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Socioemotional Development in Infancy

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1 Socioemotional Development in Infancy
Chapter Seven Socioemotional Development in Infancy

2 Black Hawk College Chapter 7

3 Black Hawk College Chapter 7

4 Emotional Development
Defining Emotion Affect in Parent-Child Relationships Developmental Timetable of Emotions Crying Smiling Stranger Anxiety Black Hawk College Chapter 7

5 Black Hawk College Chapter 7
Defining Emotion Emotion is a feeling, or affect, that can involve physiological arousal, conscious experience, and behavioral expression. Psychologists debate which of these components is the most important aspect of emotion, and how they mix to produce emotional experiences. An important aspect of emotional development is emotional regulation. During the first year, infants develop an ability to inhibit or minimize the intensity and duration of emotional responses. An example of early emotional regulation are infants’ soothing themselves by sucking. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

6 Affect in Parent-Child Relationships
Emotions are the first language with which parents and infants communicate. The initial aspects of infant attachment to parents are based on emotion-linked interchanges, as when an infant cries and the caregiver responds. By the end of the first year, a mother’s facial expression— smiling or fearful—influences whether an infant will explore an unfamiliar environment. When children hear their parents quarreling, they often react with distress. Infant and adult affective communicative capacities make possible coordinated, bidirectional infant-adult interactions. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

7 Developmental Timetable of Emotions
The Maximally Discriminative Facial Movement Coding System (MAX) is used to code infants’ facial expressions related to emotion. Interest, distress, and disgust are present at birth. A social smile appears at about 4-6 weeks. Anger, surprise, and sadness emerge at about months. Fear is displayed at about 5-7 months. Contempt and guilt don’t appear until 2 years old. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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Crying Crying is the most important mechanism newborns have for communicating with their world. Babies have at least three types of cries: The basic cry is a rhythmic pattern usually consisting of a cry followed by a brief silence, then a short inspiratory high-pitched whistle, followed by a rest prior to another cry. The anger cry is a variation of the basic cry with more excess air forced through the vocal cords. The pain cry differs from other cries, as it suddenly appears without preliminary moaning and followed by an extended period of breath holding. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

9 Responding to Infant Cries
Most parents, and adults in general, can determine whether an infant’s cries signify anger or pain. Parents can distinguish the cries of their own baby better than those of a strange baby. There exists controversy as to whether parents should respond to an infant’s cries or not. However, developmentalists increasingly argue that an infant cannot be spoiled in the first year of life, suggesting that parents should soothe a crying infant rather than be unresponsive. Infants will thus develop a sense of trust and secure attachment to the caregiver. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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Smiling Smiling is another important communicative affective behavior of the infant. Two types of smiling can be distinguished: A reflexive smile does not occur in response to external stimuli, rather during irregular patterns of sleep. A social smile occurs in response to an external stimulus, usually a face. It does not occur until 2-3 months of age. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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Stranger Anxiety Stranger anxiety is exhibited when an infant shows a fear and wariness of strangers. It tends to appear in the second half of the first year of life, intensifying and escalating around 9 months of age. When infants have a sense of security, through familiar settings and physical proximity to mom, they are less likely to show stranger anxiety. Who the stranger is and how he/she behaves also influence stranger anxiety. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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Temperament Defining and Classifying Temperament Goodness of Fit Parenting and the Child’s Temperament Black Hawk College Chapter 7

13 Defining and Classifying Temperament
Temperament is an individual’s behavioral style and characteristic way of emotional response. There is a debate as to the key dimensions of temperament. Many scholars conceive of temperament as a stable characteristic of newborns, which comes to be shaped and modified by later experiences. However, it may be that as a child becomes older, behavior indicators of temperament are more difficult to spot. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

14 Temperament Classifications of Chess and Thomas
Psychiatrists Alexander Chess and Stella Thomas believe there are three basic types of temperament. An easy child is generally in a positive mood, quickly establishes regular routines in infancy, and adapts easily to new experiences. A difficult child tends to react negatively and cry frequently, engages in irregular daily routines, and is slow to accept new experiences. A slow-to-warm-up child has a low activity level, is somewhat negative, shows low adaptability, and displays a low intensity of mood. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

