Chapter 8: Social and Personality Development in Early Childhood
I. Theories of Social and Personality Development
A. Psychoanalytic Perspectives – (optional reading – not on the exams)
B. Social-Cognitive Perspectives
1. Define the viewpoint held by Social-Cognitive Theories.
Social-Cognitive Theories – theoretical perspective that asserts social and personality development
in early childhood is related to improvements in the cognitive domain
i. Person Perception
2. (a) Define person perception – ability to classify others according to categories such as age, gender,
(b) Identify two reasons why preschoolers’ observational and classification skills limit their person
- young children’s judgments about others are inconsistent because they tend to base them on their most
recent interactions with those individuals
- also categorize others based on observable characteristics: age, gender, race (cross-race effect)
(c) Define the cross-race effect and age when it is established.
Cross-race effect – individuals more likely to remember faces of people of own race rather than
different race; established by age 5
ii. Understanding Rule Categories
3. (a) What is the difference between social conventions and moral rules?
Social conventions – rules that have nothing to do with fundamental sense of right and wrong (fork
on left, knife on right)
Moral rules – rules based on morality; involve fundamental sense of right and wrong (laws that
forbid stealing, murder)
(b) When do children appear to understand this difference?
- between 2-3
iii. Understanding Others’ Intentions
4. What influences preschoolers’ judgments of others’ intent according to the research findings by Nelson
(1980)? See third paragraph.
- outcomes (intention to harm = “bad”, “naughty”)
II. Family Relationships and Structure
5. (a) Compare attachment at 12 months and at 2-3 years of age.
- 12 months: baby establishes clear attachment to at least one caregiver
- 2-3 years of age: attachment just as strong, but many attachment behaviors become less visible
(still want to sit on parents’ lap but when not afraid or under stress, wander farther from safe base)
(b) How does attachment change when preschoolers are approximately 4 years old?
- goal-corrected partnership – preschooler grasps that the relationship continues to exist even when
partners are apart
- child’s internal model of attachment appears to generalize: model becomes less specific property
of individual relationship and more a general property of all child’s social relationships (c) Preschoolers’ compliance is context-dependent. Identify two contexts or situations that are
associated with high compliance and two contexts or situations that are associated with low
- safety requests (“don’t touch, hot!”)
- prohibition about care of objects (“don’t tear the book!”)
- requests to delay (“I’m busy, can’t talk now”)
- instructions about self-care (“please wash your hands”)
B. Parenting Styles
i. The Authoritarian Type – See lecture notes
ii. The Permissive Type – See lecture notes
iii. The Authoritative Type - See lecture notes
iv. The Uninvolved Type - See lecture notes
v. Canadian Parenting Styles - (optional reading – not on the exams)
vi. Parenting and Child Discipline
Note: The definition of discipline will be discussed in the lecture templates.
6. (a) Identify the two key problems that make it difficult to establish what constitutes effective
- difficult to establish harmful or beneficial effects of various forms of discipline – physical vs.
- research has not concluded how intense and frequent effective discipline needs to be; differences
among mild, moderate, severe discipline not clearly delineated
(b)What do Canadian child-care advocates suggest in terms of the most appropriate child discipline
methods? (See top of p. 216)
- physical interventions not appropriate
- advocate use of minimal nonphysical interventions in context of a loving family relationship
- encourage parents to be proactive by improving parenting skills, anticipating and limiting situations
(c) Define inductive discipline – discipline strategy in which parents explain to children why a
punished behavior is wrong
(d) Identify the research findings related to the effectiveness of inductive discipline.
- inductive discipline not equally effective for all children
- children with difficult temperaments or physically active, risk-taking natures have greater need for
firm discipline and benefits less from inductive discipline than peers with different temperaments
Research Report: “Disciplining Children: The Canadian Perspective” (p. 215)
Note: The first two paragraphs of this report will be discussed in the lecture templates.
7. As of January 2004, Canadian national laws permit the use of physical force against children when it is
“within reasonable limits”. How does Canada define “reasonable limits”?
- “reasonable limits” = minor corrective force part of a genuine effort to educate the child, poses no
reasonable risk of harm that is more than transitory and trifling, and is reasonable under the
8. According to Joan Durrant (2004), Canada’s law on permitted spanking of children leaves many questions unanswered. Identify what remains unanswered, according to Durrant.
