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Social and Moral Development

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By mzkimberly1971
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University of Phoenix | Social and Moral Development | AED 202 Child Development | | Kimberly Thomas | 7/31/2011 |


A child experiences different levels of development morally and socially throughout their growth. Children develop at their own pace however there are different stages developmentally that they experience as they grow. As children grow, they achieve different milestones that determine who they will become as an adult. Learning begins as early as infancy as everything learned during this time contributes to what is learned throughout development. At each stage of growth children learn how to become more socially and morally aware. Their social and moral development becomes stronger at each stage of life.

Infancy is during the stages between Birth and two years. In infancy, children become aware of the people that they encounter. Infants began to recognize different faces and sense the difference in different individuals. Through e expressions and actions of others, they can determine what their own reactions should be and learn how to display different emotions. Infants learn early how their actions affect others by the expressions and reactions of others. At the end of this stage, children are aware that their own actions influence others emotions and behavior. As children grow, they begin to play with other children and show different emotions toward other individuals.

Early childhood is during the ages of two years to six years of age. Children during this stage begin to describe objects and events without providing details for the listener in order for them to understand. Language skills during this stage begin to develop which helps them in learning how the mind works. In early childhood, children become aware of physical behaviors that may cause harm or are considered morally wrong. Children learn how to use words to refer to people’s desires and emotions. Through dialogue, children become to understand that people’s perceptions, emotions, and desires influence their actions. As children become more socially interactive during this, stage their awareness of the differences between what is right and what is wrong become more evident. Between the ages of 2 to 3 years, children begin to develop signs of empathy. Children are able to experience emotions of guilt if they do something wrong and begin to learn how to consider others feelings. In this stage children also begin to develop a sense of ownership as wells as responsibility. They learn how to share and how to handle different situations.

Middle childhood occurs during the ages of six to ten years. Children in this stage of development enter the elementary grades. During this stage, children are developing friendships and have more awareness that is social. Children gain the ability to set goals for themselves as well as meet goals that others have set for them. They are more conscious now of what is considered incorrect behavior and aware that there are consequences for inappropriate behavior. Children between the ages of six to seven years of age become more aware that society has certain rules regarding acceptable behavior. They quickly begin to recognize adult authority figures and know what behaviors are appropriate. Children during this stage may show a desire to help in the community as well as help those who are in misery by finding comfort and be consoling to those in their environment. As children get older, they increasingly address psychological characteristics. Children learn at this stage learn that people can have mixed emotions and that a person’s actions do not always reflect their feelings and thoughts. They understand that thoughts and feelings can be closely intertwined as they recognize individuals can be friendly, grouchy, or bossy. As children grow near the end of this stage, they begin to form their own interpretations of how they feel about a particular situation.

Early adolescence is between the ages of ten and fourteen years. At this stage, children are better able to describe an individual based on appearance and background information. Children begin to appreciate other’s feelings about events and particular situations. During this stage, children become aware that people can have multiple and possibly conflicting intentions. Children begin to learn social awareness and engage in recursive thinking. Recursive thinking occurs when an individual thinks about what other people may be thinking about them. Children must learn at this stage that they should consider why other individuals might reasonably think and behave as they do. Children learn obedience and how to avoid punishments at this stage as well. They experience consequences for wrong doings and learn how to avoid these situations.

Late adolescence occurs between the ages of 14 and 18 years. At this stage children begin entering high school and develop a more sophisticated understand of knowledge and thinking. Children begin to recognize how people think about information and how it affects their ability to learn. Older adolescents have the ability to gain knowledge based on social experiences. Children become more knowledgeable of drawing inferences about individual’s psychological characteristics, intentions, and needs. They are able to interpret their different thoughts, feelings, and present circumstances. Children gain the ability to decipher and explain the motives and actions of other individuals. At this stage, children have more increased awareness of past and present factors that influence behavior. Adolescents learn to make choices and learn the consequences of the choices that they make.

As children grow, they learn and become interested in those around them. Children learn that people have thoughts and feelings. They learn that an individual’s motives can be complex and sometimes contradictory. Children learn how to empathize and consider those that are in need. As they get older, they begin to grow a better understanding about societal views and gain awareness of how to help society function better. Children learn how to make distinctions between moral transgressions and social transgressions. As they grow older, they can determine what is considered fair and learn how to experience guilty or shame for wrongdoings. Children learn as they develop how to consider others, show concern for others, and recognize what behaviors are acceptable. Adults can help children learn and grow developmentally by being an individual who displays proper judgment and practice correct moral behavior.

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