Chapter 3: The
Preschool Years
Module 3.3
Social and Personality Development
in the Preschool Years
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
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FORMING A SENSE OF SELF
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Psychosocial Development:
Resolving the Conflicts
• INITIATIVE = desire to act independently
from parents and becoming autonomous
• GUILT = guilt of unintended consequences
resulting in shame and self-doubt
– 3 to 6 years
175
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Self- Concept
Definition
- Identity
- Set of beliefs about
what we are like as
individuals
176
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Preschooler Self-Concept
• Not “accurate”
• More optimistic
• Overestimates of abilities
176
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Cultural Influence
• View of self culturally bound
– Collectivist Orientation: Asian
– Individualistic Orientation: Western
• View of self family tied
• View of self individually directed
176
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Psychosocial Development
• Becoming their own person
• Making own decisions
• Shaping kind of person they are becoming
175
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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
176
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Developmental Diversity
• By age 3-4 years many preschoolers:
– Differentiate races
– Mirror social attitudes
176
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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
176
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Gender Identity
• Sense of being male or female
• Well established by preschool years
• By age 2 years:
– Consistently label themselves and others as
male and female
177
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Gender Constancy
• Kohlberg (1966)
– By age 4-5, children develop understanding of gender
constancy
• Belief that people are permanently males or
females because of fixed, unchangeable
biological factors
• Gender schemas occur well before gender
constancy is understood
177
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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
177
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Gender Expectations
• Expectations about gender-appropriate
behavior more rigid and genderstereotyped than adults up to 5 years
• Gender outweighs ethnic variables
177
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Snips, and snails….
• Preschoolers expect boys to
demonstrate:
– Competence
– Independence
– Forcefulness
– Competitiveness
177
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Sugar and spice...
• Preschoolers expect girls to
demonstrate:
– Warmth
– Expressiveness
– Nurturance
– Submissiveness
177
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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
177
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Social Learning Perspective on
Gender
• Gender related behaviors and expectations
learned from observing others
• Books, media, television perpetuate gender
related behavior and expectations
178
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Cognitive Perspective on
Gender
• Gender schema or cognitive framework
organizes relevant gender information
• Preschoolers begin developing “rules” about
what is right and inappropriate for males and
females
178
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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
179
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Review and Apply
REVIEW
• According to Erikson’s psychosocial
development theory, preschool-age children
move from the autonomy-versus-shame-anddoubt 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.
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179
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?
179
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FRIENDS AND FAMILY:
PRESCHOOLERS’ SOCIAL
LIVES
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
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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
180
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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
180
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Playing by the Rules: The Work
of Play
• Children are interested in maintaining
smooth social relationships with friends
• Children try to avoid and/or solve
disagreements
180
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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
180
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How can adults help?
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
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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
180
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Building…inside and out!
• By age four, children engage in
constructive play that:
– Tests developing cognitive skills
– Practices motor skills
– Facilitates problem solving
– Teaches cooperation
180
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Social Aspects of Play
Parten (1932)
Parallel Play
• Children play with similar toys, in a similar
manner, but do not interact with each other
181
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Social Aspects of Play
Parten (1932)
Onlooker Play
• Children simply watch each other play
181
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Social Aspects of Play
Parten (1932)
Solitary Play
• Children play by themselves
181
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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
181
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Social Aspects of Play
Parten (1932)
Cooperative Play
• Children play with one another, take turns, play
games, and devise contests
181
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The Smallest Great Pretenders
• Nature of pretend, or make-believe, play
changes during the preschool period:
– Becomes increasingly unrealistic and more
imaginative
– Change from using only realistic objects to
using less concrete ones
181
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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
181
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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
182
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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)
182
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Effective Parenting:
Teaching Desired Behavior
• UNINVOLVED
• PERMISSIVE
– Uninvolved in
children’s lives
– Set few limits
– Involved with
children
– Place little or no
limits or control
on children’s
behavior
Types of Parenting and Discipline Patterns (Baumrind, 1980)
183
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Power Assertion, Induction, and
Withdrawal of Love
Power Assertion: intended to stop
undesirable behavior though physical or
verbal enforcement of parental control;
includes demands, threats, withdrawal
of privileges, spankings. Generally
induces fear. Least effective.
Induction: encourage desirable behavior
(or discourage undesirable behavior) by
reasoning with child; includes setting
limits, demonstrating logical
consequences, explaining, discussion,
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
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Power Assertion, Induction, and
Withdrawal of Love
Withdrawal of Love: may include
ignoring, isolating, showing dislike for
child.
