Children & Social Development
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Social Development entails learning the knowledge, skills, and values that enable children to effectively relate to others and to positively contribute to school, family and the community. This type of learning is directly passed on to children by those who teach and care for them, as well as indirectly through friends or through family social relationships, and through participation by the children in the culture that surrounds them. Through their growing awareness of expectations and values and relationships with others, children build an idea of who they are and of the available social roles to them. As children socially develop, they respond to the influences around them, as well as play an active part in relationship shaping.
Influences On Children
While careers and parents are the most important and first influences on social development of children, there are many other social environment aspects that are influential such as these listed in the diagram below.
The settings and people, such as family, peers and school that are most closely involved with the child are shown in the center of the diagram. Through their contact with caregivers, parents, school staff, family members, as well as peers daily, children learn about the rules, values and practices of the social world that support it. By participating in these relationships actively, children also affect the ways that their peers and adults relate to them.
Development of children are influenced by wider networks including friends, extended family and the community, both religious and cultural of which the child is a part of. These networks provide children with opportunities to develop their social skills and awareness as they relate with different individuals and experience a wide range of expectations and roles.
As shown on the diagram in the outer circle, children’s lives are shaped by social circumstances that are much more broad that impact the communities and families, such as access to services of social and health, parents’ income and employment, or their ability to balance family time and work. Children’s sense of social connection, in particular, is influenced often by the attitudes of the community and the values of culture, including those encountering the media.
Through their connections and relationships with others, children build an idea of who they are and where in the social world they fit in. A central goal of social development for children is coming to the understanding about others and themselves.
Children’s Self-Concept in Developmental Trends
The beliefs, ideas and knowledge that children have about what they can do, who they are and where in society they fit in helps to shape their understanding of themselves. Children’s self-concepts are based on feedback others provide to them, as well as judgments of their own. The sort of things that are taken into consideration by primary school children in developing their self-concepts include how successful they are in activities and schoolwork and how they work, as well as how they get along with peers and family. Patterns of development in the ways children describe themselves typically are related to their capabilities of developing for thinking, as well as understanding and managing their behavior and emotions. Preschool-aged children often have high opinions of their abilities. Children become more aware of how their achievements and abilities compare with those of others during primary school. It is very important for children’s efforts and strengths to be recognized in order to positively support self-concept development and to positively motivate children engaged in their relationships and in learning.
Self-Concept and Culture
Children’s self-concept is enhanced by a strong cultural development and promotes a sense of belonging and connectedness. Children’s cultural identity, when they learn about their cultural traditions and when those surrounding them show respect for those values, is nurtured. Teaching children to appreciate and respect differences and variations between cultures is very important for children’s social development.
Children who are from cultural groups of minority can encounter differences between the expectations required and the rules at school versus those that are used at home. Your children’s cultural identity development, as well as their sense of belonging can be negatively affected when acknowledgment isn’t being made of the differences.
Children from cultures of minority may be subjected to discrimination and stereotyping on the basis of their religion, appearance, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and social class. Bullying and discrimination can have serious effects on the mental health and wellbeing of children, as well as their social development. In contract, overcoming discrimination can also have positive effects on self-concept and it is truly important for caregivers, school staff and parents to support and encourage children to take action positively against bullying and discrimination by reporting incidents and speaking up.
Learning Social Values
The ability for children to understand others and take their views and needs into consideration develops over time. Young children are self-focused naturally. Rather than with, children often play beside other children and tend to believe that everyone sees things in the same aspect that they do. Children learn in early primary school that others may see things differently. As their thinking skills develop, they have a better understanding of the other person’s point of view and appreciate the many ways of looking at the same situation or event.
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