For this discussion post, I want you to think through how much blame, or credit, parents deserve for their children’s development and answer the following 4 questions.
Middle Childhood: The Social World
Invitation to the Life Span
Kathleen Stassen Berger | Fourth edition
The Nature of the Child (part 1)
Drive for independence from parents expands the social world.
Learn to care for themselves
Learn from each other
The Nature of the Child (part 2)
Industry versus inferiority
Fourth of Erikson's eight psychosocial crises
Characterized by tension between productivity and incompetence
Attempt to master culturally valued skills and develop a sense of themselves as either industrious or inferior, competent or incompetent.
Signs of Psychosocial Maturation over the Years of Middle Childhood
Responsibly perform specific chores
Manage a weekly allowance and activities
Attempt to conform to peers
Express preferences for after-school hours
Accept some responsibility for pets, younger children
Strive for independence from parents
See chart on page 283 for additional information.
The Nature of the Child (part 3)
Shift from care provision to engagement in dialogue, discussion, and shared activities.
Various levels of release from parental supervision and provision of more autonomy
Decrease in time with parents; increase in time alone and with parents
The Nature of the Child (part 4)
Development of more specific and logical ideas about personal intelligence, personality abilities, gender, and ethnic background
Measurement of self to others in relation to own abilities, social status, and other attributes
Formulation of a more reality-grounded view of self; rise in self-criticism and self-consciousness
The Nature of the Child (part 5)
Children who affirm pride in their gender and ethnicity are likely to develop healthy self- esteem.
Some face social prejudice related to their minority or religious group membership.
Developing a sense of pride is more effective for self- confidence than directly preparing children for prejudice.
The Nature of the Child (part 6)
Culture and self-esteem
Cultures and families differ in which attitudes and accomplishments they value.
Emerging self-perception benefits academic and social competence.
Praise for process—not static qualities—encourages growth.
Notice and value of material possessions increases
Same Situation, Far Apart: Play Ball
The Nature of the Child (part 7)
Capacity to adapt well to significant adversity and to overcome serious stress
Resilience is dynamic, not a stable trait.
Resilience is a positive adaptation to stress.
Adversity must be significant.
See Table 8.1 for dominant ideas about resilience from 1965 to present day.
Resilience is dynamic – a person may be resilient at some periods but not at others.
Resilience is a positive adaptation to stress – if rejection by a parent leads a child to establish a closer relationship with another adult, that child is resilient.
Adversity must be significant – Resilient children overcome conditions that overwhelm many of their peers.
Accumulated stresses over time, including minor ones, are more devastating than an isolated major stress.
The Nature of the Child (part 8)
Stress accumulates over time.
Daily hassles can be more detrimental than isolated major stress.
Social context is imperative.
Separation after natural disaster
Cognitive coping: Factors contributing to resilience
Child's interpretation of events
Support of family and community
Personal strengths such as creativity and intelligence
Avoidance of parentification
Child's interpretation of a family situation (poverty, divorce, etc.) impacts how that situation affects him or her.
Parentification: When a child acts more like a parent than a child. This may occur if the actual parents do not act as caregivers, making a child feel responsible for the family.
Families During Middle Childhood (part 1)
Shared and nonshared environments
Most personality traits and intellectual characteristics traced to genes and nonshared environment
Influence of shared environment shrinks with age.
Effect of nonshared environment increases.
Families During Middle Childhood (part 2)
Recent findings reassert parent power.
Children raised in the same households by the same parents do not necessarily share the same home environment.
Changes in the family affect every family member differently, depending on age and/or gender.
Most parents respond to each of their children differently.
Families During Middle Childhood (part 3)
Legal and genetic relationships among relatives living in the same home, includes nuclear family, extended family, stepfamily, and others.
Families During Middle Childhood (part 4)
The way a family works to meet the needs of its members
Function is more important than structure, but harder to measure.
During middle childhood, families help children by
Providing basic material necessities.
Helping them develop self-respect.
Fostering harmony and stability.
Families During Middle Childhood (part 5)
Needs of children in middle childhood
Harmony and stability
Families During Middle Childhood (part 6)
Family function is more important than structure.
