Social development of the Young child : Social Development

Social development of the Young child

9fmk7rw8By SUSAN WEBER

Few areas of children’s development bring us more questions than their social and emotional development. Perhaps it is because we know that this is an extremely complex area of human development, fraught with sensitivity; perhaps we are also aware of its central place in life’s journey. We carry our social selves into every situation of life, and as contemporary psychologist and researcher Daniel Goleman has confirmed, our social capacities far outweigh our cognitive ones in determining success and satisfaction in our lives. It is also the area in which we have so much to contribute to the future of humanity; in addressing the world’s most complex problems. This is the realm in which our soul forces – thinking, feeling, and willing – intersect, and require balance and inner development to manifest their potential.

But where do these capacities begin? It is a long journey from infancy to a maturity of our social capacities that enables us to wear a garment that aligns our social capacities with our spiritual hopes and intentions – that enables us to walk through daily life meeting the world out of our best selves.

As both parents and teachers, we are surrounded by societal expectations around the social capacities of our children. ? How do we develop the virtues of generosity and compassion that make us fully human? How do we meet conflict healthily in our both conflict ridden and conflict averse world?

From several perspectives, we may recognize that these are processes that only unfold over time. The expectations we hold, the approach we bring to children in the early years is highly dependent upon their stage of development. Appropriate expectations for a two year old will differ greatly from those for a four year old, and from those for ourselves as adults. As we become increasingly aware of the children’s subtle developmental stages and develop our capacity for observation, we can support them more successfully.

In guiding children into social life in the early childhood years, there are three aspects out of which we build a secure and rhythmic environment for them.

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