Read this article to learn about the Development of Social Traits in a Child. After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Motives Behind The Development of Social Traits 2. Gender-Based Social Learning of Traits 3. Environment and Social Behaviour 4. Sublimation of Undesirable Responses.
- Motives Behind The Development of Social Traits
- Gender-Based Social Learning of Traits
- Environment and Social Behaviour
- Sublimation of Undesirable Responses
1. Motives Behind The Development of Social Traits:
The period of childhood, ranging from 3 to 5 years, is very important for the developing of social traits.
The motives, which work in the development of proper social attitudes, are three:
1. Praise and Acceptance;
2. Anxiety over loss of Nurturance and
1. Praise and acceptance is a sort of nurturance substitute, that can act as an incentive and reward for learning. The behaviour of the child, which is accepted or praised, is reinforced, and is repeated in future. Thus, a child would behave with the motive of winning acceptance or praise from his elders or peers.
2. Anxiety over loss of nurturance also acts as a strong motive, to make a child behave in a socially approved manner. A child would be anxious not to behave in a way regarding which, his anticipation is that, he would lose nurturance because of that—it is prohibitive learning, and, has great social significance.
3. Identification is the conceptualization of the various aspects of personality development. “It refers to the process that leads the child to think, feel and behave as though the characteristics of another person or group of people belonged to him. The term ‘model’ is used to refer to the person or group with whom the child is identified.”
Identification may even be unconsciously done. The process of identification is subtle and often proceeds without conscious awareness. “The phenomena of reflected glory or shame are frequently the products of identification.”
If father wins in some competition, the child feels proud of it, as if he himself were a winner. And, when the son commits something wrong, the father feels ashamed of the same. Both ways, it is identification.
In middle childhood and adolescence, identification may not be confined only with individuals but may be with groups and institutions also. If in a match, a school wins, its students are jubilant; and in the same way, they would be depressed if the school loses in a match.”To be identified with a strong parent, can be an important source of security for a young child.”
Thus, identification is an important natural tendency which leads man to his socialisation.
Identification to the model is possible only when:
(i) The child feels that for him, it is possible to emulate the model and
(ii) He feels that there are some similarities between him and his model.
2. Gender-Based Social Learning of Traits:
There are some social characteristics which the society approves in the behaviour of girls only, while there are some others which the society likes to be developed in boys only. It is natural, too, that girls tend to be motivated by models of their own sex, and boys would have inspiration, mainly, from male models.
“Sex-typing refers to the adoption of the beliefs, attitudes and activities which the culture defines as appropriate for one’s sex.”
Most boys have their father as their model; and the girls, their mother. Our society does not allow the model to be of the opposite sex, sometimes, it rather punishes for it being so. The father is gratified to see the recreation of his own qualities, attitudes and masculinity in his son; and, the mother that of her qualities, attitudes and feminity, in her daughter.
But when there is strained relationship between the couple, the child would be in a dilemma, as his attempt to identify himself or herself to either of the parents, would incur anger of the other.
3. Environment and Social Behaviour:
If a child’s relationship with his mother is gratifying, he is likely to generalize his positive responses towards his mother, while behaving with others, too. In case, the reverse is the fact, the mother is harsh towards the child, the child would withdraw from social relationships with others. Before the child is three years old, peer’s role may not be very important as little reciprocation occurs among children younger than that.
From age 3 onwards, the reactions of the children vary so widely, because of their having had different experiences in their respective home environments. In due course, the process of affecting one another goes on in the group situation, and the impact of peer group soon begins to be felt, in the changing patterns of behaviour of each child of the group.
The social behaviours which continue to be rewarded in the new situations of the peer groups, and nursery, become consolidated, while others which are rather, likely to invite punishment, are dropped. In a democratic, freedom-giving, calm and happy home, group contacts are considered desirable, and they are felt to be gratifying.
Those who are relatively independent of their adults are more likely to establish friendship with their peers. Freud A and Dann S studied the development of behaviour patterns of six orphaned children, who had been growing together with no one else providing warmth of affection to them.
A very close relationship developed among them, leaving no room for jealousy against one another. Each was sensitive to the difficulties of the other, and would feel happy in co-operating to remove the same. ‘These orphans reacted to the first adult, with the same intense feeling of attachment as they had done with one another.”
Their feelings differed in quality from that of a child towards his mother. Their approach was based on group feelings. The authors further write. “… Their companions of the same age were their real love objects…. This explains why the feelings of the six children toward each other, showed a warmth and spontaneity, which is unheard of in ordinary relations between young contemporaries.”
4. Sublimation of Undesirable Responses:
106 children were subjects of a case study. The experimental group of the children had been in the nursery school for nine months, and the control group had been there only for a few weeks. The 106 children were divided in these two groups.
A comparison of the behaviour patterns of the two groups revealed the changes that had come about during the period of their schooling. The new patterns were indicative of their growing emancipation from their dependence on adults.
Undesirable infantile habits were eliminated through a continuous process of change. In most of the cases of the experimental group, now, there were fewer maladaptive reactions, such as avoiding strangers, shirking from notice, giving in easily, gnawing at the nail, tenseness, wriggling, refusing food, enuresis, leaving the work incomplete, dawdling with food etc.
As many as 60 kinds of behaviours were studied. Schooling immensely facilitates the process of sublimation, making the kids adaptable, improving their routine habits and along with these improvements, there was witnessed a remarkable reduction in social inhibitions and nervous tendencies.
Of course, all the children were not improving equally—pre-school family experiences and some other factors may have been responsible for the individual differences that were there. Hattwick BW writes: “…. the influence of nursery school may be greater for social behaviour and routine adjustments, than for emotional traits per se.”
The impact of the nursery school was evident in the form of advances in sociability, self-expression, independence, initiatives and growing interest in the school environment. Yet, all the schools do not effect these changes with the same speed and intensity, as they differ in their curricular and co-curricular activities, in their teaching methods/techniques and approaches, and in their general atmosphere.
The teacher is the most important factor in this regard—”Frequent, warm, friendly interaction with teachers also fostered more leadership, greater constructiveness when faced with possible failure, and a lower incidence of nervous habits.”