- how to distinguish between physical punishment and physical abuse?
- acceptable degree of and circumstance for physical discipline?
- how calm do parents have to be when spanking
- one spank or two? Etc.
C. Ethnicity, Socioeconomic Status, and Parenting Styles
9. (a) Identify the research findings on Asian American parenting.
- authoritarian style
- link between Asian American children’s academic achievement and authoritarian parenting – parents
with most authoritarian parenting style have highest-scoring children
- authoritarian style not associated with an negative outcomes in Asian American children
(b) Identify the research findings on Aboriginal child-rearing practices in Canada.
- permissive style
- no association with negative outcomes in Aboriginal children
D. Family Structure - (optional reading – not on the exams)
10. Summarize all four paragraphs in this section (pp. 221 to 222).
- number of divorces declining in Canada from all-time peak in 1987
- many families, divorce occurs during prime child-rearing time => traumatic for children
- some negative effects of divorce present before divorce, such as difficult temperament in child or
excessive marital conflict between parents
- divorce not a single variable; children affected by many divorce-related factors: parental conflict,
poverty, disruptions of daily routine, etc.
- children in conflict-ridden marriages may experience same effects as those whose parents divorced
- children living in post-divorce/separation experience more emotional or behavior problems than those
in two parent custody
- after first few year of divorce, children often exhibit declines in school performance, become more
aggressive, defiant, negative; more likely to involve in criminal activity in adolescence
- children in step-parent families have higher rates of delinquency, more behavior problems, lower
- 92% say happy childhood (birth-15) in two-parent family; only 72% say happy childhood in divorced
- children of divorced parents have higher risk of mental problems in adulthood; lack financial
resources and emotional support for post-secondary; struggle with fears of intimacy in relationships;
more likely to rely on social assistance income; more likely to be divorced themselves
- general, boys more negatively affected by divorce than girls; however, effects delayed in girls so
evens out in long run
- age differences in severity of effects; more profound effects in early childhood than during school
F. Understanding the Effects of Family Structure and Divorce – (optional reading – not on the exams)
III. Peer Relationships
A. Relating to Peers through Play
11. (a) Differentiate between below terms. Note the typical ages for each type of play. (i) solitary play – playing alone; at every age, before 6 months
(ii) parallel play – two or more children playing together, sometimes cooperating but more often side
by side with different toys; 14 to 18 months
(iii) associative play – toddlers pursue their own activities but also engage in spontaneous, short-lived,
social interactions; 18 months
(iv) cooperative play – several children work together to accomplish a goal (build city together; play
house); 3 to 4 years
(b) Define group entry skills – skills in observing others to find out what they’re doing and then try to
become a part of the group by gaining acceptance
(c) Identify the research findings presented in your textbook that pertain to reasons for and
consequences of poor group entry skills for girls and boys.
- girls: 3 year old girls with poor group entry skills spent more time in parallel play than cooperative
and as a result, the unskilled girls’ pattern of play put them at risk for future developmental problems
because they missed out on age-appropriate play experience
- boys: 3 year old boys with poor group entry skills tend to be more aggressive and were often rejected
by peers which led to more aggression (caught in bad cycle) => at risk for developing internal working
model of relationships involving aggression and aggressive responses in social situations
(d) How did Doctoroff (1997) help 4-5 year-old children with poor group entry skills (two ways)? Did
- taught specific verbal phrases to use when trying to gain acceptance into a group
- taught to remind trained children to use their new skills
12. Define aggression – behavior intended to injure another person or damage an object
i. Patterns in Aggression
13. Summarize all the information in this sub-section.
- physical aggression (PA; reacting with anger, fighting, biting, hitting, etc.) peaks with toddlers at
around age two and begins to decline during preschool years
- indirect aggression (IA; gossiping, exposing secrets, etc.) begins to increase throughout preschool
years to age 11
- just over half of children show occasional PA, about 1/3 showed infrequent PA in toddlerhood, which
declined to infrequent level of PA and virtually no PA, respectively, by pre-adolescence
- a small group displayed frequent PA during toddlerhood and maintained high level PA throughout