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Chapter 8 : Social Development in Early Childhood

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William Cockrell

on 21 March 2018

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Transcript of Chapter 8 : Social Development in Early Childhood

Chapter 8 : Social Development in Early Childhood
Erikson's Initiative Vs. Guilt
The third stage in Erikson's developmental theory
Typically appears from 3-6 years of age.
Now that children have (hopefully) gained independence, they are more willing to explore the world.
When parents encourage children to actively seek out new experiences they will learn initiative.
Parents who are over-controlling in their children's behavior will often influence the children to learn guilt.
Children who learn initiative enjoy new experiences whereas children who learn guilty shy away from new experiences.
Play and make-believe are primary ways that children develop initiative or guilt.
This third stage is when children are starting to grasp expected gender roles. Erikson argues that they learn these roles from their same-sex parent.
The third stage of development directly influences the child's self-concept.
Self-Understanding & Self-Concept
The use of language drastically helps a child become consciously aware of themselves as a unique individual.
Self-concept :
through self-understanding children are able to form a "frame" of their personality that they view themselves as.
Before the age of 3 children typically describe themselves with physical and observable characteristics (e.g., hair, eye, or skin color; clothes, age, gender, etc).
Around 3.5 years of age children start describing themselves according to emotions (i.e., non-observable).
The stronger the self-concept, the more possessive a child tends to be (does this extend into adulthood?).
In western countries, this assertiveness is praised (and therefore continues) whereas in eastern countries this behavior is frowned upon (and therefore decreases)
Self-evaluative narratives :
very important behavior of parents where they "recap" or "narrate" their children's actions with praise.
Development of Self-Esteem
Self-esteem :
the process most individuals experience as a means to evaluate their character, personality, and abilities.
Children under 4 have problems distinguishing between their own self-esteem and socially desired self-esteem.
High Self-esteem is positively correlated with initiative. This means that as initiative increases the child's self-esteem increases. It works the other way also, if self-esteem increases the child will take initiative more often.
Children who have lower self-esteem have already been extensively criticized. To avoid further criticism they are more reluctant to participate in new experiences.
Keep in mind that self-esteem is just as influenced by outside forces (e.g., other people's opinions) as it is the own person's opinion.
Low and high self-esteem is often related to self-fulfilling prophecies.
Emotional Development
Emotional Competence:
starts developing between the ages 2-6. Children start displaying the ability to discuss their own emotions and understand other's emotional displays.
Children also begin to start regulating their own emotions.
Anger and fear are the hardest emotions for children to regulate and take the longest for them to successfully suppress.
The last step of emotional competence helps children develop self-conscious emotions and empathy.
Empathy helps children develop a strong sense of morality.
No surprise - children learn emotional development from their primary caregivers.
Better emotional development leads to more successful friendships
Children with more emotional development typically have more stable mental health.
Understanding Emotion
The ability of children understanding emotions continues to improve as they age.
Around 5 years of age children are better able to understand the reason people display their specific emotions.
Children under 5 typically believe that most emotions are based on
external factors
(things outside of the person's control).
As we grow older, we are more prone to focusing on
internal factors
(emotions are influenced based on personality traits).
The 5 year mark also corresponds with children making
anticipated judgments of behavior
based off emotional expressions.
Children also now understand that emotions are influenced by thoughts and not direct experiences.
Securely attached children often have very developed emotional understandings for their age and compared to insecurely attached children.
Children who use emotion in make-believe are more well liked by their peers AND have stronger emotional understanding.
Emotional Self-Regulation
Children use a variety of tools to help regulate their emotional responses.
Children are masters of avoiding stimuli that they know will upset them
Verbal Reassurance :
the process by which children talk to themselves to encourage specific emotional responses.
Goal Avoidance :
if something really upsets them they will in turn devalue the stimuli to offset their emotional reactions (e.g., This game is DUMB! I don't wanna play it anymore.).
Temperament influences how well a person can emotionally regulate.
Children that have antisocial anger tendencies are less likely to regulate emotions.
Yet again, how children's caregivers regulate their emotions influences the child's specific emotional response style.
Children display higher rates of successful emotional regulation when their parents "prepare" them for stressful situations (e.g., flu shot).
Self-Conscious Emotions
Self-conscious emotions :
very vague term that describes self-conscious emotions as any feelings that impact our self-esteem.
Parents who focus on criticism often create children with lower levels of self-esteem.
On the opposite end, parents who appropriately guide behavior without criticism tend to promote children to develop normal levels of self-esteem.
Self-esteem is culturally influenced and different countries have different values associated with self-esteem.
Shame can promote the following anti-social behaviors : withdrawal, depression, anger, and aggression.
As mentioned in class, guilt is more appropriate than shame for when children display undesirable behaviors.
Guilt is more likely to change behavior whereas shame creates the behavior to continue while enforcing additional negative behaviors.
For many Asian cultures, like China, "losing face" is similar to shame but is a VERY STRONG social motivator.
Sympathy :
feeling sad, worried, or concerned about a person/animal and their unique circumstances.
Empathy :

