Psychological Development in Early Childhood

Chapter Eight: Psychological Development in Early Childhood (about 4 to 6 years) Self-Concept – image of oneself; evaluation of self. – by 18 months, they can recognize themselves in the mirror (self-recognition) – by age 4, they are able to describe themselves – they begin to form impressions of themselves and can make qualitative evaluations – they can provide self-descriptions of themselves (name, where they live, activities they like) – real self vs. ideal self Self-Definitions: A Neo-Piagetian View – children proceed through three stages of self-definitionsAge Four – Single Representations – limited view of self – describe themselves in simple all-or-nothing statements – no ‘blend’ of different qualities (not possible to be “happy” and “scared” at the same time) Ages Five and Six – Representational Mapping – understand that they possess many different qualities – but, still define themselves in all-or-nothing statements Ages 6 to 12 – Representational Systems – begin to integrate specific features into a more holistic view of the self. Shame and Pride – these emotions govern much of our self-conceptHarter Study (1993) – children were told two stories, one in which a child steals money, the other in which the child performs a difficult gymnastic task. Each story was presented in two versions: one in which the parent is present, and one not present. How would they and their parents feel in each circumstance? 4 and 5 years – didn’t uses words like shame or pride to describe feelings (linguistic limitation) – they use terms like “worry” or “scared” and “happy” or “excited” 5 to 6 years – said their parents would feel either shame or pride, but didn’t mention these feelings for themselves (concern for parental evaluation) to 7 years – said they would feel shame or pride, but only if observed by their parents 7 to 8 years – said they would feel shame or pride, even if their parents didn’t observe The point? While young children are aware of themselves, but can’t describe themselves in terms of pride or shame.

(They don’t have the cognitive or language skills. ) Older children (6 to 7) appear to need parental approval before recognizing their own feelings of pride or shame. Initiative versus Guilt — Erickson’s Developmental Stage mental conflict arises between what children can do and want to do – regulating these opposing drives helps children develop virtue of purpose, so they can pursue goals without being too inhibited by guilt or fear – if these conflicting forces aren’t resolved, a child may turn into an adult who: – constantly strives for success or showing off, is self-righteous and intolerant; or – is inhibited and unspontaneous, suffers from impotence or psychosomatic illness Self-Esteem – judgement that one makes about one’s worth not necessarily a realistic appraisal of one’s abilities or personality traits; perceived self-worth – most children can’t articulate their self-worth until around 8 years old. – younger children tend to overestimate their abilities and rely on parents’ evaluation of their worth – supportive behavior by loving parents contributes to self-esteem – when self-esteem is high, children are motivated to achieve – children with low self-esteem – feel ashamed and don’t view themselves as competent – don’t view tasks as challenging and give up easily become helpless (learned helplessness) – view poor performance as a sign of being “bad” (all-or-nothing view) – the sense of being “bad” persists into adulthood Gender Identity Development Gender Role – behaviors, interests, attitudes, skills, and personality traits that a culture considers appropriate for males and females. – learned through socialization – traditionally, women were expected to be devoted to domestic matters – traditionally, men were expected to be “providers and protectors” – today, in western cultures, roles are more diverse and flexibleGender-Typing – learning one’s gender role, as defined by the culture Gender Stereotypes – exaggerated generalizations about male and female roles – can restrict children’s views of themselves Biological Approach to Gender Role Development Brain differences – 5 year-old boys’ brains are slightly larger than 5 year-old girls (more gray matter), superior math and spatial abilities – girls have larger corpus callosum, better left-right brain coordination, superior verbal skills Hormone differences testosterone (in boys) is related to aggression; girls with high level tend to be “tomboys” Psychoanalytic Theory of Gender Role Development – Freud – the child identifies with the same gender parent Cognitive-Developmental Theory and Gender Role Development – Kohlberg – children are told what gender they are; they use thinking skills to understand gender – they classify themselves (and others) as either male or female and organize their behavior around gender categories – behavior is constructed around ideas of what is male or female Three Stages of Cognitive Awareness of GenderGender Identity – awareness of one’s own gender and of others (usually by 2-3 years) Gender Consistency – awareness that girls become women, boys become men (3-7 years) Gender Stability – awareness that gender remains the same, even with a different gender outfit Social Learning Theory and Gender Role Development – Bandura – the child imitates the same gender parent – reinforcement strengthens the learning (praise and punishment) – this theory is difficult to ‘prove’ since children imitate both parents – fathers tend to encourage more gender-typing behavior Gender-Schema Theory: A Cognitive-Social Approach – Bem contains ideas from social learning theory and cognitive-development theory – children organize information about what is considered appropriate for each gender and behaves accordingly – children do what they are “supposed” to do – when they act gender-appropriate, their esteem rises; when they don’t, they feel inadequate Androgynous Personality – Bem – gender roles can be more flexible; men and women can do what is best for the situation – androgynous individuals tend to benefit from more choices – they tend to be more confident and secure Gender Role Development — Nature or Nurture?Hormonal Influences (nature) – male hormone (testosterone) is linked with aggressive behavior – female hormone (prolactin) is linked with ‘motherly’ behavior (nurturing infants) Parental Influence – parents treat male and female children differently – they accept aggression more in boys – boys tend to be more gender socialized; parents pressure them to “act like a man” and stop being a “sissy” – parents (especially fathers) show more discomfort when boys play with ‘gender inappropriate’ toys – fathers tend to be more interested in their son’s cognitive development than their daughter’s Peer Influences peers reinforce gender-typed behavior by age 3 – children show more disapproval of boys who “act like girls” – 4 year-olds judge their own behavior along gender-appropriate behavior Cultural Influences on Gender Role Identity – children learn the gender roles of their culture, – the typical US high school graduate has viewed 25,000 hours of television – television is usually more stereotyped than the real world – social learning theory predicts that what we watch will influence our behavior (modeling) Children’s PlayMildred Parten’s (1932) Six Types of Play – based on observation of 42 children, 2- to 5 years old 1. Unoccupied Behavior – no playing, no interaction, but watches anything with momentary interest 2.

