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Chapter 10

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Jonathan Witt

Chapter 10 Erikson’s Theory: Initiative vs. Guilt -Erikson described early childhood as a period of “vigorous unfolding”. Theyre eager to tackle new tasks and discover what they can do with the help of adults -He regarded play as a means through which young children learn about themselves and their social world. The negative outcome of early childhood is an overly strict superego that causes children to feel too much guilt because they/ve been criticized too much by adults. Self-Understanding As self-awareness strengthens, they focus more intently on qualities that make the self unique. They begin to develop a self-concept, the set of attributes, abilities, attitudes, and values that an individual believes defines who he or she is. This mental representation of the self has profound implications for children’s emotional and social lives, influencing their preferences for activities and social partners and their vulnerability to stress, Foundations of Self-Concept -Pre-schoolers’ self concepts largely consist of observable characteristics, such as name, physical appearance, possessions, and everyday behavior. -Direct references to personality traits must wait for greater cognitive maturity -A warm, sensitive parent-child relationship seems to foster a more positive, coherent early self- concept. Elaborative reminiscing is associated with a more organized, detailed autobiographical memory -As early as age 2, parents used narratives of past events to impart rules, standards for behaviors, and evaluative information about the child. Emergence of Self-Esteem -Another aspect of self-concept emerges in early childhood: self-esteem, the judgements we make about our own worth and the feelings associated with those judgements. -By age 4, preschoolers have several self-judgements (learning things well in school, making friends, getting along with parents) -they usually rate their own ability as very high and often underestimate task difficulty, because they have difficulty distinguishing between their desired and actual competence. But this contributes to enthusiasm and motivation to master skills. -Parents should avoid promoting self-defeating reactions by adjusting their expectations to children’s capacities, scaffolding their attempts at difficult tasks, and pointing out effort and improvement in children’s work or behavior. Emotional Development -Gains in representational, language, and self-concept support emotional development in early childhood. They become emotionally competent 1- First, they gain in emotional understanding, able to talk about and feel others’ feelings 2-Second, they become better at emotional self-regulation 3- Often experience self-conscious emotions and empathy, which contribute to their developing sense of morality. Understanding Emotion Cognitive Development and Emotional Understanding -Preschooler’s explanations of emotions tend to emphasize external factors over internal states, a balance that changes with age. -Overall, preschoolers have an impressive ability to interpret, predict, and change others’ feelings. At the same time, they have difficulty interpreting situations that offer conflicting cue about how a person is feeling. They focus on the most obvious aspect of a complex emotional situation to the neglect of other relevant information Social Experience and Emotional Understanding -The more mothers label emotions, explain them, and express warmth and enthusiasm when conversing with preschoolers, the more “emotion words” children use and the better developed their emotional understanding. -Discussions in which family members disagree are particularly helpful -Pretending is an excellent context for early learning about emotions. Emotional Self-Regulation -Language also contributes to preschoolers’ improved emotional self-regulation, or ability to control the expression of emotion. -Effortful control, in particular inhibiting impulses and shifting attention, also continues to be vital in managing emotion in early childhood -3 year olds who can distract themselves when frustrated tend to become cooperative school-age children with few behavior problems. Emotional “masks” are largely limited to the positive feelings of happiness and surprise. Children of all ages find it harder to act sad, angry, and disgusted than pleased. -Temperament affects the development of emotional self-regulation -Warm, sensitive parents who use verbal guidance, including suggesting and explaining emotion- regulation strategies, strengthen children’s capacity to handle stress. Self-Conscious Emotions -By age 3, self-conscious emotions are clearly linked to self-evaluation. But they need messages from people they look up to. -Beginning in early childhood, intense shame is associated with feelings of personal inadequacy. -Sufficient amount of guilt helps children resist harmful impulses, and it motivates a misbehaving child to repair the damage and behave more considerately. Empathy and Sympathy -Empathy becomes common in early childhood, and serves as an important motivator of prosocial, or altruistic behavior—actions that benefit another person without any expected reward for the self. they rely more on words to communicate empathic feelings. -Feeling with another person doesn’t always yield acts of helpfulness. Sometimes, it becomes personal distress and the child focuses on their own anxiety rather than on the person in need. As such, empathy does not lead to sympathy- feelings of concern or sorrow for another’s plight -Temperament plays a role in whether empathy prompts sympathetic, prosocial behavior or a personally distressed, self-focused response. -Parenting style also affects empathy and sympathy feelings. Peer Relations -Peers provide young children with learning experiences they can get in no other way -Social development proceeds in a 3 step sequence: 1- nonsocial play- unoccupied, onlooker behavior and solitary play 2- parallel play- a limited form of social participation in which a child plays near other children with similar materials but doesn’t try to influence their behavior. 