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Chapter 4: The Preschool Years:

Chapter 4: The Preschool Years Module 4.3: Social and Personality Development in the Preschool Years

Looking Ahead:

Looking Ahead How do preschool-age children develop a concept of themselves? How do children develop their sense of racial identity and gender? In what sorts of social relationships and play do preschool-age children engage? What sorts of disciplinary styles do parents employ, and what effects do they have? What factors contribute to child abuse and neglect? How do children develop a moral sense? How does aggression develop in preschool-age children?

PowerPoint Presentation:

Forming a Sense of Self

Psychosocial Development: Resolving the Conflicts:

Psychosocial Development: Resolving the Conflicts INITIATIVE = desire to act independently of parents and become autonomous GUILT = guilt of unintended consequences resulting in shame and self-doubt 3 to 6 years

Self- Concept:

Self- Concept Definition

Preschooler Self-Concept:

Preschooler Self-Concept Not “accurate” More optimistic Overestimates abilities

Cultural Influence:

Cultural Influence View of self culturally bound Collectivist Orientation: Asian Individualistic Orientation: Western View of self tied to family View of self individually directed

Psychosocial Development:

Psychosocial Development

Developing Racial and Ethnic Awareness: Developmental Diversity:

Developing Racial and Ethnic Awareness: Developmental Diversity Racial and ethnic identity begins to formalize Differences in skin color noticed early in life Cultural meaning attached to differences comes later

Race Dissonance:

Race Dissonance Minority children indicate preferences for majority values or people Result of powerful influence of dominant white culture NOT disparagement of own racial characteristics

Gender Identity:

Gender Identity Sense of being male or female Well established by preschool years By age 2 years: Consistently label themselves and others as male or female

Gender and Play:

Gender and Play Differences noted in play of male and female preschoolers Males: More rough and tumble play Same sex playmate preference around 3 Females: Organized games and role playing Same sex playmate preference around 2

Gender Constancy:

Gender Constancy Kohlberg (1966) By age 4-5, children develop understanding of gender constancy Belief that people are permanently male or female because of fixed, unchangeable biological factors Gender schemas occur well before gender constancy is understood

Gender Expectations:

Gender Expectations Expectations about gender-appropriate behavior more rigid and gender-stereotyped than in adults until age 5 Gender outweighs ethnic variables

Snips, and snails…:

Snips, and snails… Preschoolers expect boys to demonstrate:

Sugar and spice...:

Sugar and spice... Preschoolers expect girls to demonstrate:

Theoretical Perspectives on Gender:

Theoretical Perspectives on Gender Biological Inborn, genetic factors produce gender differences Social learning Gender related behavior learned from observations of others’ behaviors Cognitive Gender schemes form lens through which world is viewed

Social Learning Perspective on Gender:

Social Learning Perspective on Gender Gender related behaviors and expectations learned from observing others Books, media, television perpetuate gender related behavior and expectations

Cognitive Perspective on Gender:

Cognitive Perspective on Gender Gender schema or cognitive framework organizes relevant gender information Preschoolers begin developing “rules” about what is right and what is inappropriate for males and females

Bem There, Done That:

Bem There, Done That Sandra Bem and androgynous children Encouraged to follow gender roles that encompass characteristics thought typical of both sexes Male-appropriate and female-appropriate traits

Review and Apply:

Review and Apply REVIEW According to Erikson’s psychosocial development theory, preschool-age children move from the autonomy-versus-shame-and-doubt stage to the initiative-versus-guilt stage. During the preschool years, children develop their self-concepts, beliefs about themselves that they derive from their own perceptions, their parents’ behaviors, and society. Racial and ethnic awareness begins to form in the preschool years.

Review and Apply:

Review and Apply APPLY What sorts of activities might you encourage a preschool boy to undertake to encourage him to adopt a less stereotypical gender schema?

