Social Development of Children

Here is my selection of ERIC digests on the topic of social development of children. The articles had been re-formatted for easy viewing but the contents remain unchanged. Each title on this page is followed by an overview or paragraphs taken from the actual article itself. Hopefully these paragraphs will help you decide whether the articles are relevant to your needs and concerns.

  • The Only Child

    Popular thinking often paints an unflattering picture of only children, portraying them as self-centered, attention-seeking, dependent, and temperamental. Despite these negative stereotypes, smaller families in general -- and the one-child option -- are growing in popularity.

  • Loneliness in Young Children

    Loneliness is a significant problem that can predispose young children to immediate and long-term negative consequences. However, only recently have research and intervention in educational settings focused on young children who are lonely. This digest presents an overview of loneliness with suggestions for practitioners on how they can apply the research in early childhood settings.

  • Assessing Young Children's Social Competence: A Checklist

    This digest presents a checklist of attributes of child social behavior that teachers are encouraged to examine every 3 or 4 months.

    Many of the attributes listed in the checklist in this digest indicate adequate social growth if they usually characterize the child. This qualifier is included to ensure that occasional fluctuations do not lead to over-interpretation of children's temporary difficulties. On the basis of frequent direct contact with the child, observation in a variety of situations, and information obtained from parents and other caregivers, a teacher or caregiver can assess each child according to the checklist.

  • The Development of Social Competence in Children

    This digest reviews research on the development of social competence in infants and children, emphasizing the developmental processes which take place in the family, peer groups, preschool, and elementary school. The importance of infant bonding with at least one particular adult, socialization of the developing child within the family context, and the contribution of peer relationships to social development are discussed.

  • Having Friends, Making Friends, and Keeping Friends (1)

    ... the single best childhood predictor of adult adaptation is not school grades, and not classroom behavior, but rather, the adequacy with which the child gets along with other children. Children who are generally disliked, who are aggressive and disruptive, who are unable to sustain close relationships with other children, and who cannot establish a place for themselves in the peer culture, are seriously at risk.

  • Understanding & Facilitating Preschool Children's Peer Acceptance (2)

    Children's understanding of emotional expressions and situations has been found to relate to how well peers like or dislike them. A study at George Mason University suggests that well-liked children are better able than other children to read and respond to peers' emotions. Disliked children may misinterpret peers' emotions, leading to difficult interactions and eventual rejection by peers.

  • The Role of Parents in the Development of Peer Group Competence (3)

    How do parents help their child become a socially competent, well-liked playmate who is not too easily influenced by ill-behaved peers? Authoritative parents tend to be high in nurturance and moderate in parental control when it comes to dealing with child behavior. It is this combination of parenting strategies that researchers find the most facilitative in the development of social competence during early childhood and beyond.

  • Enhancing Students' Socialization: Key Elements

    Coping with students who display social adjustment problems can be frustrating. However, teachers can take actions toward minimizing classroom conflicts by socializing students into a classroom environment conducive to learning.

  • The Shy Child

    Shyness is a common but little understood emotion. Everyone has felt ambivalent or self-conscious in new social situations. However, at times shyness may interfere with optimal social development and restrict children's learning. This digest (1) describes types and manifestations of shyness, (2) reviews research on genetic, temperamental, and environmental influences on shyness, (3) distinguishes between normal and problematic shyness, and (4) suggests ways to help the shy child.

  • Working with Shy or Withdrawn Students

    This digest focuses on the middle range of such students, who are commonly described as SHY (inhibited, lacking in confidence, socially anxious) or WITHDRAWN (unresponsive, uncommunicative, or daydreaming) and suggests strategies for working with these students.

  • Children's Peer Relationships

    Children who are unable to form close or satisfying relationships with peers should be of concern to parents and teachers alike. For one thing, these children miss out on opportunities to learn social skills, skills needed to initiate and maintain social relationships and to resolve social conflicts, including communication, compromise, and tact.

  • Peer Conflicts in the Classroom

    Traditionally, many adults have viewed conflicts between children as undesirable and have tried to prevent them or to intervene. Recent theory and research, however, suggest that peer conflict contributes to children's development and represents an important form of social interaction.

  • Bullying

    Bullying can take many forms; racial discrimination and sexual harassment are examples of abuse students can face. Child rearing influences, the characteristics of the child, and factors of the environment are cited as possible reasons why children bully. Most bullying occurs in the school environment so how schools respond to such interactions impacts the school climate.

  • Preventing Student Sexual Harassment

    This digest reviews effective strategies currently used by schools to combat sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is considered any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with the life of the target individual. Experts agree that sexual harassment is about power, not sex. A serious effort to keep a school free of sexual harassment involves the commitment of the whole school, school district, and community to a multidimensional approach and long-term educational strategies. Student education about harassment needs to be age and grade appropriate.

  • Aggression and Cooperation
    Helping Young Children Develop Constructive Strategies

    Aggression and cooperation represent two critical features in the child's social domain. What do they have in common? Both emerge from the child's strong developmental push to initiate and maintain relationships with other children, beginning at a very early age. Peer relationships provide critical opportunities for children to learn to manage conflict and work towards establishing intimacy. Aggression and cooperation are two possible strategies for dealing with the normal conflicts of early peer interactions. Both have important roots in early family interactions, both are responsive to adult expectations and values, and both can be responsive to environmental factors.

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