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Social & Personality Development in the Preschool Years


Social & Personality Development in the Preschool Years Chapter 8 Development Across the Lifespan Self Concept in the School Years: Thinking About the Self ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Social & Personality Development in the Preschool Years

Social Personality Development in the Preschool
  • Chapter 8
  • Development Across
  • the Lifespan

Self Concept in the School Years Thinking
About the Self
  • During the preschool period, children wonder
    about the nature of self
  • The way they answer the question Who am I? at
    this stage may affect their whole life!

(Self concept in the preschool years, continued)
  • Preschoolers begin to form their SELF-CONCEPT
    (their identity, or their set of beliefs about
    what one is like as an individual).
  • Youngsters typically overestimate their skills
    and knowledge (their self concepts are NOT
    necessarily accurate).
  • They also begin to develop a view of self that
    reflects the way their particular culture
    considers the self.

(No Transcript)
Different cultural philosophies may lead to
differences in how children view the self during
the preschool years
  • Asian societies tend to have a COLLECTIVE
    ORIENTATION, promoting the notion of
    interdependence, blending in, and being
  • Western cultures tend to Preschoolers self
    concepts are NOT only the result of parental
    influence, but also of social and cultural
    influence! embrace an INDIVIDUALISTIC ORIENTATION
    that emphasizes personal identity, uniqueness,
    and competition.

In short
  • Preschoolers develop their self-concepts as a
    result of how their parents treat them AND based
    on the society and culture they live in!

Psychosocial Development
According to Erik Eriksons theory of
psychosocial development, preschoolers have
already passed through a couple of Developmental
As discussed in Chapter 6
  • PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT encompasses changes in
    the understanding individuals have of themselves
    as members of society, and in their comprehension
    of the meaning of others behavior.

More about Eriksons theory
  • Remember that Erikson proposed an 8 stage theory
    of psychosocial development, from infancy to old
  • To pass through the stages, a conflict/crisis
    must be resolved at each stage
  • ? From age 3 to 6, children experience the
    INITIATIVE-VERSUS-GUILT STAGE, the period during
    which children experience conflict between
    independence of action and the sometimes negative
    results of that action.

The initiative-versus-guilt stage, continued
  • Conflict occurs between the desire to become more
    independent and autonomous and the guilt that
    may occur
  • Preschoolers with supportive parents independent
  • Preschoolers with restrictive, overprotective
    parents shame self-doubt
  • The foundational concept of this stage is that
    children become aware that they are people too!
    They begin to make decisions and shape the kind
    of person they are to become!

Developing Racial Ethnic Awareness
  • By the time they are 3 or 4 years of age,
    preschoolers distinguish between members of
    different races and begin to understand the
    significance of race in society.
  • Some youngsters begin to show preferential
    feelings for members of their own race.

Gender Identity Developing Femaleness Maleness
  • Gender, the sense of being male or female, is
    well established in young children. (Sex
    typically refers to sexual anatomy.)
  • One way gender is manifested is in play.
  • During the preschool years boys increasingly play
    with boys.
  • Girls tend to play with girls.
  • Gender out-weighs ethnic variables when it comes
    to play
  • An Asian American boy would prefer to play with
    an African American boy than with an Asian
    American girl

(Gender Identity Developing Femaleness
Maleness, continued)
  • Preschoolers also begin to develop expectations
    about appropriate behavior for girls and boys.
  • Like adults, preschoolers expect males to be more
    independent, forceful and competitive and females
    to be warm, nurturing, expressive and submissive.
  • These are expectations and not truths about
    actual behavior! But viewing the world this way
    affects preschoolers behavior!
  • However, young children typically hold stronger
    gender-stereotypes than adults.

Preschoolers' Social Lives
  • ?The preschool years are marked by increased
    interactions with the world at large.
  • Around age 3, children begin to develop real
  • Peers come to be seen as individuals with special
  • Relationships are based on companionship, play,
    and entertainment.
  • Friendship is focused on the carrying out of
    shared activities (rather than just being in the
    same place at the same time!).

With age, preschooler's view of friendship
  • Older preschoolers see friendship as a continuing
    state, and as a stable relationship that has
    meaning beyond the immediate moment.
  • Older preschoolers pay more attention to concepts
    such as trust, support, and shared interests.
  • Even by age 3, children are interested in
    maintaining smooth social relationships with
    their friends, trying to avoid disagreements.