3- associative play- children engage in separate activities but exchange toys and comment on one another’s behavior. 4- cooperative play- a more advanced type of interaction, children orient toward a common goal -Sociodramatic play supports cognitive, emotional, and social development. -with age, preschoolers’ conflicts center less on toys and other resources and more on differences of opinion—an indication of their expanding capacity to consider others’ attitudes and ideas -cultural beliefs about the importance of play also affect early peer associations. Peer sociability in collectivist societies, which stress group harmony, takes different forms than in individualistic cultures. First Friendships -As preschoolers interact, first friendships form that serve as important contexts for emotional and social development. But their ideas about friendships are far from mature—it doesn’t have a long-term, enduring quality based on trust Peer Relations and School Readiness -the ease with which kindergarteners make new friends and are accepted by their classmates predicts cooperative participation in classroom activities and self-directed completion of learning tasks. -Negative social outcomes, such as poor quality relationships, impair children’s liking for school, classroom participation, and academic learning Social Problem Solving -preschoolers’ disagreements only rarely result in hostile encounters -Social conflicts provide repeated occasions for social problem solving- generating and applying strategies that prevent or resolve disagreements, resulting in outcomes that are both acceptable to others and beneficial to the self -The social problem-solving process: notice social cues, interpret social cues, formulate social goals, generate possible problem-solving strategies, evaluate probable effectiveness of strategies, enact response, peer evaluation and response Enhancing Social Problem Solving -intervening with children who have weak social problem-solving skills can foster development in several ways -in PATHS, teachers provide children with weekly lessons in the ingredients of social problem solving. -Children first acquire skills for interacting with peers within the family. Parents influence children both directly and indirectly (attachments to parents) -Parent-child play seems effective for promoting peer interaction skills Foundations of Morality -At first, the child’s morality is externally controlled by adults. Gradually, it becomes regulated by inner standards. 1- The Psychoanalytic Perspective In Freud’s theory, fear of punishment and loss of parental love motivate conscience formation and moral behavior. -Conscience formation is promoted by a type of discipline called induction, in which an adult helps make the child aware of feeling by pointing out the effects of the child’s misbehaviour on others -more empathic children require less power assertion and more responsive to induction. Temperament is also influential -To foster early moral development, parents must tailor their disciplinary strategies to their child’s personality -Guilt is an important motivator of moral action. -Inducing empathy based guilt is a means of influencing children without using coercion. 2- Social Learning Theory Morality doesn’t have a unique course of development. Rather, moral behavior is acquired just like any other set of responses: through reinforcement and modeling. -Social learning theorists believe children learn to behave morally largely through modeling. Once acquired, reinforcement in the form of praising the act increases its frequency -Warmth and responsiveness: Children are more likely to copy the prosocial actions of an adult who is warm and responsive than those of a cold and distant adult -Competence and power: Children admire and tend to imitate competent, powerful models -Consistency between assertions and behavior: When models say one thing and do another, children generally choose the most lenient standard of behavior that adults demonstrate -Frequent punishments promote only immediate compliance, not lasting changes in behavior -Corporal punishment (the use of physical force to inflict pain but not injury)- its frequency and harshness are elevated among less educated, economically disadvantaged parents. Child’s temperament decides how they react to this punishment. Alternative to harsh punishment: time out- involves removing the child from the immediate setting, for example, by sending them to their room, until they are ready to act appropriately -Punishments can be effective in 3 ways: Consistency, a warm parent-child relationship, explanations Positive Relationships, Positive Discipline -The most effective forms of discipline encourage good conduct, by building a mutually respectful bond with the child, letting the child know ahead of time how to act, praising mature behavior 3- The Cognitive-Developmental Perspective Regards children as active thinkers about
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