sharing the same feelings
with a person/animal who is experiencing negative emotions.
Altruistic Behavior :
the sole purpose of the behavior is to help other people.
If you receive ANY benefits from helping a person it is NOT considering altruistic.
Recall our discussion of mirror neurons. Research has concluded that we need mirror neurons to activate feelings of empathy.
Children who experience psychological or physical abuse often have very low levels of empathic understanding.
Many people with specific mental disorders (e.g., autism, aspergers, antisocial personality disorder, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder) all display very low levels of empathy.
Empathy is another highly studied topic among evolutionary psychologists.
Peer Socialization
Famous research by Mildred Parten has found that children develop different play styles as they age.
Nonsocial Activity :
children watch others, but continue to play by themselves. The first stage of play.
Parallel Play :
children still play by themselves, but now they play next to each other without interacting (e.g., two kids playing with dolls side by side.)
Associative Play :
children are slowly started to communicate during play by sharing items. They still do not cooperate with each other though (e.g., Children coloring side by side and sharing the crayons).
Cooperative Play :
Children now play together and typically create "goals" in their playtime. Make-believe is one of the first and most important ways that young children participate in cooperative play.
Unlike most developmental theories, newer stages do not replace older stages. Children participating in cooperative play will still use nonsocial play.
Early Friendships
It is important to remember that adults and children have different concepts of friendships.
Children often have unrealistic expectations of friendships (e.g., "A friend would NEVER do anything to hurt me", "I NEVER argue with my best friend, that's why she's my best friend!").
Children do not have the long-term aspect to friendships and it is very common for friends to quickly change friends.
When kids already have friends in Kindergarten or make friends very easy, it is shown that their academic experiences are easier.
Children with average intelligence and high social skills typically outperform children with average intelligence and low social skills.
The current research suggests that there is a very strong link between future academic performance and social skills.
This research supports claims that children in Kindergarten should be evaluated on social skills since it is now known to influence academic achievement.
Moral Development
Moral development starts occurring near the end of early childhood.
Morality starts development by
externally controlled
A key aspect of morality is the component of compassion.
Around age 2, the main way children evaluate morality is with "good" and "bad".
The three major theories related to moral development are : The Psychoanalytic Perspective, Social Learning Theory, and The Cognitive-Developmental Perspective.
What the general population refers to as "following your
", psychology refers to as morality.
Conscious in psychology is the aspect of being aware of your surroundings. It is a physiological state of arousal.
Psychoanalytic Perspective of Morality
is the most important aspect of morality in the psychoanalytic perspective of morality. Freud believed the superego developed by influence of the same-sex parent.
Keep in mind Freud's life in early 1900 Vienna did not expose him to many single-mother parents (why is this important?).
The superego develops in response to the child's motivation to please their parents and avoid feelings of guilt.
Modern research finds that children whose parents use extreme methods of punishment (criticism, threats, violence, etc) tend to report lower levels of guilt and emotional associations with morality.
These same children often develop extreme emotional suppression, low rates of morality, and very low self-esteem (e.g., I'm no good) when parents withhold love after punishment.
Induction :
the process by which parents effectively explain why their child's behavior is undesirable. This must be done on a child's level of intelligence AND without harsh criticism! This is NOT a form of punishment.
Parents who use induction have children who are less likely to commit negative behaviors, more likely to confess, and more willing to make the situation better (e.g., offering the toy back or saying "I'm sorry").
Psychoanalytic Perspective Continued
You have all seen it before, children who have very strict parents that "specialize" in threats, criticism, or violence produce children that often are "paralyzed by guilt" before the behavior is even committed.
This causes them to not think clearly because they are distracted by potential punishment (e.g., Norman Bates in Bates Motel, Principal Skinner in the Simpsons.).
Given that mirror neurons affect the ability to utilize empathy, we know there is a modest genetic correlation with empathy. If your mirror neurons are not as sensitive you are less likely to "pick up" on empathic situations.
Research has found that temperament is important also because anxious children and impulsive children respond to guilt and empathy in different ways.
With all types of temperament, the best way to increase feelings of empathy is to improve your child-parent attachment.
Empathy-based guilt:
the parents who scream "SAY YOU'RE SORRY" and demand their child to repeat it are wasting their time. Apologies are supposed to be specific to the situation (e.g., "I'm sorry I hit you and hurt your arm", "I'm sorry I took your favorite toy and destroyed it", "I'm sorry I said you are ugly. You are not ugly".).
Social Learning Theory
A major aspect of social learning theory is operant conditioning (the modeling of behavior through rewards and punishments).
For operant conditioning to work, the behavior must be exposed to the organism multiple times before it works.
Therefore, social learning theory uses the concept of
which is more of a focus on the actual source of the information the children are observing.
The most successful characteristics of strong models are : warmth, responsiveness, competence, power, and a demonstration of consistent behavior.
Psychologists agree the only time that forceful punishment is necessary is under VERY RARE CIRCUMSTANCES (i.e., the child is about to run into the street, stick his hand in the garbage disposal, kicking an animal/child, etc). Even then beating the child is not helpful. This force is referencing grabbing/pulling the child away from their behavior.
Children who are physically or emotionally abused are influenced by the social learning theory.
Punishment and Social Learning Theory
Children that are physically abused typically produces "immediate conformity" without lasting results.
Adding onto the previous statement, not long after being abused most children revert back to their original behaviors
(i.e., physical punishment is TEMPORARY).
The long list of characteristics that develop due to physical and emotional abuse : low morality, depression, aggression, antisocial behavior, poor academic achievement,
substance abuse
criminal behavior
partner and child abuse.