(Preschool Social Life,continued)
Some children are more readily liked by their
peers than others.
  • Qualities associated with disliked children
  • more likely to be aggressive
  • More disruptive,
  • impose themselves on their peers
  • less cooperative
  • do not take turns.
  • Qualities associated with popularity
  • physical attractiveness
  • being outgoing
  • being sociable
  • speaking more
  • smiling more
  • having a greater understanding of others emotions

(Preschool Social Life,continued)
  • Are unpopular preschoolers destined for a life
    with few friends? Not necessarily!
  • Social skills that are associated with popularity
    can be taught by parents and teachers as well as
    enhanced through a warm, supportive home

Playing by the Rules How Play Affects Social
Personality Development
  • Categorizing play
  • Three year olds typically engage in FUNCTIONAL
    PLAY which involves simple, repetitive
    activities, that is, doing something for the sake
    of being active.
  • (playing with dolls, skipping, jumping rope, etc)

(Categorizing play, continued)
  • By age 4, children typically engage in
    CONSTRUCTIVE PLAY which involves manipulating
    objects to produce or build something (legos,
    puzzles, etc.)
  • Constructive play allows children to test
    developing cognitive skills.
  • Constructive play allows children to practice
    motor skills.
  • Constructive play allows children to problem
  • Constructive play allows children to learn to

The social aspects of play(How Play Affects
Social Personality Development, continued)
Mildred Parten (1932) noted various types
of play
  • PARALLEL PLAY is when children play with similar
    toys, in a similar manner, but do not interact
    with each other.
  • ONLOOKER PLAY occurs when children simply watch
    others play but do not actually participate

(Mildred Partens various types of play,
  • In COOPERATIVE PLAY, children genuinely play with
    one another, taking turns, playing games, or
    devising contests.
  • ASSOCIATIVE PLAY is where two or more children
    actually interact with one another by sharing or
    borrowing toys or materials, although they do not
    do the same thing.

More about the effects of play on social and
personality development
  • Associative and cooperative play generally do not
    emerge until the end of the preschool years.
  • The nature of a child's play is influenced by
    their social experiences.
  • Children with preschool experience engage in more
    social behaviors earlier (associative
    cooperative play, etc.)

(the effects of play on social and personality
development, continued)
  • Play becomes increasing unrealistic during the
    preschool period (pretend play increases)
  • using a matchbox as a car instead of a metal toy
  • Vygotsky argues that pretend play (especially
    social) aids cognitive development and
    understanding of the world/other cultures
  • Cultural background also results in different
    styles of play

  • Comparing Play Complexity
  • Clear differences exist in patterns of play
  • Korean American more parallel play than Anglo
  • Anglo Americans more pretend play

The continuing development of theory of Mind and
its affect on children's play
  • Using theory of mind, children are able to come
    up with explanations for how others think and the
    reasons for their behaving the way they do.

(Theory of Mind and its affect on children's
play, continued)
  • During preschool years, children increasingly can
    see the world through others perspectives.
  • Preschool children can understand that people
    have motives and reasons for their behavior.
  • These changes in preschoolers theory of mind
    affect how they play (and contributes to social
    personality development)

(Theory of Mind and its affect on children's
play, continued)
  • ? There are also cultural differences in theory
    of mind.
  • Western children are likely to regard others
    behavior as due to the kind of people they are,
    seeing it as a function of their personalities.
  • Non-Western children may see others behavior as
    produced by forces that are less under their
    personal control, such as unhappy gods or bad
  • ? These cultural differences also contribute to
    differences in social personality development!

Discipline Teaching Preschoolers Desired
  • Diana Baumrind (1980) notes 3 major types of
    parenting or patterns of discipline

(Diana Baumrinds 3 major types of parenting or
patterns of discipline, continued)
  • 1) AUTHORITARIAN PARENTS are controlling,
    punitive, rigid, and cold, and whose word is law
    they value strict, unquestioning obedience from
    their children and do not tolerate expressions of

(Diana Baumrinds 3 major types of parenting or
patterns of discipline, continued)
  • 2) PERMISSIVE PARENTS provide lax and
    inconsistent feedback and require little of their
  • 2 types of permissive parents
  • ? Permissive-indifferent parents are usually
    uninvolved in their children's lives.
  • Their children tend to be dependent and moody.
  • Their children also tend to have low social
    skills and low self-control

(2 types of permissive parents, continued)
  • ? Permissive-indulgent parents are more involved
    with their children, but they place little or no
    limits or control on their behavior.
  • Their children typically show low control and low
    social skills.
  • However, these children tend to feel that they
    are especially privileged.

