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Children’s Social Needs and Positive Social Development

Humans throughout life are driven by their needs and how these needs are addressed affects their personality development and emotional disposition. Essentially, the six basic needs of individuals are classified as physical, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual, and creative (Milo, 2006). The needs of an individual, start within the mother’s womb. Whether, these needs are met depends on the people surrounding an individual and the environment he is exposed in. Meeting the needs during childhood greatly affects the child’s personality.

Specifically, a child’s development is greatly influenced by the people within the home and within the school wherein the child’s behavior and morals are formed. One of these needs is the “need for companionship and friendship” or social need (Milo, 2006). Children’s social needs must be met to develop a positive social development that would be crucial for satisfying other needs. Abraham Maslow has developed the famous hierarchy of needs. His theory is that basic needs, as he devised at the lowest level of hierarchy, must first be satisfied before an individual could satisfy the needs in the higher levels.

The levels are: 1. physiological; 2. safety/security; 3. belongingness and love, 4. esteem; 5. cognitive; 6. aesthetic; 7. self-actualization; and 8. self-transcendence (Hutt, 2004). As evident in the hierarchy, social needs are in the lower levels of the hierarchy, the need for belongingness and love. Consequently, social development during childhood affects the quality of learning and development of an individual in the future. Social development is “the process of organizing human energies and activities at higher levels to achieve greater results” (Jacobs and Cleveland, 1999).

The importance of positive social development can be observed in the person’s success in relating with other people, working well within groups, and being productive in the society. It is during childhood, that individual develop and enhance skills and capabilities that will promote positive social development. These skills should be promoted by the people around them, especially in homes and in schools. Developing the communication skills of children is the underlying core of social development. Also, the ability to work well with peers is developed through social interactions as one grows up.

Playing and engaging in sports are very important socialization processes for children. Through play and sports, valuable virtues like cooperation, sharing, discipline, determination, and teamwork, and working hard are instilled in children. These virtues are important as children become adults, work with others, and take on their responsibilities. In connection, a child effectively learns these values and skills thorough their own experiences and by having a sense of purpose on the things they do.

As Erik Erikson describes in his developmental stages, children should learn be autonomous and must develop a sense of purpose (Harder, 2002). As early as childhood, they must understand their role in their family, school, and community. This will guide them in understanding the importance of academic learning in preparing them to become a productive citizen in the society. Home and family is the first social environment where an individual is exposed to. It is where a child learns how to communicate, to play with family members, and to have a role and purpose.

Parents have the very important role in guiding their children’s development. The key would be for family members, especially the parents, to allot quality time with their child. Interactions with children are vital in enhancing their social skills. Parents much teach them how to properly express their feelings and they must be encouraged to participate in conversations (Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Online). Skills in sports could be encouraged and initiated at home, and parents should emphasize the importance of rules, honesty, fairness, and other virtues learned through play.

A family setting wherein, each member has roles and responsibilities would promote positive social development. Children would experience having responsibilities, just like how they would have their own duties in the society as they become older. Simple tasks and responsibilities should be assigned to children and their efforts and contributions should be given importance and appreciated by other family members to develop the children’s self-esteem. A stressful home environment could hinder a child’s social development.

Stress could be caused by relationship and communication problems within the family, financial problems, and unsafe environment, etc. A family setting wherein both parents busy with work could lead to less interaction with their children. Consequently, the children’s much needed attention and guidance would not be met. Schools are where children further develop their social skills. In schools, children must be encouraged to share his ideas and feelings and interact with their peers.

Also, children at school should develop independence and be given problem-solving task which they should solve by themselves. They should learn of their duties and responsibilities. Also in schools, situations and activities wherein children could exhibit their skills and talent should also be promoted. This includes having academic organizations, strengthening sports programs, and promoting activities such as school plays and talent shows. This will not only enhance their skill and talents, but it will also promote working with their peers in achieving a common goal or purpose.

According to Maurice Elias, the three obstacles in social and emotional learning in schools are the following: 1. time constraints; 2. it is not part of the responsibilities of the school; and 3. it requires to much effort (Education Media Design and Technology). This should be addressed by school administration and parents since social and emotional learning are very important factors that affect the holistic development of children. References Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Online. (November 1, 2007).

Retrieved April 24, 2009, from http://www. dbpeds. org/ Education Media Design and Technology. (2009). Maurice Elias: A View on Emotional Intelligence and the Family Retrieved April 24, 2009, from http://www. edutopia. org/maurice-elias-emotional-intelligence-and-family Harder, A. F. (2002). The Developmental Stages of Erik Erikson. Learning Place Online. com. Retrieved April 24, 2009, from http://www. learningplaceonline. com/stages/organize/Erikson. htm Hutt, W. (2004). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Educational Psychology Interactive. Retrieved April 24, 2009, from http://chiron. valdosta. edu/whuitt/col/regsys/Maslow. html Jacobs G. and Cleveland H. (1999) Social Development Theory. International Center for Peace and Development. Retrieved April 24, 2009, from http://www. icpd. org/development_theory/SocialDevTheory. htm Milo, L. (2006). Six Basic Needs of Children, Adolescents and Adults. EzineArticles. com. Retrieved April 23, 2009, from http://ezinearticles. com/? Six-Basic-Needs-of-Children,-Adolescents-and-Adults&id=141752

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