During the last two decades,a convincing body of evidence has accumulated to indicate that unless children achieve minimal social competence by about the age of six years, they have a high probability of being at risk throughout life. Hartup suggests that peer relationships contribute a great deal to both social and cognitive development and to the effectiveness with which we function as adults (1992). He states that: “Indeed, the single best childhood predictor of adult adaptation is not IQ, not school grades, and not classroom behavior but, rather the adequacy with which the child gets along with other children.
Children who are generally disliked, who are aggressive and disruptive, who are unable to sustain close relationships with other children, and who cannot establish a place for themselves in the peer culture are seriously at risk. " (Hartup, 1992). The capacity to communicate is the ability and desire to connect with others by exchanging ideas and feelings, both verbally and non-verbally. Most children learn to communicate to get a need met or to establish and maintain interaction with a loved adult.
The child’s ability to communicate is critical in the developmental process where in when left unattended can cause damaging effect evident as the child struggles through adulthood. Children who are unable to communicate may in turn be unable to form close or satisfying relationships with peers and definitely should be of concern to parents and teachers alike. For one thing, these children miss out on opportunities to learn social skills that will be important throughout their lives. (Asher and others 1982). Children who lack ongoing peer involvements also may miss opportunities to build a sense of social self-confidence.
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These children may develop little faith in their own abilities to achieve interpersonal goals and, thus, are easily overwhelmed by the normal ups and downs of social interaction. Implications for the children's future social and professional adjustments are obvious. Problem solving skills are also contributory in the learning process that can affect child’s diverse role in his search for answers. By exploring social relationships, manipulating objects, and interacting with people, children are able to formulate ideas, try these ideas out, and accept or reject what they learn.
Constructing knowledge by making mistakes is part of the natural process of problem solving. Through exploring, then experimenting, trying out a hypothesis, and finally, solving problems, children make learning personal and meaningful. Piaget states that children understand only what they discover or invent themselves. It is this discovery within the problem solving process that is the vehicle for children's learning. This discovery process allows children to construct their own learnings.
Most problems have more than one solution; some problems cannot be solved. Experiences with these sorts of problems promote learning in young children. (Britz, 1992) Development of sound moral decision is also a skill which is considered important as our life's path is controlled or based on what we see as right and wrong. Lawrence Kohlberg's ideas of moral development are based on the premise that at birth, all humans are void of morals, ethics, and honesty. He identified the family as the first source of values and moral development for an individual.
He believed that as one's intelligence and ability to interact with others matures, so does one's patterns of moral behavior (Woolfolk, 1993). Environment's role in the development of communication skills, problem-solving and making sound good judgment The life of a child can be affected by how he interacts in two different worlds common to him, which is the home and the school. Family Environment Child rearing practices are especially critical. In the terms of family policy dominant in the culture of North America, children are usually raised in ways that encourage them to become self-reliant and independent.
Children are often allowed to act somewhat like equals to their parents. For instance, they are included in making decisions about what type of food and entertainment the family will have on a night out. Children are given allowances and small jobs around the house to teach them how to be responsible for themselves. In contrast, children in China are usually encouraged to think and act as a member of their family and to suppress their own wishes when they are in conflict with the needs of the family.
Independence and self-reliance are viewed as an indication of family failure and are discouraged. It is not surprising that Chinese children traditionally have not been allowed to act as equals to their parents. (O'Neal, 2002) The way parent's react to external influences is important because they help design the first blueprint for their children's sense of self through the behavior they model. How they act, feel, and think is crucial, because their children see them as a reflection of the outside world-as a glimpse into what they'll be like when they grow up. Medhus, 2002)
It all started with our need to communicate. It is very much vital in achieving our social needs as well as physiological needs.. It has been stated that during infancy when one starts to communicate his need we should be able to respond to it in a timely manner for this will definitely affect the child's psychologically, and will then affect his social skills having difficuty to trust people. Erik erikson proposed that the concept of trust versus mistrust is present throughout an individual's entire life.
Therefore if the concept is not addressed, taught and handled properly during infancy (when it is first introduced), the individual may be negatively affected and never fully immerse themselves in the world. For example, a person may hide themselves from the outside world and be unable to form healthy and long-lasting relationships with others, or even themselves. If an individual does not learn to trust themselves, others and the world around them then they may lose the virtue of hope, which is directly linked to this concept.
If a person loses their main belief in hope they will struggle with overcoming hard times and failures in their lives, and may never fully recover from them. This would prevent them from learning and maturing into a fully-developed person if the concept of trust versus mistrust was improperly learned, understood and used in all aspects of their lives. (1950) In order to develop the child's ability to communicate, it should start from person where in he can establish contact easily.