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Onlooker Behavior – watches and interacts, but doesn’t engage in play 3. Solitary Independent Play – plays alone and makes no effort to interact with others 4. Parallel Play – plays independently, but among other children; with same/similar toys, but not necessarily in the same way; playing beside others, rather than with others. The parallel player doesn’t try to influence other children’s play.

. Associative Play – plays with other children, talk about their play, borrow and lend; tries to control who plays in the group; all play similarly; the focus seems to be on social bonds, not the play itself. 6. Cooperative or Organized Supplementary Play – The child plays in a group organized for some goal (to make something, play a formal game); one or two children control who belongs to the group and directs activities; by a division of labor, children take different roles and supplement each others efforts. Is nonsocial play less mature? No – it reflects independence and maturity may be part of contemporary society (television generates passive involvement) – much nonsocial play consists of constructive and educational activity – children need time alone (as adults often do) Other Definitions of Play Passive Play – Moore, Evertson & Brophy (1974) watching, but not participating Example of Passive Play: Navajo rug weaving requires one year of merely watching; no questions Functional Play (merry-go-round) – repetitive muscle movement – low cognitive work? Constructive Play (building blocks) – building, using cognitive effortPretend Play (story-telling, playing house or school) – fantasy, imaginative, dramatic Piaget’s Stages of Imaginative Play Repetitive – involves muscle movement (emerges around 2 years of age) (a.