Psychological Aggression
• Verbal attacks that may result in
psychological harm; yelling, screaming,
swearing, threatening to spank,
threatening to kick out of house. Occurs
in at least 2/10 households, likely 4-5/10
• 20% parents of toddlers engage in
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
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Parenting Styles
Authoritarian
• High on control but low on
responsiveness
• Characterized by low warmth
• Little positive involvement with their
children
• Set rigid rules
• Discipline harshly
• Expect obey because of parental
authority
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Parenting Styles
Authoritative
• Show warm, responsive involvement
• Set appropriate and clear standards
• Communicate openly
• Provide rationale for rules
• Show respect for children’s rights and
opinions
• Encourage autonomy and
independence, resulting in social
competence
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Parenting Styles
Permissive-Indulgent
• Highly warm and responsive
• Place few demands or expectations
• Rules that exist are not clearly
communicated or enforced so children
left to make own decisions and regulate
own behavior
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Parenting Styles
Permissive-Indifferent
• Leave children alone to make their own
decisions and control own behavior
• Place few demands, neglectful
• Appearing emotionally detached, show
little or no involvement in their children’s
lives
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Consequences of Parenting Styles
(Baumrind)
Authoritative:
Self-reliance
Social responsibility
Higher levels of achievement
Authoritarian:
Social incompetence
Anxiety about social comparison
Failure to show initiative
Poor communication skills
Lower school performance
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Consequences of Parenting Styles
(Baumrind)
Permissive-indulgent:
•
Expect to get their own way
•
Show little respect for others
•
Never learn to control their own behavior
•
Lower school performance
Permissive-Indifferent:
•
Social incompetence
•
Lack of self-control
•
Lower school performance
However, no one right way to raise children.
Cause-effect not demonstrated
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Parenting
Baumrind’s Parenting Styles
Authoritarian
Restrictive, punitive style; parents
exhort child to follow their directions
and respect their work and effort
Authoritative
Encourages children to be
independent but still places limits
and controls on their actions
Neglectful
Parent very uninvolved in child’s life
Indulgent
Parents very involved with children,
place few demands/controls on them
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
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Does parental discipline style
result in differences in child
behavior?
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
See how they grow…
• Authoritarian parents = withdrawn,
socially awkward children
• Permissive parents = dependent, moody,
low social skilled children
• Uninvolved parents = emotionally
detached, unloved, and insecure children
• Authoritative parents = independent,
friendly, self-assertive, and cooperative.
184
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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
184
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From Research to Practice:
Teaching Parents to Parent
• Parent coaching
– Offers specific child-rearing strategies
– Provides basics of child development to help
put child’s behavior in perspective
– Not validated by empirical research
184
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Child Abuse and Psychological
Maltreatment
• Five children are killed daily by caretakers
• 140,000 are physically injured
• Three million are abused or neglected
annually in U.S.
185
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Range of Abuse and Maltreatment
of Children in the US
185
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True or False?
Child abuse can occur in any
home or child care setting!
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Stressful environments increase
likelihood for abuse
• Poverty
• Single-parent homes
• High levels of marital discord
• Substance abuse
185
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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
185
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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
186
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It is crucial to remember…
• Labeling children as high risk for abuse
does not make them responsible for their
abuse
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
What do the experts tell us about
causality?
• CYCLE-OF-VIOLENCE HYPOTHESIS
argues that abuse and neglect children
suffer predisposes them as adults to be
abusive
187
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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
187
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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
187
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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
187
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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
186
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Difference is the key...
Dramatic changes or shifts in
behavior without logical explanation
warrant inquiry
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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
188
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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
188
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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
188
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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.
189
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Review and Apply
REVIEW
• There are several distinct childrearing styles,
including authoritarian, permissive, authoritative,
and uninvolved.
189
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MORAL DEVELOPMENT AND
AGGRESSION
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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
189
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Moral Development…
The case for right and wrong
• Changes in sense of justice and of right
and wrong
• Changes in behavior related to moral
issues
189
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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)
189
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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
190
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Theoretical Approaches
Piaget
• AUTONOMOUS COOPERATION STAGE
– Beginning at 10 years
– Become fully aware that rules may and can
be modified if people playing agree
190
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Social Learning Approaches to
Morality
• Focus on how environment produces
prosocial behavior
• Moral conduct learned through
reinforcement and modeling
190
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Do as I say…or as I do?
• Preschoolers more apt to model behavior
of warm, responsive, competent, high
prestige adults and peers
190
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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
190
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Empathy and Moral Behavior
• Empathy lies at heart of some kinds of
moral behavior
• Roots of empathy grow early
– Infants
– Toddlers
– Preschoolers
190
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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
191
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Aggression
• Intentional injury or harm to another
person; relatively stable trait
• Early preschool years, aggression
– 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
191
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Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
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
192
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Explanations for Aggressive Behavior
Among Children
• FREUD: death drive
leads aggressive
actions and behavior
• SOCIAL-LEARNING:
prior learning shapes
aggression
• LORENZ: fighting
instinct found in all
humans
• COGNITIVE:
interpretation of
others’ actions and
situations influences
aggression
• SOCIOBIOLOGISTS:
strengthening species
drives aggression
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
192
Children and Violence
• What does this
research tell us
about children who
live with violence?
192
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Effects of Video Game Playing on
Children
Positive
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
Negative
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
195
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
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.
195
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
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.
195
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
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?
195
Discovering the Lifespan - Robert S. Feldman
Copyright © 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.
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