The aim of education is the all round development of personality of a child. Such a child is, in turn, expected to take part in developing the society in which he is born. From the point of view of personality development, the most significant aspect of a child’s world is his social environment. It is the demand of the society that individual child is trained in such a way that he/she can contribute to the enrichment of his social environment.
All human beings live in a society—an interacting group of people. And each society has a distinctive culture, a body of stored knowledge, characteristic way of thinking, feeling and willing, attitudes, goals and ideals. It is the society which decides, prescribes and limits what a child will be taught and what he will learn. Therefore, acquisition of social behaviour is the essential part of the serial development of the child.
As we know, the word development means essentially an “unfolding” of all potentialities and propensities that a child is born with which remain embeded in a single cell. The direction of all growth follows the pattern of gradual unfolding in its general outward movement. Even physically, the arms and legs grow outward from the centre of the body during the embryonic stage and the mouth can perform the intricate motions of eating and speaking long before the fingers have developed an equal degree of dexterity.
So it is with social development. Infants are at first completely “self-concerned”, but with successive stages of maturation other people in the family become objects of concern and interaction. The child is born in a social environment. In fact, birth of a child is usually a social event, an addition of another member of the family. From then onward a child is continually influenced and shaped by those around him. The infant entirely depends on others to be fed, to be clad, to sleep, to remain clean and comfortable, for security and for mere existence.
At the same time, even the newborn infant may also influence and shape the people around him. The alert and responsive child can tame an aggressive mother, appease a tensive and anxious mother and thus better becomes the mother’s self-image one month later (Duchowasy, 1974). Thus from the beginning, humane social and emotional life involves two-way relationships between people.
A child’s later social and emotional behaviour can only be recognized and accepted when the early roots of such behaviour have been dug out. For this reason, the developmental psychologists have been specially interested in the infant’s first social and emotional attachments. It has been observed that each child does appear to take on a “unique” self during the early years. An individual’s reacting to them may be utterly confusing without exploration of psychological roots in infancy.
Another important issue is to know the influence of nature and nurture on the development of social behaviour. It will be relevant to know which aspect of the child’s personality has an inherent component existing from birth and which aspects are shaped largely or entirely by the social experiences and the interacting environment. A careful examination of the child’s early social responses might provide some answers.
The major factors operated and woven into the fabric of the issue of social and emotional development is the question of deprivation and trauma. Early experiences have been examined from many vantage points. The psychologists employed simple observations, case studies observations, complex longitudinal studies spanning many years, and innovative and sometimes daring experimental studies with humans and animals.
The cross-cultural work of anthropologists is also relevant and, actually, help to understand the true significance of individual differences even within the same culture. The importance of early experiences of childhood in framing social behaviour of an individual was first emphatically pronounced by Sigmund Freud which alerted both the laymen and professionals at the same time.
The scientific and systematic observation of social behaviour and social interaction of children have been carried on along with the experimental studies. All the observations started with the behavioural expressions of pre-school children. The child’s interaction with others—specially with peers of the same age group—forwarded the best examples of his social behaviour and its modification. During the preschool years, children are moderately interested in playmates outside the family.
An intense interest in outsiders does not generally appear until children are well into the primary grade. The interaction with peers generate the inherent social traits. For example, a child has been judged as highly “aggressive” if they attack or quarrel with peers frequently, or “domineering” if they try to control or boss others; and “dependent” if they seek a great deal of aid or reassurances in social interactions. General attitude towards parents and toward the world at large are strongly influenced by early parent-child relationship.
Parents are the primary behavioural models for children, but during school years they acquire some new model such as teachers and classmates. At times they assume such importance that they may equal or even exceed that of the parents. But even then, the development of child’s social behaviour originates from the social interactions in the family.
The child’s first social interactional object is his/her mother who gratifies his/her fundamental needs—hunger and sleep and emotional comfort. It is a dead relationship for the first month and then the relationship and interaction extends and includes the father constituting a triad and that relationship mother-child- father engram, constitutes the first social interactional programme.
The child’s first social interaction appears when the infant is more or less one and half months old and gives its first recognizable smile response at mother’s affectionate tender handling. A few months later when the same social responses get attached to the father and other members of the family it may be assumed that the child has stepped into the social-interactional stage of maturity.
