Family and social development in childhood

Family and social development in childhood


  • 1 Sociocultural influences on family structure
  • 2 Family and socialization
  • 3 Psychosocial Development
  • 4 Moral development

Sociocultural influences on family structure

Children do not develop in a vacuum, but in the context of their family, their neighborhood, community, country and the world. Children are influenced by their parents, siblings and other relatives; of friends and colleagues; of other adults with whom they come in contact, and of the school, the church, and the groups of which they are a part. They are influenced by the media; for community and national leaders, for the culture in which they are growing and even for the things that are happening in the world. Children are partly a product of social influences.

The family and socialization

The role of the family

We can describe the family as “any group of people united by the bonds of marriage, blood, adoption or any expressive sexual relationship, in which (1) people share a commitment in an intimate and interpersonal relationship, (2) the members consider your identity as attached in an important way to the group, and (3) the group has its own identity.

Parental competence and family environment

Not all parents have a positive influence on their children, nor are they able to create a positive and healthy family environment in which their children can grow. The psychological adjustment of the parents, the style of paternity and the quality of their marriage are factors that affect the emotional maturity, social competence and cognitive development of children.

Psychological adjustment of the parents

When parents expose children to high levels of anger, the result is high emotionality and behavioral reactivity on the part of the children.

Psychologically healthy parents are more likely to have a positive effect on the development of their children.

Marital quality

The quality of the marriage relationship also contributes to the adjustment and development of children and influences the behavioral problems they present in a wide age range.

Paternity models:

  • Authoritarian
  • Permissive
  • Balanced

Families with only one parent

Children who grow up in families with only one father, especially those whose mothers have never married, are significantly more likely to live below the poverty line. They are also more likely, compared to children living with both biological parents, to have poor school performance, repeat a grade or have been expelled. In addition, your chance of showing emotional or behavioral problems is also greater. The most common health problems are accidents, injuries and poisoning.

Psychosocial development

The development of friendship with peers is one of the most important aspects of children's social development. In the process of psychosocial development, all normal children go through four stages:

  • Autosociality: the lactating and prenatal stage of development in which the interests, pleasures and satisfactions of children are themselves. At this stage they may want the company of others, but they play alone next to them and not with them.
  • Child heterosociality: between 2 and 7 years children seek the company of others, regardless of sex.
  • Homosociality: between 8 and 12 years old, while in primary school, they prefer to play with other children of the same sex, but not for sexual purposes, but for friendship and company.
  • Teenage and adult heterosociality: From 13 years of age or older, or in the adolescent and adult stages of psychosocial development, when the pleasures, friendships and company of the individual are found in people of both sexes. Teenage boys and girls begin to form couples, most begin dating.

Social cognition

Social cognition is the ability to understand social relationships. In children it is the ability to understand others, their thoughts, their emotions, their social behavior and in general, their point of view.

It is necessary to know what other people think and feel to be able to understand them and get along with them.

Below are the five stages of Spelman's development:

Stage 0

Undifferentiated egocentric stage (from 0 to 6 years old). Until about 6 years, children cannot make a clear distinction between their own interpretation of a social situation and the point of view of others; Nor can they understand that their perception may be incorrect.

Stage 1

Acquisition stage of a differentiated or subjective perspective (from 6 to 8 years old). Children become aware that others may have a different social perspective, but find it difficult to understand the reasons for their point of view.

Stage 2

Stage of self-reflexive thinking or acquisition of a reciprocal perspective (from 8 to 10 years old). The child develops a reciprocal conscience, realizes that others have a different point of view from theirs and that they also realize that he has his own point of view.

Stage 3

Acquisition stage of a mutual perspective or of a third person (from 10 to 12 years old). Children can see their own perspective, their partner's perspective and also assume the perspective of a neutral third person.

Stage 4

Acquisition stage of an in-depth and social perspective (from adolescence to adult life). Young people recognize that there is a group perspective, a point of view that is reflected in a social system.

Role Development

Gender roles are the external expressions of masculinity or femininity in social settings; The way we act and think like men and women are our sexual roles.

Sexual roles are shaped by three important, biological, cognitive and environmental influences.

Influences on gender roles

  • Biological If an egg is fertilized by a sperm that carries an X chromosome, a woman will be conceived, but if it is fertilized by a sperm that carries a Y chromosome, a man will be conceived. The chromosomal combination is the initial factor that controls the development of the genus. Gender development is also influenced by sex hormones. Testosterone is the male hormone secreted by the testicles, while estrogen is the female hormone secreted by the ovaries.
  • The cognitive theory suggests that the identity with the sexual role originates in the gender assigned cognitively to the child from birth and subsequently accepted by him or her as it grows. At the time of birth the gender assignment is mainly based on the genital exam. This gender assignment influences everything that happens next.
  • The environmentalists reason differently. In his opinion, a child learns sexually typed behavior in the same way he learns any other type of behavior: by a combination of rewards and punishments, indoctrination and observation and imitation of others. Giving children gender-specific toys has a considerable influence on vocational choices. These toys tend boys to be scientists, astronauts or soccer players, and girls to be nurses, teachers or flight attendants.

Moral development

Moral judgment

The most important initial investigation in this regard was carried out by Piaget, who highlighted the development of moral judgment as a gradual cognitive process, stimulated by the growing social relations of children as they grow.

Piaget's work unfolds in four sections. The first section analyzes children's attitudes towards the rules of the game when they play marbles. The second and third report the results of telling children stories that require them to make moral judgments based on the information provided. The last section reviews its findings in relation to social psychology.

Moral behavior

Moral judgment is the knowledge of good and evil.

Moral motivation is the force of the desire to do the right thing, the intensity of the feelings in relation to doing the right thing. Another facet, moral inhibition, is the force of the desire or feeling of not doing what is wrong. Moral behavior depends on both positive moral motivation and the strength of inhibitions against doing the wrong thing.

It is necessary that parents and other caregivers encourage children to accept their responsibilities for faults and at the same time to be proud of their honesty. Moreover, adults can promote the development of self-evaluative feelings that, through reasoning, integrate children's thinking and action. Punishment can teach the fear of doing something wrong, but reasoning can help children want to do the right thing because they feel good about themselves.

Ariel Delgado
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