The psychosocial development of children begins from the time in their early childhood when they first learn to interact with other children of the same age group. It is during this time when the first semblances of the character differences between the children become evident and offers a peek into who may evolve into popular or unpopular children in the future. Oftentimes, all one has to do is look at the parents of the child in order to determine the course of the social development of the child. Confident and popular parents tend to have confident and popular children because they tend to pass on their sense of self-confidence to the child. That, in turn, develops the child’s sense of self-confidence, allowing him to develop his psychological and social skills without hindrance.
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At this stage of development, the peer groups of the child become the basis for the child’s confidence in their abilities and allow them to practice social skills through imagination and play. The popular children turn out to be leaders of the group and often display leadership abilities such as energy and inquisitiveness. As such, the popular child often has well-developed cognitive and social skills that allow the child to excel in social problem solving by being helpful to others. Although some popular children are considered to be bullies because of the way they tend to over assert themselves, there are also those popular children who manage to be assertive without being harmful or offensive to others. Most often these are also the children who are trustworthy, loyal, and self-disclosing.
Unpopular children, on the other hand, display signs of inability to adapt in a group setting. An unpopular child can either be hyperactive or inattentive to the point of withdrawal from the group due to the inability to successfully blend with the other kids. Often perceived as immature and anxious, there are often more underlying circumstances that affect the psychosocial development of the unpopular child that mostly has to do with the so-called “self-fulfilling prophecy”.Or a child’s expectation that he or she will always be disliked by people no matter what he says or does. Such failures in the psychosocial development of the child can be traced back to family influences wherein the children do not bask in the support that the popular child does. The family of an unpopular child often suppresses the self-esteem of the child by punishment or threats that they often act out on other children they meet. Such lack of support from parents tends to disrupt what should have been the normal psychosocial development of the child.
In school, teachers can help both the popular and unpopular children develop their psychosocial skills by ensuring that the popular and unpopular children are forced to interact with each other. This is so that the popular child can coax the other into trying something new or even teaching the unpopular one how to make friends and develop self-confidence without becoming a bully. In effect, unpopular children can be helped to develop their psychosocial skills even if their parents are unable to do so. This is because the school system and the teachers are in a better position to show both the popular and unpopular children how to make friends. After all, friends are the key factor in the development of psychosocial skills and even the unpopular child needs a friend. This can be done by encouraging activities that allow the children to share experiences with those who may share similarities with them. This way, they will learn to control their emotions and develop their self-esteem through comparisons and exercises in conflict resolution.
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