The observation of such physical and emotional relationship in early months of development led Sigmund Freud to hypothesize the five stages of psychosexual development of the libido. At each stage the libido (the primitive emotional impulse) gets fixated to an external object (releasing social behaviour) leading either to satisfaction and retention of behaviour or to frustration with resultant rejection of (repression, according to Freud) behaviour.
Either process elicits new social response which is intro-jected by the infant as an integral part of self and thus helping the formation of structure of personality. The personality— according to Freud—consists of three components or basic structures—id, ego and superego, as he termed them. Socialization of the ego and formation of an interactive personality is the culmination of the whole developmental process.
Erik Erikson, a neo-Freudian, in explaining social development of the child employed the framework of psychoanalytical theory but with a different emphasis. Erikson accepts the notion that libidinal or emotional energy exists at birth and is at the core of human functioning. He also assumes that development passes through stages, several of which coincide with Freudian one. Nevertheless, he has made some distinct deviations from Freudian theory. First, Erikson places much greater emphasis than Freud on the role of the ego, or rational part of the personality.
Because he thinks that the society and the social changes influence the developing child very much. In his theory he transformed the “psychosexual stages” into “psychosocial” stages. Second, he thinks that the growing individual is placed within the larger social setting of the family and its cultural heritage rather than its most restricted triangle of mother-child-father. Erikson’s emphasis on social context in formulating his theory is of relevance to the social development of the child. In his theory of child development he thought that humans continue to develop through eight stages throughout the entire life span from infancy to old age.
Erikson’s stages are composed of fundamental and intimate feelings of men at each successive stages. They are:
Third, Erikson stresses the opportunity each individual has for resolving developmental crises, whereas Freud focused on the pathological outcomes of the failure to resolve them adequately. “There is little”, Erikson writes, “that cannot be remedied later, there is much that can be prevented from happening at all”. (Erikson, 1963) Erik Erikson has given us the model in his conceptualization of an epigenetic sequence of stages of psycho-social-growth, a sequence which leads from the infant’s utter dependence on the nurturing care of the mother to the young adult’s emotional self-reliance and sense of identity. Erikson’s first four stages given above are of relevance to the social development of the child, which we shall discuss for the present purpose.
Basic Trust vs Mistrust:
According to Erikson, the very foundation of social development of any child is woven around the theme of trust and hope. At birth, the newborns change their environment, an environment which is alien to them. They are shifted from a cosy and passive environment of total dependence to an interacting independent world. They are coming into the world experiencing a change from the warmth and regularity of the mother’s womb to the world of independence requiring his own action and interaction. But, to start with, the independent life the child is not entirely defenseless.
Parents, particularly the mother, respond to his bodily needs, and the handling of the child largely determines the establishment of attitudes of trust and mistrust. During the early months the infant’s contact with the world is not only through the mouth, but also through the manner in which the parents embrace, talk to or smile at him/her. If a consistence and regular satisfaction of needs is received, certain expectancies about the world are set up. Then the child would trust the environment and in doing so becomes open to new experiences.
Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt:
The major conflict that evolves from about 1½ to 3 years of age is self-assertion—thrusting one’s own will on others and get his/her wish satisfied. During this time, children rapidly acquire the physical skill to explore the world and begin to see themselves capable of manipulating some parts of it. This gives rise to a sense of autonomy in the children. An autonomous child forces his will on the adults—the adult members of the family on whom they previously were dependent, both physically and emotionally.
This sometimes lead to temporary disruption of the previously established relationship. But, according to Erikson, shame and doubt exist alternatively with the thrust for autonomy. Shame and doubt at this stage are based on the feeling of deprivation of the child’s remaining dependency and on the fear of going beyond one’s own capabilities. The conflict arises between autonomy versus shame and doubt. The latter results from failure to meet parental expectation, whereas autonomy is the outcome of self-control and assertion.