Children value safety and stability.
Stability is difficult in military families. Caregivers are discouraged from making changes.
Children displaced because of storms, fire, war may suffer psychologically.
Families During Middle Childhood (part 7)
Various family structures
Two same-sex parents
Nuclear family: A family that consists of a father, a mother, and their biological children under age 18
Families During Middle Childhood (part 8)
Various family structures
Single mother or father (never married)
Single mother or father (divorced, separated, or widowed)
More Than Two Adults
Single-parent family: A family that consists of only one parent and his or her children
Extended family: A family of three or more generations living in one household
Polygamous family: A family consisting of one man, more than one wife, and their children
Families During Middle Childhood (part 9)
More single- parent households, more divorces and remarriages, and fewer children per family than in the past
Proportions differ, but problems within non- nuclear families are similar worldwide
U.S. has more single parents than other developed nations, yet almost two- thirds of all U.S. school- age children live with two parents
As the text makes clear, structure does not determine function, but raising children is more difficult as a single parent, in part because income is lower. African American families have at least one asset, however. They are more likely to have grandparents who are actively helping with child care.
Families During Middle Childhood (part 10)
Only one parent and his or her children under age 18
31 percent of all U.S. school-age children; rates of structure changes depend on age of child
More than half of U.S. children in a single-parent home for at least a year
Have children who fare worse in school and in adult life than most other children.
Are often low-income and unstable, move more often and add new adults more often in single-mother households
Families During Middle Childhood (part 11)
Work best on average; children learn better in school; few psychological problems
Education, earning potential, and emotional maturity increase the rate of marriage and parenthood and decrease the rate of divorce.
Major predictor of their children’s well- being was not the parents’ sexual orientation but their income and stability; contact increases affection and care
Shared parenting decreases child maltreatment risk
Didn’t Want to Marry
This couple was happily cohabiting and strongly committed to each other but didn’t wed until they learned that her health insurance would not cover them unless they were legally married. Twenty months after marriage, their son was born.
For all children, having two parents around every day makes it more likely that someone will read to them, check their homework, invite their friends over, buy them new clothes, and save for their education. Of course, having two married parents does not guarantee good care
Families During Middle Childhood (part 12)
Single fathers and stepfathers
Generally, fathers who do not live with their children become less involved every year.
Single-parent fathers experience same problems as single mothers.
Remarried adults tend to spend less on step-children; sometimes reject them; change residence; disrupt harmony and stability.
Step-children may experience constellation shifts, differential discipline strategies, anger, sadness or destructive behaviors
Families During Middle Childhood (part 13)
Single families in cultural context
On average, single-parent structure functions less well — generalities
Less income, time, stability
Emotional and academic support reduction
Culture is always influential.
Families During Middle Childhood (part 14)
Family consisting of parents, their children, and other relatives living in one household
10 percent of U.S. school-age children
Family type distinction based on who lives in same household
Opposing Perspectives Why is this an “opposing perspective?”
Aren’t extended families always great?
It depends on intergenerational attitudes and income.
Multiple generation habitation is often accompanied by stress on all members.
Potential for family conflict is evident worldwide.
Extended families are often poor and conflicted, the two conditions known to harm children no matter what the family structure
Every family structure is sometimes good and sometimes not.
Families During Middle Childhood (part 15)
Two factors increase the likelihood of dysfunction in every structure, ethnic group, and nation.
Low income or poverty
Many families experience both!
Families During Middle Childhood (part 16)
Poverty: Family-stress model
Any risk factor damages a family only if it increases the stress on that family.
Adults' stressful reaction to poverty is crucial in determining the effect on the children.
Generally more income correlates with better family functioning.
Score gap between schools with high- and low- income children
is larger in the United States than in other nations.
Reaction to wealth may cause difficulty; parental reaction is key.
Effects of poverty are cumulative.
Both family function and family structure are affected by poverty.
Families During Middle Childhood (part 17)
Family conflict harms children, especially when adults fight about child rearing.
Fights are more common in stepfamilies, divorced families, and extended families.
