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9: Social Emotional Development in Early Childhood

  • Page ID
    105514
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    Learning Objectives

    After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

    1. Describe how preschoolers view themselves.
    2. Summarize Erikson’s stage of initiative versus guilt.
    3. Discuss the progression of social emotional development during early childhood.
    4. Explain how children develop their understanding of gender.
    5. Compare and contrast different styles of parenting.
    6. Define characteristics of high quality child care.
    7. Discuss the role of siblings and peers.
    8. Describe the types of play.
    9. Summarize the influence on social and emotional competence.
    10. Identify the effects of stress on three- to five-year olds.

    In early childhood, children’s understanding of themselves and their role in the world expands greatly.

    • 9.1: Social and Emotional Milestones
      Here is a table of social and emotional milestones that children typically experience during early childhood.
    • 9.2: Interactionism and Views of Self
      Early childhood is a time of forming an initial sense of self. A self-concept or idea of who we are, what we are capable of doing, and how we think and feel is a social process that involves taking into consideration how others view us. So, in order to develop a sense of self, you must have interaction with others. Interactionist theorists, Cooley and Mead offer two interesting explanations of how a sense of self develops.
    • 9.3: Erikson- Initiative vs. Guilt
      Psychologist Erik Erikson argues that children in early childhood go through a stage of “initiative vs. guilt”. If the child is placed in an environment where he/she can explore, make decisions, and initiate activities, they have achieved initiative. On the other hand, if the child is put in an environment where initiation is repressed through criticism and control, he/she will develop a sense of guilt.
    • 9.4: Gender Identity, Gender Constancy, and Gender Roles
      Another important dimension of the self is the sense of self as male or female. Preschool-aged children become increasingly interested in finding out the differences between boys and girls both physically and in terms of what activities are acceptable for each. While 2-year-olds can identify some differences and learn whether they are boys or girls, preschoolers become more interested in what it means to be male or female.
    • 9.5: Family Life
      Relationships between parents and children continue to play a significant role in children’s development during early childhood. We will explore two models of parenting styles. Keep in mind that most parents do not follow any model completely. Real people tend to fall somewhere in between these styles. And sometimes parenting styles change from one child to the next or in times when the parent has more or less time and energy for parenting.
    • 9.6: Peers
      Relationships within the family (parent-child and siblings) are not the only significant relationships in a child’s life. Peer relationships are also important. Social interaction with another child who is similar in age, skills, and knowledge provokes the development of many social skills that are valuable for the rest of life (Bukowski, Buhrmester, & Underwood, 2011).
    • 9.7: Play
      Freud saw play as a means for children to release pent-up emotions and to deal with emotionally distressing situations in a more secure environment. Vygotsky and Piaget saw play as a way of children developing their intellectual abilities (Dyer & Moneta, 2006). Piaget created stages of play that correspond with his stages of cognitive development.
    • 9.8: Social Understanding
      As we have seen, children’s experience of relationships at home and the peer group contributes to an expanding repertoire of social and emotional skills and also to broadened social understanding. In these relationships, children develop expectations for specific people (leading, for example, to secure or insecure attachments to parents), understanding of how to interact with adults and peers, and developing self-concept based on how others respond to them.
    • 9.9: Personality
      Parents often scrutinize their child’s preferences, characteristics, and responses for clues of a developing personality. They are quite right to do so because temperament is a foundation for personality growth. But temperament (defined as early-emerging differences in reactivity and self-regulation) is not the whole story.
    • 9.10: Social and Emotional Competence
      Social and personality development is built from the social, biological, and representational influences discussed above. These influences result in important developmental outcomes that matter to children, parents, and society: a young adult’s capacity to engage in socially constructive actions (helping, caring, sharing with others), to curb hostile or aggressive impulses, to live according to meaningful moral values.
    • 9.11: Childhood Stress and Development
      Children experience different types of stressors. Normal, everyday stress can provide an opportunity for young children to build coping skills and poses little risk to development. Even more long-lasting stressful events such as changing schools or losing a loved one can be managed fairly well. But children who experience toxic stress or who live in extremely stressful situations of abuse over long periods of time can suffer long-lasting effects.
    • 9.S: Summary

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    9: Social Emotional Development in Early Childhood is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Paris, Ricardo, Raymond, & Johnson.