(Diana Baumrinds 3 major types of parenting or
patterns of discipline, continued)
  • 3) AUTHORITATIVE PARENTS are firm, setting clear
    and consistent limits, but try to reason with
    their children giving explanations for why they
    should behave in a particular way.

(Diana Baumrinds 3 major types of parenting or
patterns of discipline, continued)
  • Children of authoritative parents tend to fare
    best they are independent, friendly with their
    peers, self-assertive, and cooperative parents
    are not always consistent in their parenting or
    discipline styles.

(Diana Baumrinds 3 major types of parenting or
patterns of discipline, continued)
  • Children whose parents engage in aspects of the
    authoritative style related to supportive
  • Supportive parenting encompasses parental warmth,
    proactive teaching, calm discussion during
    disciplinary episodes, and interest and
    involvement in children's peer activities show
    better adjustment and are protected from the
    consequences of later adversity.

(parenting patterns of discipline, continued)
  • Childrearing practices that parents are urged to
    follow reflect cultural perspectives about the
    nature of children and the role of the parents.
  • Childrearing practices in Eastern societies are
    more likely to involve strict control. Such
    control is seen as a measure of parents
    involvement in and concern for the welfare of
    their children.
  • In Western societies, and especially in the
    United States, parents are more often advised to
    use authoritative methods.

  • ? No one parenting style is is likely to be
    successful or universally accepted! Cultural
    context must be taken into consideration

Child Abuse and Psychological Maltreatment
  • Obviously child abuse, neglect and maltreatment
    seriously affect the social personality
    development of many preschoolers
  • Five children are killed by their caretakers
    every day.
  • 140,000 others are physically injured every year.
  • Three million children are abused or neglected
    annually in the U. S.

  • Types of Child Abuse

(Child Abuse and Psychological Maltreatment,
  • ? Child abuse can occur in any home, though it is
    most frequent in families living in stressful
  • Poverty
  • Single-parent homes
  • Families with high levels of marital discord

Most parents don't intend to abuse their
  • Children who are fussy, resistant to control,
    slow to adapt to new situations, overly anxious,
    frequent bed wetters, and who have developmental
    delays are more prone to being victims of abuse.
  • Labeling children as being at higher risk for
    abuse does not make them responsible for their
    abuse (blaming the victim)

There are many reasons for why child abuse occurs
  • There is a vague demarcation between permissible
    and impermissible forms of physical punishment or
  • Factors related to the privacy of child care in
    Western societies present unrealistic
    expectations about children's abilities.
  • The CYCLE-OF-VIOLENCE HYPOTHESIS argues that the
    abuse and neglect children suffer predisposes
    them as adults to be abusive.

(child abuse, continued)
  • Not all abuse is physical PSYCHOLOGICALMALTREATME
    NT is abuse that occurs when parents or other
    caregivers harm children's behavioral, cognitive,
    emotional, or physical functioning.
  • Overt behaviors (frightening, humiliating
    children, threats of abandonment)
  • Covert behaviors (neglect ignoring child,
    emotionally unresponsive, inattentive to needs)

(child abuse, continued)
  • Obstacles stand in the way of identifying cases
    in the U.S
  • Privacy issues
  • levels of harm requirements
  • The consequences of psychological maltreatment
  • Some preschoolers suffer lasting damage
  • Low self esteem lying
  • misbehavior aggression
  • Underachievement criminal behavior
  • suicide

Some children are resilient and grow into
psychologically healthy adults despite abuse and
maltreatment (sometimes with the help of
  • RESILIENCE refers to the ability to overcome
    circumstances that place a child at high risk for
    psychological or physical damage.
  • Resilient children are affectionate, easygoing,
    good communicators, intelligent.
  • They are able to elicit positive responses from
  • They tend to feel that they can shape their own
    fate and are not dependent on others or luck.