Look at this pattern : parents fighting leads to an increase in antisocial behavior of the children, this leads to the parents physically punishing the child which leads to an even higher rate of antisocial behavior, and the cycle continues!
Physical abuse sharply increases from birth to about 5 years of age when it is the highest. Of course, children are the most vulnerable to physical abuse at this time (one hit can kill an infant compared to a 16 year old).
There are cultural and racial differences to physical punishment, and not all display the very negative consequences, but who really wants to take that chance?
Appropriate Methods of Punishment
Time out :
I do not need to define this for you. Day care workers MUST use this method because they will lose their lisence if they use physical punishment (and the worker will NEVER be able to work at a day care again).
Time out is also helpful for the parents because it gives them an opportunity to calm down as well.
Withdrawal of Privileges :
when I was a kid, time out in my room meant video game time! Therefore, we know that withdrawal of privileges is typically more effective than time out.
The three major rules for punishment : consistency, strong parent-child attachment, and provide explanations/induction for ALL instances of punishment.
Appropriate strategies for positive discipline : use behavior as opportunities to teach, reduce opportunities for bad behavior, explain reasons for rules, involve child in family tasks, take the perspective of the child and provide compromises, and encourage mature behavior.
Refer to the table on page 268 in your book to gain a stronger understanding of these strategies.
Cognitive-Developmental Perspective
Cognitive-Development Perspective of morality:
the theory that how we organize and form associations of morality is the key in our individual differences towards right and wrong.
From a cognitive perspective, most children develop unique concepts of morality around the age of 3.
At age four, children have gained the basic traits of lie detection.
Moral Imperatives :
rules that are required to maintain human rights and equality. Examples include judgments against stealing, violence, murder, etc.
Social conventions :
culturally unique practices that are in place due to democracy or majority practice. Examples include table manners, "thank you", holding the door open for people, not breaking in line, public vs. private behavior, etc.
Children have not yet mastered the concept of "the gray area" in morality. They are unable to view moral behaviors that are influenced by external forces (e.g., the classic paradigm of stealing medicine).
Language and social learning are still major forces in the cognitive-developmental perspective of morality.
Proactive/Instrumental Aggression :
one of the first experimental studies of aggression by John Dollard found that aggression most commonly occurs when aggression is required to complete a goal (e.g., the little girl shoves her brother down because she wants his G.I. Joe).
Reactive/Hostile Aggression :
Aggression that is a behavioral response to a goal being blocked (e.g., a person hitting or kicking a malfunctioning soda machine when they are really thirsty). Reactive aggression also covers aggression that is the result of fear or pain.
Types of Aggression :
Physical Aggression :
hitting, kicking, anything that causes bodily harm or damage to property
Verbal Aggression :
threats, taunting with names, psychological bullying. As children age they tend to replace physical aggression with forms of verbal aggression.
Relational Aggression :
damage through slander, gossip, harming the person's social network (e.g., family or friends). Think of that terrible movie
Mean Girls
Proactive aggression decreases as children learn
delayed gratification
Reactive aggression increases with age
Children who attack without provocation (reactive) or having a goal blocked (proactive) are children that should be evaluated for antisocial disorders.
Individual differences in aggression
By 17 months, there is a gendered difference in aggression where boys display more aggressive behavior than girls.
There are biological and social reasons that this gendered difference is displayed.
Boys do have higher amounts of testosterone, but we now know that women have levels of testosterone also. So this cannot be the only reason there are gender differences in aggression.
Around the time that children understand gender expectations is when levels of aggression drastically drop (before this understanding there is no significant difference between the genders and aggression).
Girls also receive more social sanctions for physical violence than boys (e.g., they are just being boys).
It is somewhat true that girls use more relational style aggression than boys. The difference is not statistically significant though.
Girls rely on relational aggression the most during adolescence--think though, if girls receive strong sanctions for hitting somebody, what other option do they have?
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