A family environment that promotes communication like talking and listening to each other help is essential for him to for the development of his social skills which will determine how he would interact with the world outside as he grew up. Parents who communicate effectively with their children such children know what to expect from their parents, and once children know what is expected of them, they are more likely to live up to these expectations. They are also more likely to feel secure in their position in the family, and are thus more likely to be cooperative. ( Zolten and Long,1997)
Relationships between parents and their children are greatly improved when there is effective communication taking place. They believe that these adults will nurture and protect them, unless repeated experience teaches them otherwise. When children form secure attachments, their development tends to flourish. Long-term studies show that children who have secure attachments early in life make better social adjustments as they grow up, and do better in school. ( Teo and others, 1996, p. 285) The family evironment should also be a place where growth is allowed and not restricted.
Mistakes should not be considered as failure. If this happens the child's exploration will be limited for the fear of comiting mistakes. This will eventually help build up the child's self-esteem. Children with good self-esteem do better in school, act independently but enjoy group interaction, respond appropriately to peer-pressure, take pride in their accomplishments, tolerate frustration, try new tasks, and offer help to others. Therefore one way to help your children have self-esteem is to begin building your own.
However, unreasonable parental control or domination being execised as a family environment may inhibit the development of the skills or capabilities of a person. Over centuries, parents have been brainwashed into believing that the best way to raise children is to exert control by using size and experience to their advantage. The basic premise is that, if we choose to twist our children's arms into becoming the adults we want them to be rather than coach and guide them to making choices for themselves, we're setting them up to be like us: externally directed.
Physical punishment also does much to discourage self-direction. Many parents feel that pkings are vital to raising an obedient child, while others, drowning in the pressures of the day, simply lose control and, in the heat of the moment, fail to see an alternative. Either approach has two unfortunate effects. First, it teaches our children that violence is an acceptable solution to many of their conflicts. Second, it tells children that they are inferior beings who need to be dominated and oppressed. (Medhus, 2002) Classroom environment
Research on work and home environments has shown that there can be a strong relationship between social settings and short and long-term emotional well-being. Considering how much time most children spend at school, psycho-social dimensions of schools have sparked the interest of a growing number of researchers concerned with school effectiveness and the emotional well-being of young people. The ‘climate’ of a school has been identified as one of the most important features of a good school. At its best,the school should be a caring, happy and safe environment in which to work and play.
Where the atmosphere in a school is uncaring, unsupportive and unrewarding, the mental health, as well as the work of pupils and teachers, can be adversely affected. The impact of this unfriendly atmosphere is particularly damaging if it persists for many years. The role of the teacher includes taking care of his/her students' psychological welfare. In a school that scores high in this quality area, teachers and pupils feel valued. Parents are interested and supportive. They believe they have a role in the school and see reasons to give their support.
At another level, it is about effective and sensitive communication: not only teachers providing appropriate, constructive feedback about the child’s work and giving encouragement but also pupils giving positive feedback to other pupils and to the teachers themselves. Through a greater attachment and sense of belonging, the school becomes a place where boys and girls want to be. Promoting small group work in class and ongoing co-operative contact between pupils is central to creating a more child-friendly atmosphere.
It can reduce stereotyping and improve relations between children from different social and ethnic groups. When students co-operate, the winners and losers are less obvious and subsequent humiliation for the losers is avoided. Students who participate in class are less likely to feel alienated from school. Alienation brings increased risks to mental and physical health. Active learning can help students to develop problem solving skills. In research where children have been left alone to play their own games, it has been found that children naturally develop agreements about egalitarian rules.
They themselves see the intrinsic importance of sharing and co-operation, so it is possible to harness some of this potential. Showing boys and girls the value of cooperation encourages co-operative behaviour in situations and places outside the school setting, so that the family and community also benefit. Physical punishment of children in schools is unnecessary and unacceptable for good mental health and sound education. This is a contentious issue because in some cultures violence against students, in the form of corporal punishment, may be legally sanctioned, while in other cultures it may be viewed as a form of child abuse.
Corporal punishment is unnecessary because it does not work; it suppresses undesirable behaviour for only a short period of time, and creates an atmosphere of fear that is counterproductive to learning. Aggression and deviant behaviour among children in school can, in turn, lead teachers to be fearful about their own personal safety. Harsh treatment of students is associated with high rates of mental health problems including substance abuse later in adulthood.
There is growing evidence that discipline is not only derived from rules, punishment and external control, it is also learned from rewards and encouragement, and from consequences that are fair, firm and clearly communicated. Schools should strive for a school environment with a balance of warmth, positive interest and involvement from adults on the one hand, and the enforcement of firm limits to unacceptable behaviour, on the other. Where limitations and rules are violated, non-hostile, non-physical sanctions should be consistently applied. (Skevington, 1999) Adults at school and home must also act as authority figures in some respects.
Having clear, fair rules and applying them consistently, is vital to good order. Children and adolescent themselves often agree that a good reason for having discipline is to make the home and school a safe place and can be encouraged to share the responsibility. It is very important that the environment where we interact with teaches us to communicate for us to ask questions and clarify things and will eventually come up to think of possible actions towards situations through problem solving skills and end up with a good moral decision that will guide us in dealing with our social roles and responsibilities.
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