15 New Classifications of Temperament
Mary Rothbart and John Bates have concluded that, based on current research, the best framework for classifying temperament involves a revision of Chess and Thomas’ categories. The general classification of temperament now focuses on: positive affect and approach (like extraversion/introversion) negative affectivity effortful control (self-regulation) Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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Goodness of Fit Goodness of fit refers to the match between a child’s temperament and environmental demands the child must cope with. Goodness of fit may be important to the child’s adjustment. A lack of fit between the child’s temperament and strong environmental demands may produce adjustment problems for the child. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

17 Parenting and the Child’s Temperament
Parents often don’t discover the importance of temperament until the birth of their second child. Management strategies that worked with the first child might not be as effective with the second child, and new problems might arise. Temperament experts Sanson and Rothbart conclude that the following are implications of temperamental variations for parenting: Attention to and respect for individuality Structuring the child’s environment The “difficult child” and packaged parenting programs Black Hawk College Chapter 7

18 Attention to and Respect for Individuality
Parents need to be sensitive and flexible. Parents need to be sensitive to the infant’s signals and needs. Some temperament characteristics pose more parenting challenges than others. Children’s proneness to distress (exhibited by frequent crying and irritability) can contribute to the emergence of avoidant or coercive parental responses. Parents might react differently to a child’s temperament, depending on the child’s gender and the culture they live in. Parents should respect each child’s temperament, rather than try to fit all children into the same mold. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

19 Structuring the Child’s Environment
Crowded, noisy environments can pose greater problems for some children than others. We also might expect that a fearful, withdrawing child would benefit from slower entry into new contexts. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

20 The “Difficult Child” and Packaged Parenting Programs
Some books and programs for parents focus specifically on temperament, particularly “difficult” temperaments. Acknowledgement that some children are harder to parent, and advice on how to handle particular difficult characteristics can be helpful. There is a problem, however, identifying a child as “difficult” implying that the problem rests solely with him or her, rather than being on the particular “fit” between characteristics and environment. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

21 Personality Development
Trust The Developing Sense of Self Independence Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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Trust According to Erik Erikson, the first year of life is characterized by the trust-versus-mistrust stage of development. Erikson believed that infants learn trust when they are cared for in a consistent, warm manner. If the infant is not well fed and kept warm on a consistent basis, a sense of mistrust will develop. Trust vs. mistrust arises again at each successive stage of development. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

23 The Developing Sense of Self
Infants are not “given” a self by their parents or the culture, rather they find and construct selves. In the animal kingdom, only the apes learn to recognize their reflection in a mirror, but humans accomplish this feat by about 18 months of age. To determine whether infants can recognize themselves, psychologists employ the “rouge test.” Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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Independence The theories of Margaret Mahler and Erik Erikson have important implications for both self-development and independence. Mahler believes the child goes through separation, involving movement away from the mother, and then an individuation process, involving the development of self. Erikson described the second developmental stage as autonomy versus shame and doubt. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

25 Autonomy Versus Shame and Doubt
Autonomy builds on the infant’s developing mental and motor abilities. Infants feel pride in their new accomplishments (such as climbing, pushing, pulling, etc.). They want to do everything themselves, and it is important for parents to recognize the motivation of toddlers to do what they are capable of doing at their own pace. When parents consistently overprotect or criticize toddlers, children develop an excessive sense of shame and doubt about their ability to control themselves and their world. Erikson believed this stage had important implications for the development of independence and identity during adolescence. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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What Is Attachment? Attachment is a close emotional bond between the infant and the caregiver. Harlow and Zimmerman study found that feeding is not the crucial element in the attachment process and that contact comfort is very important. Erikson believed that the first year of life is the key time frame for the development of attachment. John Bowlby believes that the newborn is biologically equipped to elicit the attachment behavior from the primary caregiver. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