Initiative vs Guilt:
Coinciding with Freud’s phallic stage of libido development, Erikson postulates a conflict between initiative and guilt. The environment of three to five year olds now invites—or even demands—that they assume some responsibility and master certain tasks e.g. wearing own clothes and shoes by themselves, brushing teeth, washing hands, and feet, receiving phone calls, opening the front door etc. The child must initiate action but fails to see that those actions sometimes conflict with and intrudes upon the autonomy of others. The realization of this fact results in feelings of guilt.
This period is also the period of sex-role playing. Like Freud, Erikson recognizes the increased interest in the sex-role typing displayed by both girls and boys at this stage, when as well the glimpses of self-identity starts taking shape in accordance with the existing social order. The parents also play a decisive role in this matter, but the Childs perception of parents operates in this functioning.
Unlike Freud, Erikson sees the child’s attraction for the opposite-sexed parent as less incestual and more the result of a reaching out for a dependable opposite-sexed parent who represents his idea of emotional comfort. The sense of rivalry that naturally occurs with the same-sexed parent leads to a gradual identification with him/her and replaces the desired parent.
As a result, attachment gets extended also to other love objects as the social field expands. A more realistic view about the same-sexed parent occurs simultaneously through introjection and consequent identification and the rival parent becomes the ideal—socially—toward which to strive. This is the period when the child gradually comes to understand the roles and opportunities presented by the society as well as his role in accomplishment and achievement.
Industry vs Inferiority:
As the youngster crosses three to four year of his life, he is now ready to meet the challenges that arise with entrance into the competitive world of formal schooling. This is the time of latency of sexual striving and more of social mixing. With the oedipal and electra complexes settled, peers become increasingly important and influence strongly the child’s social behaviour. The nature of games changes from individual playing with toys (parallel play) to cooperative character of sharing and seeking friendship.
The theme of this stage is the mastery of tasks in the face of feeling of inferiority. As children achieve such mastery they become capable of facing the turbulent adolescent years which lie directly ahead. Infancy and childhood are times of rapid change and growth.
The jump from infancy to childhood is not a spurt, but a period of mastering a number of skills and abilities gradually, to become ready for the competitive life ahead, to acquire complex social behaviours. A shift in social relationships is noticeable—the child who was predominantly a member of the family becomes member of both family and peer group. From all conflicts faced from these two social settings the child develops his own identity at adolescent stage when he represents a new generation.
The educational psychologists nowadays do not study emotional development independent of the development of social behaviour. In fact, both social and emotional developments are integral parts of personality adjustment. Psychologists of early days, however, in their search for different fields of psychology considered emotional development as an independent growth process.
But as researches on this line advanced and sophisticated tools came more and more in use, it has been observed that social and emotional developments grow simultaneously in a child and learning plays an important role in developing the ‘child’s social and emotional behaviour. As a matter of fact, the emotion of a human being from the very beginning results from social interaction in the family in which the child is born.
The experimental psychologists in 1920s and 1930s carried on their experiments on emotion and its development separately considering its immense importance and the range of influence its casts in shaping the human personality. But the invaluable contribution of psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud, and, later psychoanalysts like Adler, Horney and others up to Erik Erikson—, who revised classical psychoanalytic theory and used its observations in explaining human behaviour—found that social and emotional responses are intricately woven and that emotional expression requires a social setting right from childhood.
Freud further emphasized the importance of childhood experiences in forming adult social and emotional behaviour contributing to the development of personality and motivation. The theory developed by Sigmund Freud ranks amongst the most far- reaching and influential views in modern history of psychology. He was convinced that the functional aspects of each personality are shaped by experience in the social context.
The same message was transmitted by Erik Erikson and other psychoanalytic develop-mentalists who insisted on the importance of early experience for laying down patterns that will then endure through the entire life span. Freud also perceived and agreed with the biological scientists that the structure of human personality is intrinsic and intrapsychic mechanisms interact to form it. In studying the emotional development in children, Bridges observed the emotional behaviour of infants from the point of view of development from age to age, and her contention was that ‘excitement’ was the original emotion.
This contention was based on the systematic observation of infants under a month of age, followed by observation of children up to 2 years of their life span. Evidence of emotion was elicited by strong stimuli, the response to which observed to be general in nature. It was thus concluded that emotional reactions of very young infants seemed not to be highly differentiated as fear or anger or love, but could be described as general agitation or excitement. Differentiation of emotional responses must await maturation and learning. The main characteristics of early emotional response seemed to be alertness, slight tension or restlessness or just crying. The behaviour elicited by emotion increases in complexity as the infant matures.
