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Prosocial Skills in Children Term Paper

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Updated: Apr 28th, 2022

The Role of Nature and Nature in Development

Prosocial skills among growing children are vital. These are skills that involve sharing and cooperation and they normally develop through three stages. First, children must decide whether to help if they can or not, at any given time and this phase is referred to as the recognition step.

Secondly, it is upon the siblings to decide whether they are ready to help or not. Thirdly, the children then act by selecting and performing a behaviour that they deem appropriate at a given situation. Essentially, this could be by way of helping or not doing so and this is according to Olson and Spelke (2007).

To them, cooperation among humans is one of the central themes which concerns social and biological sciences. In explaining the development of cooperation, scientists use economic game and evolutionary models, as well as studying the cultures of different people.

Cooperation essentially entails acting in close relations, rewarding others whose actions have benefitted others, and rewarding people who show generosity. These three qualities are shown by adults.

On the other hand, children do not exhibit all these qualities. Children start exhibiting pre-social behaviours while in their second year of life. Such behaviours include sharing toys with others and cooperating with them in performing certain activities.

For instance, it is said that children are more likely to share with their parents compared to adults. Additionally, there is a high tendency of attentiveness among children when it comes to friendship relations. Children do learn the act of giving from their parents and friends. This is done through observation thus learning reciprocity as well as close relations (Fehr & Fischbacher, 2004).

An experiment can be undertaken to investigate how children judge sharing with family members, strangers and friends. The child is given seven dolls which are described as sisters, friends and strangers. The child is then given resources to share with these seven dolls. These resources include stickers, candy bars, miniature plastic bananas, bottles, paint sets, hard candies, rubber ducks, plastic oranges and seashells.

From this experiment, it can be determined how children share out resources among friends, strangers and family members. The way the child will share these resources will show if they are in any way likely to favour their friends or close family members when it comes to sharing.

In children, for them to develop and learn, there are various factors which influence the whole process. However, it is said that children are some of the active learners. As such, they have the capacity to draw on direct physical, as well as social experiences and knowledge transmitted through culture.

This helps them in constructing a clear understanding of the world they live in. Additionally, through the interaction of biological maturation, as well as their immediate environment, children are able to learn and develop.

An important aspect in the development of children is play. Through play, children develop emotional, social and cognitive skills. Nevertheless, development and learning among children occurs only under certain circumstances. This occurs when children are safe and feel valued, have their physical needs met, and have a feeling of psychological security.

Consequently, Olson and Spelke (2007) argue that co-operation is vital among humans. More so, this co-operation can only be sustained through our daily experiences, as well as moral teachings. Their research shows that the three principles that form the basis of human cooperation exist and function well in young children.

Moreover, it is these principles that act as a guideline in the judgement of children on how people share and distribute resources among individuals.

However, children have developed their own new pattern of giving in their early stages of development. These patterns are mature and complex networks that depict cooperation among children.

The only limitation of these studies is that they do not show how such children would behave in case they were protagonists. In such a case, these children would probably behave in a way contrary to what we have seen from the experiments.


Fehr, E. & Fischbacher, U. (2004). Social norms and human cooperation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 185-190.

Olson, K. R. and Spelke, E. S. (2007). Foundations of cooperation in young children. Cognition, 108, 222-231.

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