28 The Development of Attachment
Phase 1: Birth to 2 months - Infants instinctively direct their attachment to human figures. Phase 2: 2-7 months - Attachment becomes focused on one figure, usually a primary caregiver. Phase 3: 7-24 months - Specific attachments develop. Phase 4: 24 months on - A goal-directed partnership is formed in which children become aware of others’ feelings, goals, and plans. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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Studying Attachment Mary Ainsworth believes that some babies have a more positive attachment experience than others. She created the Strange Situation—an observational measure of infant attachment that requires the infant to move through a series of introductions, separations, and reunions with the caregiver and an adult stranger in a prescribed order. With the Strange Situation, researchers hope that their observations will provide them with information about the infant’s motivation to be near the caregiver, and the degree to which the caregiver’s presence provides the infant with security and confidence. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

30 Individual Differences
Secure babies use their caregiver as a secure base from which to explore the environment. Insecure avoidant babies show insecurity by avoiding their caregiver. Insecure resistant babies may cling to the caregiver then resist her by fighting against the closeness, by kicking or pushing away. Disorganized babies are disorganized and disoriented, appearing dazed, confused, and fearful. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

31 Caregiving Styles and Attachment Classification
Caregivers of securely attached babies are sensitive to their signals and are consistently available to respond to their infants’ needs. Caregivers of avoidant babies tend to be unavailable or rejecting, tending not to respond to their babies’ signals and having little physical contact with them. Caregivers of resistant babies sometimes respond to their babies’ need and sometimes do not. Caregivers of disorganized babies often neglect or physically abuse their babies, and sometimes these caregivers suffer from depression. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

32 Attachment, Temperament, and the Wider Social World
Researchers recognize the importance of competent, nurturant caregivers in an infant’s development, but it is debated whether or not secure attachment is critical. Not all research reveals the power of infant attachment to predict subsequent development. Some researchers stress that genetic and temperament characteristics play more important roles in a child’s social competence. Cultural variations in attachment have been found. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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The Family The Transition to Parenthood Reciprocal Socialization The Family as a System Maternal and Paternal Infant Caregiving Black Hawk College Chapter 7

35 The Transition to Parenthood
When people become parents they face disequilibrium and must adapt. Parents want to develop a strong attachment with their infant, but they still want to maintain strong attachments to their spouse and friends and possibly continue their careers. In one study, many couples report that being parents enhanced their sense of themselves and gave them a new, more stable identity as a couple. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

36 Reciprocal Socialization
Reciprocal socialization is bidirectional; children socialize parents just as parents socialize children. The behaviors of mothers and infants involve substantial interconnection, mutual regulation, and synchronization. Scaffolding is parental behavior that supports children’s efforts, allowing them to be more skillful than they would be if they were to rely only on their own abilities. It is evidenced when parents time interactions in such a way that the infant experiences turn-taking. Scaffolding is not confined to parent-infant interaction, but can be used to support children’s achievement-related efforts in school. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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The Family as a System As a social system, the family can be thought of as a constellation of subsystems defined in terms of generation, gender, and role. Each family member is a participant in several subsystems: Dyadic (two people) Polyadic (more than two people) Black Hawk College Chapter 7

38 Maternal and Paternal Infant Caregiving
Fathers have the ability to act sensitively and responsively with their infants as mothers do. Maternal interactions usually center around child- care activities. Paternal interactions are more likely to include play. Fathers engage in more rough-and-tumble play, while mothers’ play is less physical. In stressful circumstances, infants show a stronger attachment to their mother. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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Day Care Far more young children are in day care today than at any other time in history. The type of day care that young children receive varies extensively. Unlike many European countries, the United States does not have a policy of paid leave for child care, thus day care has become a major national concern. A special contemporary interest of researchers who study day care is the role of poverty. Quality of care is typically based on group size, child-adult ratio, physical environment, caregiver characteristics, and caregiver behavior. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

40 Findings of Day Care Research
It has been discovered that children in low-quality day care as infants were least likely to be socially competent in early childhood. Children who come from families with few resources are more likely to experience poor-quality day care than more advantaged children. Child care in and of itself neither adversely affected or promoted the security of infants’ attachment to their mothers. Certain child care conditions, in combination with certain home environments, did increase the probability that infants would be insecurely attached to their mothers. High-quality child care, especially sensitive and responsive attention, was linked with fewer child problems. Black Hawk College Chapter 7

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