Every aspect of development affects and is affected by every other aspect. That is, development of any one aspect of development will affect the other aspects. For example, physical development is considered the foundation of the child’s all-round progress, especially in the early years. The child’s increased mobility, size and strength facilitates meaningful interaction with the environment. By approaching things (or people) and manipulating them, the child learns more about them. These interactions are the foundations of the child’s cognitive and social development. There is in fact a close link between the child’s physical capacity and personality; a child who is good at physical skills will undoubtedly have more of self-confidence, his/her self-image in the eyes of peer groups becomes enhanced thereby boosting the child’s confidence and social abilities. Conversely, a child whose physical development has been affected because of severe health problems, may have problems in other aspects of development as well. For instance, ill-health will come in the way of concentrating on a task for a sufficient timespan or it may affect interaction with the environment which may retard cognitive development. On the other hand, due to physical incapacity, the child may not be able to participate in any of the peer group activities which in turn may affect his/her social as well as emotional well-being.
Language and cognition are also found to be closely interlinked. Cognitive structures are important in learning of language and language in turn helps in organizing the thought process. Language helps to put the mental images in the verbal form. This makes it easier for the individual to express relationship between the various things in the environment more easily. Language also aids in remembering things and in reasoning effectively. Thus, we can see that both the aspects of development foster each other.
Moral development too is highly dependent on the cognitive development. The ability to judge the right and wrong requires the cognitive structures that will help the child to see the different pros and cons, to evaluate them and then on the basis of this make a judgement. This undoubtedly requires a more mature cognitive structure. There is a close relationship between moral and social development as well. Moral issues are very much a part of the social ethos of a given society. That is, many a moral issues are specific in a given society only. For example, interaction between the boys and girls in adolescence is frowned upon in the Indian context and becomes a moral issue in most of the cases, but these interactions are considered perfectly normal in the Western society and in certain cultural pockets in tribal belts in India. The point here is that in the process of the social development, moral aspects creep in most naturally. In knowing self and others, the moral restrictions are also learnt.
Another example would be of the inter-relationship between social and emotional aspects. A child who loses temper very easily and gets angry rather frequently is obviously having some emotional problem. However, this behavior will affect the child’s social relationships. That is, because of the frequent outbursts, the child will have fewer friends thereby missing out a deal in the social interactions.
As teachers or parents, it is, therefore, essential that we see the child as a unified whole. The knowledge of these various aspects of development is essential to understand the child better. At no point, can we isolate any one of the aspects and try to analyse the child. A comprehensive approach, keeping in mind all the aspects and their interrelationships, will help us understand and help the child better.