Everyone changes and grows throughout his or her life, but that change is influenced by many factors. In this lesson, we'll look at socioemotional development and how culture, school, and media, like television, impact it.
Ella is a mom. Her son Ralph is five years old, and she loves to watch how he changes. In just the past few years, he's gone from being a baby who didn't really interact with others to being a boy who loves to talk and play and sometimes argue with his parents and friends.
The process of change that all humans go through is called human development. There are many types of development, and they all happen at the same time. For example, Ralph has gone from being a baby who could only lie around to being able to crawl and then to walk and run. This is his physical development.
Meanwhile, he's gotten smarter. He's learned how to count and say his ABCs. This is part of cognitive development. And, of course, he's gone from not interacting with anyone to being a social creature. This is socioemotional development.
There are many things that influence a person's development. Let's look closer at three forces that affect socioemotional development: culture, school, and media.
What does it mean to be emotionally and socially mature? What type of person should Ella expect Ralph to develop into?
A person's culture can have a profound influence on the type of person they develop into. There are some universal beliefs about how children should develop - socially and emotionally. For example, pretty much all cultures believe that murdering someone who is part of your community is a big no-no. So as Ralph grows up, he can expect to be taught that you shouldn't kill someone else.
But there are many culturally defined ideas of what social and emotional development means. For example, Ralph and his mom are Western. Ella grew up in America and is now raising Ralph in America. But Ralph's friend Lucy is from China. She only recently came to America, and her parents, who are both from China, too, are raising her with traditional Chinese values.
What does this mean for their social and emotional development? Well, there are some things that are different about their cultures. For example, Western cultures tend to value individuals, while Eastern cultures tend to value groups. Ella might encourage Ralph to stick out and be unique and take care of himself instead of relying on others as he grows up. On the other hand, Lucy's parents might encourage her to blend in to the group and to put more emphasis on what's good for the group, not on being unique or thinking of what's best for her.
Neither of these perspectives is better than the other; they are simply different, and their differences can also cause a difference in a child's socioemotional development.
Besides parents, perhaps the biggest influence on a child's socioemotional development is the school environment. This is not surprising. After all, children spend the majority of every day at school, so of course it will influence how they develop!
Take Ralph, for example. His school focuses on a new social lesson every week. One week, they talked about kindness and being nice to others. It made Ralph aware of when he was being mean and made him try to change his behavior.
Another week, they talked about self-confidence and believing in yourself. Ralph and his classmates made a list of the things they were good at, and it made Ralph feel good about himself.
Ralph is lucky to go to a school where they have an explicit social-emotional curriculum. But even children who don't go to schools that address social and emotional development in an obvious way can make large strides in socioemotional development by attending school. Being around others teaches kids how to be sociable and how to make friends.
Not only that, attending school teaches children to begin to be more independent from their parents. They learn how to be away from their parents for a portion of every day, a lesson that is a valuable part of growing up.
Like many kids his age, Ralph loves television. He likes to watch cartoons as much as possible. Ella worries because she's heard that television is bad for children. Should she forbid him to watch it?
There are two sides of the coin when it comes to television. There are many studies that show that children benefit both intellectually and emotionally from watching children's television. This is probably because children's television is written to help develop intellectual skills, like problem solving, and social skills, like sharing and dealing with unpleasant emotions, like jealousy.
In addition, children are likely to pay attention to television and, therefore, more likely to learn the lessons presented. Anyone who's ever turned on cartoons when a kid is in the room knows how much they pay attention. Sometimes they won't notice anything else going on, so engrossed are they with the television!
On the other hand, some research indicates that children who watch violence on television might become more violent in real life. These studies can't tell us whether the television causes violence or whether violent kids are just more drawn to violent television, but it's still worth it for parents to focus on limiting the types of shows that the kids watch.
Human development is the process of growth and change that everyone goes through. Socioemotional development involves growth in social and emotional skills and can be influenced by many factors, including culture, school, and media.
After completing this lesson, you should be able to:
- Define human development
- Explain socioemotional development in children
- Identify how culture, school and the media influence socioemotional development