PowerPoint Presentation:

Friends and Family: Preschoolers’ Social Lives

Preschoolers’ Social Lives:

Preschoolers’ Social Lives Increased interactions with the world at large Peers with special qualities Relationships based on companionship, play, entertainment Friendship focused on completion of shared activities

A Friend Indeed… You Can’t Come to my Birthday Party!:

A Friend Indeed… You Can’t Come to my Birthday Party! View of friendship evolves with age and older preschoolers: See friendship as continuing state and stable relationship Begin to understand concepts such as trust, support, shared interest

Playing by the Rules: The Work of Play:

Playing by the Rules: The Work of Play

Learning to Play, Playing to Learn:

Learning to Play, Playing to Learn Play is critical to the overall development of young children Changes over time Becomes more sophisticated, interactive, cooperative Gradually more dependent on social and cognitive skills

Categorizing Play:

Categorizing Play Functional play: simple, repetitive activities typical of 3-year-olds that may involve objects or repetitive muscular movements Constructive play: activities in which children manipulate objects to produce or build something

Building…inside and out!:

Building…inside and out! By age four, children engage in constructive play that:

Social Aspects of Play Parten (1932):

Social Aspects of Play Parten (1932) Parallel Play Children play with similar toys, in a similar manner, but do not interact with each other Onlooker Play Children simply watch each other play

Social Aspects of Play Parten (1932):

Social Aspects of Play Parten (1932) Associative Play Children interact with one another in groups of two or more Children share or borrow toys or materials, but do not do the same thing Cooperative Play Children play with one another, take turns, play games, and devise contests

The Smallest Great Pretenders:

The Smallest Great Pretenders Nature of pretend, or make-believe, play changes during the preschool period: Becomes increasingly un realistic and more imaginative Change from using only realistic objects to using less concrete ones

What are you thinking, anyway?:

What are you thinking, anyway? Preschoolers’ Theory of Mind Related to: Brain maturation Hormonal changes Developing language Opportunities for social interaction and pretend play Cultural background

Preschoolers’ Family Lives:

Preschoolers’ Family Lives Increased number of single parent headed families Still, most children do not experience upheaval and turmoil Strong, positive relationships within families encourage relationships with other children

Effective Parenting: Teaching Desired Behavior:

Effective Parenting: Teaching Desired Behavior AUTHORITARIAN Exhibit controlling, rigid, cold style Value strict, unquestioning obedience AUTHORITATIVE Set firm, clear, consistent limits Allow disagreement and use reasoning, explanations, consequences Supportive parenting Types of Parenting and Discipline Patterns (Baumrind, 1980) UNINVOLVED Uninvolved in children’s lives Set few limits PERMISSIVE Involved with children Place little or no limits or control on children’s behavior

PowerPoint Presentation:

Does parental discipline style result in differences in child behavior? ? ? ?

See how they grow…:

See how they grow… Authoritarian parents = withdrawn, socially awkward children Permissive parents = dependent, moody children with low social skills Uninvolved parents = emotionally detached, unloved, and insecure children Authoritative parents = independent, friendly, self-assertive, and cooperative children


Remember… Baumrind research findings chiefly apply to Western societies Childrearing practices that parents are urged to follow reflect cultural perspectives Nature of children Role of parents No single parenting pattern or style is likely to be universally appropriate or likely invariably to produce successful children

Child Abuse and Psychological Maltreatment:

Child Abuse and Psychological Maltreatment

Range of Abuse and Maltreatment of Children in the US:

Range of Abuse and Maltreatment of Children in the US

True or False?:

True or False? Child abuse can occur in any home or child care setting.