k. a. functional play) Constructive – fine muscle control (building blocks); thinking skills Imaginative – experimenting with different roles, fantasy, drama, and imaginary playmates – accounts for 10-17% of play for preschoolers – about 33% for kindergartners – pretending helps children understand another person’s viewpoint – develop problem-solving skills express creativity – parents who encourage imagination tend to have good marriages – children who watch too much television tend to play less imaginatively Formal – highly structured play with rules Are there gender differences in children’s play? in early childhood, there are not many differences Personality Differences – girls are more empathetic, compliant and cooperative (really? based on a single study) – girls tend to seek more approval than boys – boys may need approval too, however, haven’t been socialized to show ‘weakness’ – boys tend to be more aggressivePlay Differences – children play with the same gender, beginning around 2 years – by age 4, sex segregation tends to occur; universal – children tend to select ‘gender appropriate’ toys and activities – girls play in one another’s homes or yards – boys tend to play in the street and public places – girls tend to prefer quieter play with one or two playmates – boys tend to prefer ‘rough and tumble’ in large groups – girls tend to set up rules, taking turns, avoiding clashes – boys are more boisterous and make demands differences in play make it difficult for boys and girls to play together Culture and Play: A comparison of Korean and European Americans (using Parten’s Types of Play) Europeans – parents encourage independent thinking (individuality is a Western trait) – parents emphasize social interaction – parents and preschool teachers tend to let children select from a wide range of activities – preschool teachers encourage collaborative activities – children engage in lots of social play – children are more aggressive than Korean children Koreans parents emphasize academic skills, perseverance in completing tasks, and passive learning (watching) – preschool teachers have structured schedules, talk only during outdoor recess – preschools don’t encourage pretending (there are few resources for this — “dress up” clothes) – children engage in more unoccupied or parallel play, and less imaginative play – children play more cooperatively (the culture emphasizes harmony) – children share toys more and are less aggressive – children tend to score higher on academic tests Child Rearing Practices Discipline – not synonymous with punishment in Latin, it means instruction or knowledge – can be a powerful tool for socialization Reinforcement: External and Internal Rewards (Behaviorist Perspective) – children usually learn more from being reinforced for good behavior External Rewards – tangible rewards (candy, money, gold stars) – Intangible rewards (smile, praise, hugs, extra attention, special privileges) Internal Rewards – sense of pleasure or accomplishment Punishment – usually has harmful effects – harsh physical punishment encourages imitative behavior – creates hostile children OR passive children OR both stimulates aggressive behavior – potentially destroys parent-child bonds – 60% of mothers use spanking on their 3 to 5 year olds about 3 times a week (150/year) – spanking is more prevalent in the Southern US – Catholic mothers spank the least – boys are spanked more than girls Parke’s (1977) Theory of Punishment 1) Timing – punish immediately after the misbehavior 2) Explanation – a short, simple reason for the punishment 3) Consistency – punish for the same misbehavior, each time 4) The person who punishes – the one with the better relationship (really? ) Three Kinds of DisciplinePower Assertion – demands, threats, withdrawal of privileges, and physical punishment Inductive Techniques – induce desirable behavior by setting limits, demonstrating logical consequences of an action, explaining, reasoning and getting ideas from the child (questioning) Withdrawal of Love – ignoring, isolating, showing dislike What about Time Out? (not discussed in the textbook) Same as withdrawal of love? Baumrind’s Three Parenting Styles Authoritative Parents – respect individuality (the child’s interests, opinions and personality) – stress social values – have confidence in their own parenting skills loving, consistent, demanding, firm in maintaining standards – willing to impose limits and mild spanking – prefer to use verbal reasoning – children appear to be secure, self-reliant, self-controlled, self-assertive, and exploratory Authoritarian Parents – value control and unquestioning obedience – make children conform, often through punishment – more detached and less warm than other parents – children tend to be disconnected, withdrawn and distrustful – parents are usually uneducated about child-rearing, assume this is the best practice Permissive Parents – value self-expression and self-regulation consider themselves resources not models – make few demands; not directive – allow children to monitor their own activities – rarely punish – they are warm, noncontrolling and undemanding – preschoolers tend to be immature – the least self-controlled and least exploratory Altruism: Prosocial Behavior – acting out of concern for others – usually appears early, around 3 years old – altruistic children are typically advanced cognitively and emotionally – involves understanding the view of others; guided by parents’ reasoning with them Aggression – dominating or hurting others young children naturally struggle over toys and control of space (instrumental aggression) – aggression surfaces mostly during social play – boys display more overt aggression (physical or verbal) – girls display more relational aggression (covert, indirect, psychological aggression) – children who fight the most tend to be the most social and competent – the ability to show some aggression may be a necessary step in social development (overt aggression); it diminishes with age – by ages 6 and 7, children become less aggressive and more cooperative – they are less egocentric they understand how to communicate their needs better and negotiate – they are more empathetic – children who don’t learn to control aggression, ‘spiral’ into more aggression – continued signs of aggression may reflect aggression at home (early signs of antisocial behavior? ) Causes of Aggression – frustration, pain, humiliation – ineffective parenting – modeling behavior (television, parents, other children) – male hormone (testosterone) Childhood Fears 4 yearsseparation from parents; animals, dark, noises yearsanimals; “bad” people; dark; separation from parents; bodily harm 6 yearssupernatural beings; bodily injury; loud sounds; dark; sleeping or saying alone; separtion from parents 7-8 yearssupernatural beings; media events (threat of war, child kidnapping); bodily injury 9-12 yearstests/exams; school permances; bodily injury; physical appearance; loud sounds; death; dark Child Abuse and Neglect – precise data on abuse and neglect are difficult to collect and interpret – child protective service agencies reported 1 million cases in 1997 – 60% of cases involve neglect 25% of cases involve physical abuse – usually poor and single-parent homes – 1,000 – 2,000 die every year; ? are under 4 years old – in murders of children under 12 years, parents were charged in 57% of the cases – in 80% of the cases, parents have previously abused the child – mother’s boyfriend is often the murderer; mother tries to cover-up and is abused herself – 5% of parents admit to brutally punishing their children, amounting to abuse (1995 Gallop poll) – males who are abused, tend to become abusers (girls tend to not become abusers)Emotional Abuse – verbal and nonphysical treatment or failure to act – may include: rejection, terrorization, ridicule, etc. – causes damage to the child’s self-esteem and functioning Sexual Abuse (rape, incest, molestation – an estimated 1.

