Middle Childhood: Fitting In or Standing Out
Middle childhood fitting in or standing out Middle childhood is a crucial time when children start to establish their own sense of identity, independence, and start to be more involved in the world beyond their family. When children get older there values and behaviors start to change. Many children try to be individuals, but most of the time it makes them feel vulnerable, so they tend to conform to a group. During middle childhood cognitive changes begin to transform a child’s mind and body therefor having stability at home and in school is crucial.
Vygotsky realized “that children learn from one another, their cultures and their teachers (Pg. 242) Not having stability from these things will most likely impair a child’s social cognition making the child to “likely be rejected. ” (Pg. 293) When children start to feel rejected the will act out aggressively and are withdrawn. In the video twenty-five seven year olds were evaluated on how they were handling to cope with peer pressure and would it be easier to conform in order to be part of a group or be robbed of their individuality?
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A test was done with all of the children to find out how they would react with differences in people. Different scenarios were given, for example being excluded from a group, being sad and being a slow runner. A little boy named Jamie was asked do you think it is right to not ask the slow runner to join the team. Jamie’s response was “they should have asked him to join the team because it doesn’t matter about winning. ” Jaime’s response is most likely due to the fact because he is also different. At age four Jamie was diagnosed with diabetes helping him to accept all sorts of different types of people.
According to Piaget’s view of middle childhood the “most important cognitive structure attained in middle childhood is concrete operational thought, which is the ability to reason logically about direct experiences and perceptions. Jamie was certainly able to reason logically from his own experiences. On a different end of the spectrum when a little girl named Helena was asked many of the questions she thought that all of the individuals that were different in some way or another should be excluded.
Helena’s behavior is likely due to her having a very difficult start in life herself and having to be apart from other playmates for three years. Being apart from playmates so long caused Helena to lack socialization skills and this is a major process of learning in becoming a part of a culture. Another interesting experiment was done with the children placing them in a group with the three stooges. The experimenter asks the children which of three lines is the same length as the test line. The stooges were briefed beforehand to choose the wrong line.
Helena conformed to the group choosing the same line the three stooges choose. Helena most likely went along with the group because she is less confident about how to behave in groups and may want acceptance from her peers. When children attended school they are in a social environment getting praise and the attention when doing different task such as writing, drawing and reading. This is especially important for a child that already has insecurity’s about themselves such as children with special needs.
According to Erikson’s industry versus inferiority stage things like getting praise and attention are imperative for the development of self-confidence. If a child doesn’t get the attention and encouragement they need they may doubt themselves and feel rejected. This was certainly the case for the little girl named Het in the video. Since Het’s baby brother has arrived she has had mixed emotions. Het was the center of attention for five years until her baby brother Chris came along. Het says her parents “play with her brother more. Het started to lose confidence in school because she felt rejected. Het’s father decided to take her on his campaign trail with him to try and make Het feel more involved and boost her confidence again. It has paid off and Het is doing great. During middle childhood there are many different changes in a child’s life and this is an important time for children to start gaining confidence. Every child is vulnerable and has his or her strengths whether they are a regular child, gifted or a child with special needs. Abnormality is normal and what makes us who we are.