Although genes have some effect, conflict itself is often the main influence on the child's well-being.
Researchers found that, although genes had some influence, witnessing conflict was crucial, causing externalizing problems in boys and internalizing problems in girls.
Quiet disagreements did little harm, but open conflict (such as yelling when children could hear) and divorce did.
Families and Schools
This graph shows the score gap in fourth- grade science on the 2015 TIMSS between children in schools where more than 25 percent of the children are from affluent homes compared to children in schools where more than 25 percent are poor. Generally, the nations with the largest gaps are also the nations with the most schools at one or the other end of the spectrum and fewest in between. For example, 23 percent of the children in the United States attended schools that were neither rich nor poor, but 37 of the Japanese children did.
The Peer Group (part 1)
Culture of children
Each group of children has games, sayings, clothing styles, and superstitions that are not common among adults, just as every culture has distinct values, behaviors, and beliefs.
Customs, rules, rituals
Independence from adults
Boys in middle childhood are happiest playing outside with equipment designed for work. This wheelbarrow is perfect, especially because at any moment the pusher might tip it.
The Peer Group (part 2)
School-age children value personal friendship more than peer acceptance.
Intense and intimate friendships improve with advances in social cognition and effortful control.
By the end of middle childhood, close friendships are almost always between children of the same sex, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
Boys: Better at joint excitement
Girls: Sympathetic reassurance
Children help each other learn academic and social skills and feel happier when they have friends.
The Peer Group (part 3)
Popular and unpopular children
Particular qualities that make a child liked or disliked depend on culture, cohort, and sometimes the local region or school.
Popular children in U.S.
Friendly and cooperative
The Peer Group (part 4)
Unpopular children in the U.S.
Neglected, not rejected children
Neglected by peers, but not actively rejected
Do not enjoy school; but psychologically unharmed
Disliked by peers because of antagonistic, confrontational behavior; may become bully-victims
Disliked by peers because of their timid, withdrawn, and anxious behavior
The Peer Group (part 5)
Repeated, systematic efforts to inflict harm through on a weaker person
Who Suffers More?
Physical bullying is typically the target of antibullying laws and policies, because it is easier to spot than relational bullying. But being rejected from the group, especially with gossip and lies, may be more devastating to the victim and harder to stop. It may be easier for the boy to overcome victimization than for the girl.
The Peer Group (part 6)
Types of bullying
Physical (hitting, pinching, or kicking)
Verbal (teasing, taunting, or name-calling)
Relational (destroying peer acceptance and friendship)
Cyberbullying (using electronic means to harm another)
The Peer Group (part 7)
Victims of bullying endure repeated shameful experiences with no defense.
They tend to be cautious, sensitive, quiet, and friendless.
Providing psychological defense against loss of self-respect is crucial.
Selection for bullying is based on emotional vulnerability and social isolation, not appearance.
In pervasive bullying, almost any trait can develop into an excuse to exclude and harass a vulnerable child.
The Peer Group (part 8)
Popular, proud, socially dominant
Increasingly skilled at avoiding adult awareness, picking victims, and using nonphysical methods to avoid adult punishment
Boys typically attack smaller, weaker boys; girls use words and relational aggression to demean shyer girls.
Gay boys become targets, especially at end of middle childhood.
The Peer Group (part 9)
Causes of bullying
Early childhood: Chaotic home life, ineffectual discipline, hostile siblings, insecure attachment
Middle childhood: Attempt to gain status and power
Consequences of bullying
Serious psychological disorders by age 18
Impaired social understanding, lower school achievement, relationship difficulties, higher adult mental illness rates
The Peer Group (part 10)
Successful efforts to eliminate bullying
Personally finding ways to halt ongoing bullying by ignoring, retaliating, defusing, or avoiding
Involving the whole school, not just the identified bullies (Convivencia)
Encouraging multicultural sensitivity
The Peer Group (part 11)
Children show a variety of skills
Making moral judgments.
Differentiating universal principles from conventional norms.