Moral Development During the Preschool Years
  • Changes in moral development are an important
    aspect of growth during the preschool years
  • MORAL DEVELOPMENT refers to changes in people's
    sense of justice and of what is right and wrong,
    and in their behavior related to moral issues.
  • Several theoretical approaches have evolved for
    explaining moral development in children.

Piagets view of moral development
  • HETERONOMOUS MORALITY is the initial stage of
    moral development (from 4 to 7 years old) in
    which rules are seen as invariant and
  • Youngsters in this stage do not take intention
    into account.
  • Children in the heteronomous stage also believe
    in IMMANENT JUSTICE, the notion that broken rules
    earn immediate punishment

(Piagets view of moral development, continued)
  • The next stage, according to Piaget, is the
    incipient cooperation stage (from age 7 to 10).
  • Here children become more social and learn the
  • They play according to a shared conception of the

(Piagets view of moral development, continued)
  • During the autonomous cooperation stage
    (beginning at age 10) children become fully aware
    that game rules can be modified if the people who
    play them agree.
  • Critics of Piaget's theory argue that he
    underestimated the age at which children's moral
    skills develop.

More theoretical approaches for explaining
moral development in children
  • Social-learning approaches to morality focus on
    how the environment influences children's moral
  • Prosocial behavior (helping behavior that
    benefits others
  • In this view, moral conduct is learned through
    reinforcement and modeling.
  • Preschoolers are more apt to model the behavior
    of warm, responsive adults and models viewed as
    highly competent or high in prestige.

(Social-learning approaches to morality,
  • Children do more than simply mimic modeled
  • By observing others behavior, they begin to
    learn society's norms.
  • This leads to ABSTRACT MODELING, the process of
    developing more general rules and principles that
    underlie behavior.

Another approach to morality
  • According to some developmentalists, EMPATHY -
    the understanding of what another individual
    feels - lies at the heart of some kinds of moral
  • Empathy starts early (1 yr old infants cry if
    others do)
  • During the preschool years, empathy continues to

(Another approach to moralityempathy emotions
  • Positive emotions such as empathy, sympathy, and
    admiration lead children to behave in a moral
    fashion and thus contributes to social and
    personality development
  • Also, the desire to avoid negative feelings leads
    them to act in moral helpful ways (Freud)

Aggression and Violence in Preschool Children
  • AGGRESSION is the intentional injury or harm to
    another person.
  • Infants do not act aggressively, however, by the
    preschool years children demonstrate true

(Aggression and Violence in Preschool Children,
  • The frequency and duration of aggressive acts
    declines throughout early childhood.
  • Aggression is a relatively stable trait, the most
    aggressive preschoolers tend to be the most
    aggressive school aged children.

There are varying explanations for aggressive
behavior among children
  • Freud claimed we all have a death drive, which
    leads us to act aggressively.
  • Konrad Lorenz argues that humans, like all
    animals, share a fighting instinct.
  • Sociobiologists, scientists who consider the
    biological roots of social behavior, argue that
    aggression facilitates the goal of strengthening
    the species and the gene pool in general.

(explanations for aggressive behavior among
children, continued)
  • Cognitive approaches argue that aggression stems,
    in part, from the manner in which children
    interpret other's actions and situations.
  • Social-learning approaches contend that
    aggression is based on prior learning, and how
    social and environmental conditions and models
    teach individuals to be aggressive.

Even though most children are not exposed
directly to real-life violence, television models
aggression for them!
  • TV has a clear impact on cognitive development
  • We know that preschoolers imitate violence they
    see on cartoons
  • Does imitation lead to actual aggression?
  • Tough to answer definitively!
  • Conducting a true experiment would be unethical
  • Correlational studies clearly suggest subsequent
  • Just as kids can learn aggression, they can
    unlearn! Observation of nonaggressive models
    leads to reduced aggression levels.

  • Television Acts of Violence
  • According to research, violence occurred on TV in
    Washington, D.C. during a weekday during every
    time period!

Most children are at least occasionally
aggressive? Aggression is a relatively stable
characteristic? Aggressive preschoolers become
aggressive school age children? There are
serious affects on social and personality
development in preschool children
All of the psychological theories explored have
interesting aspects to them, and it is important
that we continue to try to understand them!