Social Development during Different Ages

The process of the development of such qualities which brings desirable changes in his social behaviour is referred to as social development

Meaning of Social Development

Human beings posses a unique characteristic which separates them from animal beings. Their behaviour is social. Society is essential as food to them. They believe in the maintenance of social relationships and try to adjust with others. But this does not mean that the child is born with such social behaviour and social qualities. Like other aspects of growth and development, he develops the necessary social characteristics in him.

Social Development during Different Ages

The process of the development of such qualities which brings desirable changes in his social behaviour is referred to as social development or socialisation of the child. Social development occupies very important place in the overall process of growth and development. We cannot even describe an individual a person if he has not passed through the process of social development or socialisation.

Social development theory attempts to explain qualitative changes in the structure and framework of society, that help the society to better realize aims and objectives. Development can be defined in a manner applicable to all societies at all historical periods as an upward ascending movement featuring greater levels of energy, efficiency, quality, productivity, complexity, comprehension, creativity, mastery, enjoyment and accomplishment.

Definitions of Social Development

Some of the definitions are given below:

1. According to Sorenson, "By social growth and development we mean increasing ability to get along well with oneself and others."

2. According to Freeman and Showel, "Social development is the process of learning to confirm to group standards, more and traditions and becoming imbued with a sense of oneness, inter-communication and co-operation."

3. According to Mrs. Hurlock, "Social development means the attaining of maturity in social relationships."

4. According to Garret, "Socialisation or social development is the process whereby the biological individual is converted into a human person."

During the process of social development there is a progress in the social abilities or skills of an individual. Social development refers to the process by which a person acquires the necessary knowledge, skills and disposition that makes him an acceptable member of his own group. If develops group loyalty and encourages mutual dependence, co-operation and cohesiveness. It is the process which helps an individual to behave in accordance with social traditions and mores and thus makes him able to adjust in his social environment.

It asserts that as in the case of emotional development, the goal is to attain emotional maturity. similarly there in the case of social development, the goal should be the attainment of social maturity. An individual should have all the opportunities to modify or improve his social behaviour so that he may be able to maintain proper social relationships and can adjust himself to his social environment. Socialisation and social development the process of social interaction-helps the individuals to attain essential personality characteristics.

Social Development during Different Ages

1. Social Development in Infancy

The behaviour of the human infant is not social at birth. He is too much self-centered. He is only concerned with the satisfaction of his physical need. He does not even distinguish between people and inanimate objects.

Social behaviour is said to be taking is birth when the infant first distinguishes between persons and objects. He is dependent upon the adults for the satisfaction of his needs, therefore, normally the baby's first social contacts are with an adult Mrs. Hurlock in her book Child Psychology' has beautifully explained the process of social development during the first two years as a result of the contact with adults. Below we give the summary of her findings.

S.No. Duration of Age Pattern of Social Behaviour
During first Month Cannot differentiate between the human voices and other noises.
Second Month Recognises the sounds of human beings and gives smiles to the person.
Third Month Recognises its mother and feels unhappy on separation.
Fourth Month Shows selective attention to the human face and feels happy in company.
Fifth Month Reacts differently to smiling and scolding and distinguishes between friendly and angry voices.
Sixth Month Recognizes familiar person a smile and shows define expressions of fear of strangers.
Eight and Ninth Month Attempts to imitate the speech, simple acts and gestures observed in others.
Between the tenth Plays with his image and even kisses it as and twelve month if it were another person.
At twelve Month Can refrain from doing things in response to 'no-no or some other form or request.
At two years Can cooperate with adults in a number of routine activities and becomes an active member of the family.

2. Social Development during Childhood

As we have seen that during the period 2 to 6 years a child progresses from being relatively unsocial to distinctly socialized individual. He learns to share, to cooperate and to do things with others. But the circle of his social contacts is limited at this stage. Therefore, we cannot expect much from him regarding his social development.

With the entrance in childhood most of the children begin to go to school. The area of their social contacts is now widened. We note the following changes in the social behaviour of a child:

1. This period is marked by greater degree of social awareness. There is a great expansion of child's social world. Most of the important types of social behaviour; necessary to adjustment with others, begin to develop at this stage.

2. He tries to seek independence from his parents and others elders and spends less time with them. In actual sense he now drives no enjoyment from them. Thus, interest in playmates of his own age gets increased.

3. He becomes an active member of a 'peer groups and this group gradually replaces the family group in its influence over his behaviour and attitudes. The members of such a group are almost of the same age. They believe in group loyalty and thus try to confirm to the rules and the values maintained by their group.

4. We find a sort of segregation among boys and girls of this age. They form their group among members of their own sex because of a definite and clear differentiation between their habits, interest and attitudes etc.

3. Social Development during Adolescence

Adolescence is a period of rapid change and adjustments. In the social sphere also it holds a greater significance. The social development of this age is marked by the following characteristics:

1. Adolescence is marked with too much sex consciousness, sexual development and the accompanying attraction for opposite sex. Boys and girls of this age try to attract and hold the attraction of each other through their style of dress, manner of taking and other forms of social behaviour. They also try to seek friendship and even sexual relationships. In this way. the social behaviour pattern of the adolescence is almost dominated by sexual needs and desires.

2. During this stage group loyalty becomes very much pronounced Like childhood, it does not confine itself to the gang only but extends to the school, the community, the province and to the nation. Martyre and patriots are the product of this age. Cooperation reaches its speak during this period and the individuals are in mood to sacrifice their own interest for the greater cause of the group, society and nation.

3. Adolescence is also marked with the increase in friendly relationship. The nature of friendship maintained at the stage differs much from that of childhood. While in the childhood the friends are generally chosen from the neighbourhood or class, in adolescence there is no such bar of distance. The adolescents tend to choose friends of their own age, mental level and from the same socio-economic group to which their own family belongs. Their friendships are based on their common interests, hobbies and skills or the satisfaction of their mutual needs and subsequently tend to last longer than the friendship made in early childhood. It sometimes ties them in life long relationships.

4. Adolescence is a period of intense emotions. Emotional behaviour dominates the social characteristics and qualities of adolescents. An adolescent is highly sensitive, idealist and social reformer by nature. He feels strongly for the weak and sufferers. He is always ready to do some sort of social and community service. From time to time he exhibits his desire for bringing reforms in the social set-up and is highly critical of social evils and injustice.

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