3 million children are sexually abused each year (Gallop poll; 1995) – offender is usually a male who is close to the child or family – 27% women, 16% men were sexually abused as children (Kohn (1987) Causes of Child Abuse Family Problems – drug abuse 90% are not psychotic, but are: lonely, unhappy, anxious, depressed, angry, under stress, low self-esteem, poor impulse control, poor emotional intelligence, less effective in problem solving – ignorance of normal child development – expect children not to cry, stay clean and neat (at an unrealistically early age) – deprived of good parenting themselves – parents fight physically with each other – households are disorganized The Exosystem: Jobs, Neighborhood and Social Support – poverty – unemployment, or job dissatisfaction – social isolation; lack of assistance from social network; criminal neighborhoods – spousal abuseMacrosystem: Cultural Values and Patterns – where violence is infrequent and spanking is rare, abuse is rare – the US is violent (homicide, battering, rape) and child abuse is high – many states permit corporal punishment of students – citizens are resistant to gun control Some countries don’t view child labor as being abusive. Is it? The Effects of Abuse and Neglect – later in life – trauma (physical, emotional, and cognitive) – delayed speech – do poorly in school and on cognitive tests – disciplinary problems in school – tend to be aggressive and uncooperative they are less liked by other children – at risk of antisocial personality, criminal behavior The Effects of Sexual Abuse – later in life – fearful, low self-esteem – pre-occupied with sex, or sexually withdrawn – problems with behavior and school Playmates and Friends – friendship promotes emotional, social and cognitive development, and self-efficacy – children with friends talk more, and have learned that being a friend is the way to have a friend – children who don’t have friends tend to fight more with those who do Choosing Friends and Playmates generally have similar energy levels – same age and gender – more concerned with friends who have similar interests than geographic location – children prefer prosocial friends – unpopular children tend use violence or tattle – popular children are less likely to be involved in angry conflicts – popular children have good coping skills, regulate anger Sibling Rivalry – common in early childhood, but so is affection, interest, companionship and influence – older siblings initiate more behavior (friendly and unfriendly) – younger children tend to imitate the older child younger children express themselves physically (hugging, hitting) – as they age, they become more skilled in using words to express affection or dislike – same-sex siblings are more peaceful than boy-girl siblings The Only Child – are not spoiled, selfish, lonely or maladjusted – only children tend to be gifted (educationally, occupationally, intellectually) – tend to be more mature and motivated to achieve – have higher self-esteem – same as multiple-siblings in sociability – parents spend more time with them, don’t have to split resources with other children

Author: Regina Andrews


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