Stressful environments increase likelihood for abuse:

Stressful environments increase likelihood for abuse

What else?:

What else? Vague demarcation between permissible and impermissible forms of physical violence Line between “spanking” and “beating” is not clear Spankings begun in anger can escalate into abuse Privacy of child care setting Unrealistic expectations

So why then does abuse occur?:

So why then does abuse occur? Children are more likely to be victimized when they are: Fussy Resistant to control Slow to adapt to new situations Overly anxious Frequent bedwetters Developmentally delayed

It is crucial to remember…:

It is crucial to remember… Labeling children as at high risk for abuse does not make them responsible for their abuse

What do the experts tell us about causality?:

What do the experts tell us about causality? Cycle-of-violence hypothesis argues that abuse and neglect children suffer predisposes them to be abusive as adults

Psychological Maltreatment:

Psychological Maltreatment Not all abuse is physical! Psychological maltreatment Occurs when parents or other caretakers harm children’s behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or physical functioning May take form of neglect in which parents may ignore or act emotionally unresponsive Not as easily identified without outward physical signs

What are consequences of psychological maltreatment? :

What are consequences of psychological maltreatment? Some children survive and grow into psychologically healthy adults Others suffer long-term damage Low self-esteem, depression, suicide Lying Misbehavior Underachievement in school Criminal behavior

Abuse and Brain Development: A Tragic Relationship:

Abuse and Brain Development: A Tragic Relationship Brains of victims undergo permanent changes Reductions in size of amygdala and hippocampus in adulthood Changes due to overstimulation of the limbic system

Warning Signs for Child Abuse:

Warning Signs for Child Abuse Feelings of pain for unexplained reasons Fear of adults or care providers Inappropriate attire in warm weather Extreme behavior Fear of physical contact Visible, serious injuries that have no reasonable explanation Bite or choke marks Burns from cigarettes or immersion in hot water

Difference is the key...:

Difference is the key... Dramatic changes or shifts in behavior without logical explanation warrant inquiry

Three Cheers for the Survivors! A Closer Look at Resilient Children:

Three Cheers for the Survivors! A Closer Look at Resilient Children Resilience Ability to overcome circumstances that place child at high risk for psychological and/or physical damage Resilient Children Exhibit ability to overcome circumstances that place child at high risk for psychological and/or physical functioning

Werner (1995):

Werner (1995) Resilient infants Temperaments that evoke responses from wide variety of caregivers Affectionate, easy going, good-natured Easily soothed as infants Able to evoke whatever support available in environment Resilient children Socially pleasant, outgoing, good communication skills Relatively intelligent, independent Realistic

Becoming an Informed Consumer of Development:

Becoming an Informed Consumer of Development Disciplining Children For most children in Western cultures, authoritative parenting works best Spanking is never an appropriate discipline technique Tailor parental discipline to the characteristics of the child and the situation Use routines to avoid conflict

Review and Apply:

Review and Apply REVIEW In the preschool years, children develop their first true friendships on the basis of personal characteristics, trust, and shared interests. The character of preschoolers’ play changes over time, growing more sophisticated, interactive, and cooperative, and relying increasingly on social skills.

Review and Apply:

Review and Apply REVIEW There are several distinct childrearing styles, including authoritarian, permissive, authoritative, and uninvolved. Differences in parenting style are associated with different effects on children. In general, the children of authoritative parents fare best., especially when parents are flexible enough to use elements of different styles when circumstances call for it.

Review and Apply:

Review and Apply APPLY What cultural and environmental factors in the United States may have contributed to the shift from an authoritarian parenting style to an authoritative one since World War II? Is another shift under way?

PowerPoint Presentation:

Moral Development and Aggression

Moral Development:

Moral Development Moral development : children’s reasoning about morality, their attitudes toward moral lapses, and their behavior when faced with moral issues Several approaches have evolved

Moral Development: The Case for Right and Wrong:

Moral Development: The Case for Right and Wrong

Theoretical Approaches:

Theoretical Approaches Piaget Heteronomous Morality 4 to 7 years Initial stage of moral development Rules seen as invariant, unchangeable, and beyond child’s control and/or influence Intentions not considered Believe in immanent justice (immediate punishment for infractions)