Influences on moral development in middle childhood
The Peer Group (part 12)
Moral rules of child culture
Children align themselves with peers when adult morality clashes with child culture
Three moral imperatives of child culture in middle childhood
Defend your friends.
Don’t tell adults about children’s misbehavior.
Conform to peer standards of dress, talk, and behavior
The Peer Group (part 13)
Empathy is understanding of the basic humanity of other people.
School-age children can think and act morally, but do not always do so due to hidden curriculum or adult values.
The Peer Group (part 14)
Kohlberg's levels of moral thought
Stages of morality stem from three levels of moral reasoning with two stages at each level
Preconventional moral reasoning
Conventional moral reasoning
Postconventional moral reasoning
See Table 8.3 for additional informtion about Kohlberg’s Three Levels and Six Stages of Moral Reasonng.
Kohlberg judged moral development not by the answers but by the reasons for the answers.
Preconventional moral reasoning: Emphasizes rewards and punishments
Conventional moral reasoning: Emphasizes social rules
Postconventional moral reasoning: Emphasizes moral principles
The Peer Group (part 15)
Criticisms of Kohlberg
Child’s use of intellectual abilities to justify moral actions was correct.
Culture and gender difference ignored.
Exclusive boy sample
Differences between child and adult morality not addressed.
Rational principles values more than individual needs
Kohlberg's levels could be labeled personal (preconventional), communal (conventional), and worldwide (postconventional)
Sharing What Is Mine
Sharing What Is Mine
Children chose ten stickers for themselves and then were asked to voluntarily and privately give some to an another child, whom they did not see or know. Some children — especially the
younger ones, were quite stingy, giving only a few away, and some, especially the older ones, were quite generous, giving away more than half. Generosity was measured by how many of the ten stickers were donated. In every nation, as children grew older they became more generous. It also was apparent that national wealth had a greater impact than ideology: Children were more generous in the richer nations (Canada, United States, and China) than in the poorer ones (Turkey and South Africa
The Peer Group (part 16)
Once children understand moral equity, they may be more ethical than adults
Morality can be scaffolded with mentors using moral dilemmas to advance moral understanding, empathy, and moral regulation.
Middle Childhood: Body and Mind
Invitation to the Life Span
Kathleen Stassen Berger | Fourth edition
Period between early childhood and early adolescence, approximately from ages 6 to 11
Safeguarded by genetic and environmental factors
Genes protect children who have already survived the hazards of birth and early childhood
A Healthy Time (part 1)
Lower death rates
Less lethal accidents and fatal illnesses
Fewer chronic conditions
Better diagnostic and preventive medical care
Less secondhand smoke
Better health habits
Improved oral health
Rates continue to rise with age, up to 13,674 for those aged 85 and older, so this figure cannot portray the entire life span. Details are remarkable as well. Not only are fatal diseases rare, thanks to immunization, but accidents and homicide also dip during middle childhood — and rise rapidly thereafter.
A Healthy Time (part 2)
Growth and healthy habits
Average child gains about 2 inches and 5 pounds per year.
Maintenance of good health related to adult instruction and regular medical care.
Camps for children with special health needs are beneficial.
A Healthy Time (part 3)
Benefits of physical activity can last a lifetime.
Advances in physical, emotional, and mental health
Academic achievement improvement
Harm from sports
Brain injury and other impact-related injury
Better cerebral blood flow and more neurotransmitters
Better mood and energy
Embodied cognition aided
A Healthy Time (part 4)
Need for movement
Indoor activities often replace outdoor play.
Economic barriers and disabilities may limit participation in league, club and other after school activities.
When academic instruction replaces physical education; less physical activity may cause less learning.
Modern life challenges neighborhood play.
Time for school physical activities and recess is reduced in many schools
A Healthy Time (part 5)
With physical activity
Cerebral blood flow and neurotransmitters and better moods
Connection between body movement and thinking
A Healthy Time (part 6)
Health problems: Childhood obesity
Neurological advances allow children to pay special notice to most important environmental elements
Improves with physical play and maturation
Reaction time: Time it takes to respond to a stimulus, either physically ( thought).
