Theories of social development in children : Social Development

Theories of social development in children

child with blocksPlease keep in mind, that all of the theories and principles listed here are just brief summaries or references. You should take child development classes to really get, and understand, these concepts and philosophies.

What we know about child development is rooted in developmental theories. Over the years, psychologists and other scientists have developed a variety of theories to explain observations and discoveries about child development. I am going to summarize many of them below. Again, there is a lot more to each of them, and you will surely study them in your child development classes.


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
Freud believed that the way parents dealt with their child’s basic sexual and aggressive desires would determine how the child’s personality developed. Freud also thought that all babies were born with instinctive selfish urges which he labeled the “Id”. As a child experienced that not all his or her whims were met, he or she developed a more realistic appreciation of what is realistic and possible, which Freud called the “Ego”. Over time, Freud believed, babies learn values or morals, which he called the “Super-Ego”. The Super Ego, he thought, then worked with the Ego to control the selfish urges of the Id.

Erik Erikson (1902-1994)
Erikson believed that personality develops in a series of stages. In each stage, Erikson believed children experience conflicts that affect development. He believed these conflicts are based on either developing a psychological quality, or failing to develop that quality. During these times, the potential for success and development is high, but so is the potential for failure. Below are Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages that occur during childhood and adolescence, and a brief summary for each:

Social, emotional development begins with the first of Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages, Trust vs. Mistrust. An infant develops trust when he experiences his needs being met in a consistent, nurturing relationship with a primary caregiver. In a secure relationship, an infant can form attachments.

Erikson’s second Psychosocial Stage, Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt, says that toddlers strive to be autonomous. We can help them to get there by supporting them when they struggle and being there for them, but not always doing for them. Toddlers also need to be able to make simple choices that allow them to decide things for themselves and build self esteem and confidence.

In his third Psychological Stage, Erikson says that preschoolers begin to assert their power and control over the world through directing play and other social interaction, allowing them to feel capable and able to lead others.

Erikson’s fourth Psychological Stage occurs between ages 5 and 11. At this age, children develop self confidence by interacting with their peers and through encouragement and praise by parents and teachers.

The fifth Psychological Stage, Identity vs. Confusion, suggests that encouraging adolescents to explore their independence strengthens their sense of self and their ability to be self-sufficient and gives them the feeling of being in control of their own world.

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by X-Man

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Are anganwadis simply crèches for the underprivileged?  — Daily News & Analysis
Their aim is to lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child. The focus is to reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school drop-out.