Theoretical Approaches:

Theoretical Approaches Piaget Incipient Cooperation Stage 7 to 10 years Become more social and learn the rules Play according to shared conception of the rules

Theoretical Approaches:

Theoretical Approaches Piaget Autonomous Cooperation Stage Beginning at 10 years Become fully aware that rules may and can be modified if people playing agree

Social Learning Approaches to Morality:

Social Learning Approaches to Morality

Do as I say…or as I do?:

Do as I say…or as I do? Preschoolers more apt to model behavior of warm, responsive, competent, high prestige adults and peers

More than Mimicking:

More than Mimicking Children do more than simply mimic unthinkingly By observing moral conduct, children are reminded of: Society’s norms about importance of moral behavior as conveyed by significant others Connections between particular situations and certain kinds of behavior

Empathy and Moral Behavior:

Empathy and Moral Behavior Empathy lies at heart of some kinds of moral behavior Roots of empathy grow early Infants Toddlers Preschoolers

Emotional Self-Regulation:

Emotional Self-Regulation Preschool children improve in emotional control Around age 2 Talk about feelings and engage in regulation strategies Preschoolers Develop more effective strategies and sophisticated social skills, learn to better cope with negative emotions Learn to use language to express wishes Become increasingly able to negotiate with others


Aggression Intentional injury or harm to another person; relatively stable trait Aggression in early preschool years Often addressed at attaining desired goal Declines through preschool years as does frequency and average length of episodes Extreme and sustained aggression is cause of concern

Kinds of Aggression:

Kinds of Aggression Instrumental aggression Motivated by desire to obtain a concrete goal Higher in boys than girls Relational aggression Intended to hurt another person’s feelings through non-physical means Higher in girls than boys

Explanations for Aggressive Behavior Among Children:

Explanations for Aggressive Behavior Among Children FREUD: death drive leads to aggressive actions and behavior LORENZ: fighting instinct found in all humans SOCIOBIOLOGISTS: strengthening species drives aggression SOCIAL-LEARNING: prior learning shapes aggression COGNITIVE: interpretation of others’ actions and situations influences aggression

Children and Violence:

Children and Violence What does Bandura’s “Bobo Doll” research tell us about children who live with violence? ? ? ?

Children and Television Violence:

Children and Television Violence Children’s television programs actually contain higher levels of violence (69%) than other types of programs (57%) Results are primarily correlational : the overwhelming weight of research evidence is clear in suggesting that observation of televised aggression does lead to subsequent aggression. Longitudinal studies have found that children’s preferences for violent television shows at age 8 are related to the seriousness of criminal convictions by age 30. Observation of media violence can lead to a greater readiness to act aggressively, bullying, and to an insensitivity to the suffering of victims of violence See APA Online study: http:// www.apa.org/releases/media_violence.html

Becoming an Informed Consumer of Development:

Becoming an Informed Consumer of Development Increasing Moral Behavior and Reducing Aggression Provide opportunities to observe others acting in a cooperative, helpful, prosocial manner Do not ignore aggressive behavior Help preschoolers devise alternative explanations for others’ behavior Monitor preschoolers’ television viewing, particularly the violence that they view

Review and Apply:

Review and Apply REVIEW Piaget believed that preschoolers are in the heteronomous morality stage of moral development, in which rules are seen as invariant and unchangeable Social learning approaches to moral development emphasize the importance of reinforcement for moral actions and the observation of models of moral conduct Psychoanalytical and other theories focus on children’s empathy with others and their wish to help others so they can avoid unpleasant feelings of guilt themselves

Review and Apply:

Review and Apply REVIEW Aggression typically declines in frequency and duration as children become more able to regulate their emotions and to use language to negotiate disputes.

Review and Apply:

Review and Apply APPLY If high-prestige models of behavior are particularly effective in influencing moral attitudes and actions, are there implications for individuals in such industries as sports, advertising, and entertainment?

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