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Chapter 15

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York University
PSYC 2110
Stuart Shanker

PSYC2110 - CHAPTER 15: Peers, Media and Schooling Importance of Peer Relations Peer bonds vital for social competence Peers serve as vital sources of support in threatening situations and contribute greatly to development but they do so more effectively when children also have warm, supportive ties to parents Development of Peer Sociability Infant & Toddler Beginnings Coordinated interaction occurs more often, largely in form of mutual imitation involving jumping, chasing or banging a toy; imitative, turn taking games create joint understandings that aid verbal communication Around age 2, they use words to communicate The Preschool Years Dramatic increase with age in ability to engage in joint, interactive play Social development proceeds in 3 step sequence: o Non-social activity unoccupied, onlooker behaviour and solitary play o Parallel play child plays near other children with similar materials but doesnt try to influence their behaviour o Highest level are two forms of true social interaction: Associative play children engage in separate activities but exchange toys and comment on one anothers behaviour Cooperative play more advanced type of interaction, where children orient toward a common goal, such as acting out a make-believe theme o Can go back and forth on this sequence o Older children engaged in more cognitively mature behaviour than younger children Certain types of non-social activity are cause of concern; both reticent and impulsive children at risk for peer ostracism o Children who behave reticently, by watching peers without playing, usually are temperamentally inhibited high in social fearfulness o Children who engage in solitary, repetitive behaviour tend to be immature, impulsive youngsters who find it hard to regulate anger and aggression Sociodramatic play advanced form of cooperative play becomes really common; supports cognitive, emotional and social development Middle Childhood and Adolescence Meet diverse people and their awareness that others have viewpoints different from their own increases At this age can better interpret others emotions and intentions and take them into account in peer dialogues School age kids offer to help and wait for peer to accept, freely exchanging ideas, asking for opinions and acknowledging one anothers contributions Rough-and-tumble play friendly chasing and play-fighting is good natured, sociable activity, quite distinct from aggressive fighting Dominance hierarchy stable ordering of group members that predicts who will win when conflict arises; once established, hostility is rare As adolescents reach physical maturity and individual differences in strength become clear, rough-and-tumble play declines Midadolescence spend more time with peers than with any other social partners Influences on Peer Sociability D IRECTP ARENTAL INFLUENCES In providing play opportunities, parents show children how to initiate peer contacts and encourage them to be good hosts who consider their playmates needs Parents offer guidance on how to act toward others Parental monitoring of childs activities protects school age kids and adolescents from antisocial involvements Extent to which adolescents tell parents about their whereabouts and companions is an especially strong predictor of adjustment INDIRECT P ARENTAL INFLUENCES Secure attachments to parents linked to more responsive, harmonious peer interactions, larger peer networks and warmer more supportive friendships throughout childhood and adolescence Parent-child play seems to be particularly effective context for promoting peer-interaction skills Quality of parents social networks is associated with childrens social competence A GE M IX OFCHILDREN Piaget emphasized experiences with children equal in status who challenge one anothers viewpoints, thereby promoting cognitive, social and moral development Vygotsky believed children profit from interacting with older, more capable peers who model and encourage more advanced skills Among preschoolers, younger childrens play is more cognitively and socially mature in mixed-age classrooms than single-age classrooms Oldest school age children in mix-age settings prefer same age companions, maybe because they have more compatible interests and experience more cooperative interaction Young kids interaction with same age partners more intense and harmonious but they turn to older peers because of their superior knowledge and exciting play ideas Interacting with equals learn to cooperate and resolve conflicts; develop vital moral understandings of reciprocity and justice Mix age settings younger kids acquire new competencies from older companions; mature youngsters help their less mature counterparts, they practice nurturance, guidance and other prosocial behaviours CULTURAL V ALUES Caregivers who view play as mere entertainment less likely to provide props or encourage pretend than those who value its cognitive and social benefits Western style sociodramatic play may be more vital for social development in societies where child and adult worlds are distinct than it is when children participate in adult activities from young age Friendship Friendship close relationship involving companionship in which each partner wants to be with the other; contributes uniquely to childrens psychological adjustment Thinking About Friendship Mature friendships endure over time and survive occasional conflicts Childrens idea about what friendship is changes with age 1. FRIENDSHIP AS A HANDY P LAYMATE (ABOUT 4-7 YEARS ) Friendship doesnt have long term, enduring quality A friend is someone who likes you, you spend a lot of time playing, with whom you share toys 2. FRIENDSHIP AS M UTUAL TRUST AND A SSISTENCE (ABOUT 8-10 YEARS ) Friendship has become mutually agreed-on relationship in which kids like each others personal qualities and respond to each others needs and desires Requires both kids to want to be together, takes more time and effort to get it started than at younger ages Trust becomes defining feature once friendship forms; good friendship based on acts of kindness signifying each person can be counted on to support the other Rifts cant be patched up simply by playing nicely after conflict like younger kids do; apologies and explanations are necessary 3. FRIENDSHIP AS INTIMACY , M UTUAL U NDERSTANDING AND LOYALTY (A BOUT 11-15 Y EARS AND O LDER ) Teenagers stress three characteristics o Intimacy or psychological closeness o Mutual understanding of each others values, beliefs and feelings o Loyal to stick up for them and not leave them for somebody else Characteristics of Friendships FRIENDSHIP S ELECTIVITY AND STABILITY Younger kids are not as selective about friends as older kids Girls who demand greater closeness than boys are more exclusive in their friendships Friendships remarkably stable at all ages o Young children stability largely function of constancy of social environments o 4 grade to high school 50-70% endure over school year and some for several years, although they often go through temporary shifts in strength of each partners commitment o Middle or junior high school pubertal development, encounters with new peers and romantic interests often lead to temporary period of greater change in choice of friends INTERACTION BETWEEN FRIENDS Teens less possessive of friends than they were in childhood Friends behave more prosocially but also disagree and compete with each other more than nonfriends; also use negotiation to resolve conflicts Adolescent girls friendships more likely to endure when friends are up front about tensions in relationship; for adolescent boys, a better coping strategy is dismissing tensions as no big deal Children who bring kindness and compassion to friendships strength one anothers social tendencies and form more lasting ties R ESEMBLANCE B ETWEEN FRIENDS Friends will become increasingly similar in attitudes and values with age Children and adolescents probably choose companions like themselves to increase supportiveness of friendship When young people enter a wider range of school and community settings, they choose some friends who differ from themselves Task of forging a personal identity at times leads adolescents to seek friends with differing attitudes and values as means of exploring new
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