The first response, Bridges noted, to be distinguishable from general excitement is probably distress, which is a disagreeably painful or unsatisfying experience. Responses indicating distress grow out of situations in which pain or discomfort is the stimulus. New or strange objects in addition to physical pain or discomfort, induce distress in children as soon as they can be perceived as strange.
The contrary response to distress is delight which differentiate from general responses at later age. Babies under one month old seem to be quiet or excited and respond in a passive way. By the time the infant is 2 to 3 months old, delight or pleasure and joy become distinctly discernible. The child expresses himself by smiling, kicking and waving his arms in such a manner and on such occasions as would seem distinctly to indicate delight.
Bright (1932) gives the following chart to describe her observation about the development of emotional behaviour in infants:
By the time the child reaches school age he/she has typically acquired the basic cultural patterns of emotional expression. Gradually the general mass feeling of emotion becomes differentiated into various concrete manifestations. He has learned which responses are appropriate to particular occasion or events. He becomes frightened, angry, fearful, jealous, affectionate, shy and indifferent—as situation demands. These responses become recognizable with growth and learning.
The responses like crying and smiling, the manifesting emotion are in the beginning reflex actions in the infant without corresponding feeling of emotion. As the baby grows the young child’s responses becomes overtly similar to the emotional responses of older children, that is, they become stimulus- bound. But what portion of these are reflexive and how much learned is not known. With advancing age, emotional response patterns become more differentiated, more varied, complex and recognizable and more and more conditioned.
J. B. Watson in 1925 presented the behviouristic theory of emotion and held that there are three independent primary emotions—anger (rage), fear and love—and each of them has its own distinctive pattern of behaviour, produced by specific environmental stimuli. This was illustrated by fear reactions which are elicited by loud sound and loss of support, and expressed by reactions like identifiable crying, breath catching and blinking of the eyes.
Anger is evoked by restraining of infant’s movements, identifiable by stiffening of the body, thrashing of the hands and legs and crying profusely. The third unlearned emotion love is the response to the stroking of sensitive areas of the body and rocking and patting. Response to this being characterized by stretching, cooing, extending arms and smiling.
But later experimental evidences did not support Watson’s theory. It has been found that the stimuli that were supposed to produce the various emotional responses reported by Watson did not universally do so. The responses were very individualistic and confusing. Neonates differ from one another in responsiveness to all kinds of emotional stimulation, and the differences could be attributed to the differences in rate of maturation.
Characteristics of Emotional Development:
It has already been stated that emotional responses appear from the general excitement of very young infants and that emotional expressions differentiate gradually as the infants grow. It has also been noted that certain responses of children are likely to bring rewards and certain others lead to punishment. The reward and punishment or rather agreement and disagreement on the part of the adults operate which play part in controlling and differentiating emotions in young children.
It is due to training that the general excitement of the very young infant develops into rather clearly defined response patterns. Fear and aggression) are differentiated in the same manner from general excitement by selective operation of rewards and punishments. The child soon learns to behave in a certain way in order to induce a certain kind of behaviour on the part of others.
The child’s earliest aggressive responses consist of vigorous crying, kicking, screaming and tense facial expression. When this complex response help getting parental support and thus satisfaction or reduction in tension, they are reinforced and tend to be repeated. Thus emotional expressions may be regarded as learned responses, even though they have a physiological or neurological basis.
As the emotional responses are learned, therefore, they can easily be conditioned. When children have learned to be afraid or to like or to love, they can be considered to have passed through the stage of general excitement. They are now equipped with a response repertoire. They can express themselves emotionally.
The number of emotional expressions go on increasing. Variety of emotional responses and their emotional behaviour become more and more complex because emotional responses get conditioned easily, as an emotionally loaded stimulus occurs consistently with a neutral stimulus without the presence of the previously emotionally toned one.
Once an emotional response gets conditioned to a previously neutral stimulus, this stimulus can be used effectively to condition responses to other neutral situations. These new emotions can be instrumental in conditioning more and more new situations and capable of further conditioning. Such conditioning might go on indefinitely depending upon the habit strength acquired for each response.