A Healthy Time (part 7)
Health problems: Childhood obesity
Many 6- to 11-year-olds eat too much, exercise too little, and become overweight or obese as a result.
18 percent of U.S. 6- to 11-year-olds were obese.
Excessive weight contributes to future health risk increases, average achievement decreases, self-esteem failures, and loneliness.
Since 2000, U.S. rates have leveled off, even declining in preschool children, but increases continue in most other nations, including the most populous two, China and India.
A Healthy Time (part 8)
Health problems: Childhood obesity
Recent, dramatic increases found in developing nations as food becomes more plentiful; parents no longer worry that their children might starve.
Childhood overweight correlates with asthma, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and loneliness.
As weight builds, school achievement decreases, self-esteem falls, and loneliness rises.
A Healthy Time (part 9)
Health problems: Childhood obesity
Dozen of genes affect weight by influencing activity level, hunger, food preference, body type, and metabolism.
Social context is crucial.
Parenting practices linked to obesity
Infants—No breast feeding and solid foods before 4 months
Preschoolers—Bedroom TV watching and soda consumption
Schoolagers—Insufficient sleep, extensive screen time, little active play
Ads and Obesity
Nations differ in children’s exposure to televised ads for unhealthy food.
The amount of this advertising continues to correlate with childhood obesity (e.g., Hewer, 2014). Parents can reduce overweight by limiting screen time and playing outside with their children. The community matters as well: When neighborhoods have no safe places to play, rates of obesity soar.
Differences in Prevalence of Obesity
Health Problems: Asthma
Signs and symptoms
In some city schools, asthma is so common that using an inhaler is a sign of pride, as suggested by the facial expressions of these two boys.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways that makes breathing difficult.
Sufferers have periodic attacks, sometimes rushing to the hospital emergency room.
In the U.S., childhood asthma rates have tripled since 1980 (see Figure 7.2). U.S. parents report that 15 percent of their 5- to 11-year-olds have been diagnosed with asthma at some time, and almost 11 percent still suffer from it (National Center for Health Statistics, 2014).
Cognition (part 1)
Piaget and middle childhood
Concrete operational thought
Piaget's term for the ability to reason logically about direct experiences and perceptions.
Logical principle that things can be organized into groups (or categories or classes) according to some characteristic they have in common.
Things can be arranged in a series. Seriation is crucial for understanding the number sequence and logical series.
In middle childhood, children develop the ability to use mental categories and subcategories flexibly, inductively, and simultaneously.
By age 11, children use mental categories and subcategories flexibly, inductively, and simultaneously, unlike at age 7.
Inside the Brain Coordination and Capacity
Piaget recognized that connections allow logical ideas to be applied to many specifics.
Today brain scans can demonstrate maturation and classification proposed by Piaget.
Hubs, especially near corpus callosum; damage and brain dysfunctions
Links between hypothalamus and amygdala; stress and early maltreatment
Neurological pathways from general to particular and back again; maturation
Cognition (part 2)
Vygotsky and culture
Education occurs everywhere and knowledge is acquired from social context.
Instruction is essential.
Guiding each child using scaffolding through the zone of proximal development is crucial.
Language is integral as a mediator, a vehicle for understanding and learning.
Cognition (part 3)
Play with peers, screen time, dinner with families, neighborhood play — every experience, from birth on, teaches a child
Girls Can’t Do It
As Vygotsky recognized, children learn whatever their culture teaches. Fifty years ago, girls were in cooking and sewing classes. No longer. This 2012 photo shows 10-year-olds Kamrin and Caitlin in a Kentucky school, preparing for a future quite different from that of their grandmothers.
Cognition (part 4)
Compares human thinking processes, by analogy, to computer analysis of data, looking at sensory input, connections, stored memories, and output.
Select relevant units of information
Analyze and connect
Express conclusions in understanding ways
Supports the notion that brain connections and pathways are forged from repeated experiences in day-to-day learning
Cognition (part 5)
Children’s cognition in math
Children do not suddenly grasp the logic of number system (Piaget).
Math knowledge accrues gradually (Siegler).
Some early math achievements (i.e., counting) do not c
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