Social relationships in children : Social Development

Social relationships in children

Youth Social Environment


Do you like being around others? Are you motivated and happier when you are around friends? An estimated 75% of the general population prefers to be around others. These interpersonal relationships are important for social and cognitive development. This lesson will identify the functions of relationships on children's personal and social development, differentiate between types of relationships, and explore how these relationships impact development and classroom behaviors.

Interpersonal Relationships: Background

School, college, the workplace - these are all very social environments. In these environments, there are numerous opportunities to meet and interact with others. For some, the interaction with others is more important than learning or performing work duties. These interactions with others serve to create and foster interpersonal relationships.

The school setting helps students learn emotional control and cooperation skills

Interpersonal relationships are defined as an association between two or more people that ranges from informal interactions (such as saying hello in passing) to formal partnerships and commitments (having a best friend or marrying a partner, for example).

Interpersonal relationships develop over time, and researchers have proposed a life-cycle of this development. The relationship typically starts in the acquaintance stage. This stage is where first impressions are made. These impressions can lead to either continued interactions or perpetual acquaintance stage. The second stage is buildup. In this stage, trust is built, and compatibility between two people is assessed. The next stage is continuation. In this stage, a mutual commitment is established. People can stay in this stage indefinitely or go on to the next stage. The next stage is deterioration. In this stage, boredom, resentment, and dissatisfaction occur. There is less communication, loss of trust, and sometimes betrayal. And our final stage is termination. This stage marks the end of the relationship.

Functions of Interpersonal Relationships

As previously indicated, schools serve as a social environment for children. Most friendships and relationships are established in a school setting. For some children, the social aspect of school is the main motivator for attendance and source of enjoyment.

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