hand, is concerned merely with the quantitative changes. Growth stops when maturation is achieved while development occurs throughout the entire life span of an individual.

Stages of Growth and Development:-


The approximate nine month spent in mother’s womb.

Post- natal:-

Post-natal period starts when foetus emerges from the mother’s womb and has its first contact with the external environment. Post-natal period is divided into different stages which are as follows.

Infancy —- birth 2 years.

Childhood — (13-19 years)

Adolescence—(13-19 years)

Puberty—maturity (physical, mental, social, emotional etc)

Adulthood – (20-60 years)

Maturity – Infertility.

Oldage—(60 death) Infertility- death.

During all these development stages human beings exhibit typical behavioural characteristics in al dimensions of behaviour and personality make up which are specific to each stage and individual.

Principles of development:-

Development is operated by same general rules and principles which are as follows:

Principle of continuity:-

Development is a never ending process. It starts from conception and continues till death. The changer, however small and gradual, continues to take place in all dimensions of one’s personality in one’s life.

Principle of lack of uniformity in developmental rate:

Although Development is a continuous process but it does not exhibit steadiness and uniformity in terms of rate of development in various dimensions of personality or in the developmental period and stages of life.

Principles of Individual Difference:

Every individual is a unique organism. Therefore, the rate and outcome in various dimensions of development is quite unique and specific.

Principles of uniformity of pattern:


Although, there are individual differences in the rate and outcome of various dimensions of development and lack of uniformity in the developmental rate, yet development follows a definite pattern in one or the other dimension which is uniform and universal with respect to individuals of a species. For instance, the development of language follows a somewhat definite sequence, quite common to all human beings.

The principle of proceedings from general to specific responses:

While developing in any aspect of personality, the child first picks up or exhibit general responses and learns to show specific and goat oriented responses afterwards. In the development of langue, the child begins with generalized responses such as calling all men daddy and all women mummy but as he grows and develops, he begins to use these names only for his mother and father.

May of one’s complex skills is merely the coordination and integration of smaller, simpler responses which go to make a more complex responses; learning to ride a bicycle is an example. Thus “Development involves a movement from whole to parts and parts to the whole” and in this way it is the integration of the specific and general responses that enables a child to develop satisfactorily in relation to various dimensions of his personality.

Principle of Interrelation:

The various dimensions of one’s growth and development are interrelated. What is achieved or not achieved in one or other dimensions in the course of gradual and continuous process of development surely affects the development of other dimensions. A healthy body tends to develop a healthy mind.

Principle of Interaction:

The process of development involves continuous interaction between the forces within the individual and the forces belonging to his environment. Thus, its personality make up at any stage of growth and development is the end result of interaction of hereditary endowment and environmental set up.

Principle of Cephalocaudual and Proxi-modistal tendencies:-

cephalocaudal and proximodistal tendencies are found to be followed in maintaining the orderly sequence and direction of development.

According to cephalocaudal tendency, development proceeds in the direction of the longitudinal axis (head to foot). That is why, before it becomes able to stand, a child first gain control over his head and arms and then on his legs.

According to proximodistal tendencies, development proceeds from the near to the distant and parts of the body near the Centre develop before the extremities. This means that the spinal cord develops before the outer parts of the body. The child’s arm develops before the hands and the hand and feet develops before the finger and toes.

Principle of predictability:

Development is predictable which means that with the help of the uniformity of the pattern and sequence of development, one can, to a great extent, forecast the behaviour of a child in one or more dimensions at any particular stage of growth and development.

Principle of spiral Vs. Linear advancement:

Development never proceeds in a linear fashion nor does it take place at a constant rate. After a person has achieved a certain level of development, there is likely to be period of rest for consolidation of the development progress achieves till then. In advancing further, development turns back and then moves forward again in a spiral pattern.


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