The emotional behaviour is often imitative. It is frequently observed that emotional behaviour of offspring is very much like that of their parents. The emotional behaviour is basically physiological and are considered as inherent tendency. But still they are largely learned responses. The role played by imitation is an important one in the acquisition of emotional expression. The mode of emotional expression differs from one culture to another and the difference is due to imitation of the old by the young. The emotional expression sometime differs from family to family within the same culture.
Variation of Emotional Reactions and Forming Patterns of Emotional Responses:
Emotional reactions differ from child to child depending upon the intensity of emotion-arousing situation. The same fearful situation may evoke variety of reactions from different children. Some children behave one way in the face of emotion- arousing situation whereas other children’ behave quite differently.
These different reactions to essentially the same stimulus result from a host of previous experiences, some of which may have served to instill in the individual a generalized way of dealing with new situations. Karen Horney stated that three types of reactions to an emotion-arousing stimulus have been observed. An individual can approach the situation, he can attack the situation or he can withdraw from the situation. Responding to a particular emotional experience mostly depends on learning.
The particular reaction to emotion that will be made is probably learned in the same way that other behaviour patterns are acquired. If one behaviour, by some chance, is rewarded by success or diminished anxiety it is repeated. The same behaviour pattern is being used when other similar situations are confronted or it may be generalized to include all or most emotion-arousing situations.
Every child has a great variety of experiences which are accompanied by one effect or another. As the child accumulates a greater variety of experiences, he learns which kinds of behaviour are most rewarding for him in any given circumstance. He, thus, builds up a repertoire of positive emotional responses. He also learns to fear or dislike some other situations and forms negative attitude towards those responses and tries to avoid such situations. Thus a host of experiences produce a cumulative effect and may predispose an individual to a generalized mode of emotional reactions.
Development of Social Behaviour:
The development of social behaviour ensues along with the personality development. Any evaluation of personality is based largely on observations of social behaviour—that is, child’s interaction with others revealing the inter-personal relationship. This relationship starts in the family and then carried into other communications outside home, especially with peers and other later associates throughout the life span.
Therefore, the nature of social behaviour are best revealed through the behaviors involving friendship and cooperation, attachment and aggression, hostility and dependence and the like. For example, we judge children to be highly aggressive—if they attack, or quarrel with peers frequently; domineering—if they try to control or boss others; and dependent—if they seek aid or reassurance in their social interactions.
General attitudes towards parents and toward the world at large are strongly influenced by early parent-child relationships. In this section we shall discuss when and how the interpersonal reactions develop—that certain maturational process play a role in this development and that individuals differ in socialization because various factors in the environment play part in shaping it.
The process of socialization involves emotional control as well, which takes place through social learning. We shall now discuss the growth and development of some social characteristics, like structure of social groups and friendship patterns in childhood and opinions and attitudes towards others (peers, parents, playgroups, other adult members etc.) and, finally, socially acceptable and unacceptable behaviours.
The shaping process itself is rooted in the child’s first relationship with parents and caretakers. As socialization begins other agents of socialization exert their influence. Siblings and peers play central role in the process and soon relevant training and experiences are provided by such institutions as the school, neighbourhood and mass media.
Socialisation is also a two dimensional process—the child is influenced by the socializing agents changing its behaviour on the one hand, and, on the other, the child shapes its environment by its unique behaviour, thereby making the process more complicated. Some of the children change their environments to a considerable degree rather than being passively shaped by themselves.
Social Behaviour at various Age Levels:
The development of socialization starts as the child reaches a particular maturational level. The first stage can be called as the stage of pro-social behaviour. Most parents, teachers, and the other socializing agents of any culture try to teach children to act in cooperative, helping or giving ways—at least some of the times and in some situations. Such behaviour is usually thought to be in the greater interest of others and society at large, which the psychologists come to call as pro-social behaviours.
In this section we shall consider three such classes of pro-social behaviour which are products of learning and though seem to be overlapped are not identical. We shall also try to get research support on this account and see how such actions are developed, maintained and elicited in childhood.