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Characteristics of Social Development in Childhood and Adolescence



We give below briefly the characteristics of social development from the age of five to the age of seventeen:

What is Social Development? 

At birth, the sociability of the child is almost nil. As he develops his physical and mental development, he becomes a socialization. He comes in contact with his parents, family members, fellow - workers and others which in consequence lead to his learning to conform to the social conventions, beliefs, customs, etc and tries to adjust himself to the social world. This process of socialisation leads to social development of the child. Social development refers to the process of development by which a person adapts to his social environment, controls his own needs and interests in accordance with social conditions, experiences his responsibility to others and establishes social relations with others effectively. As a result of social development, the individual becomes a recognised, cooperative, useful and efficient citizen of the society. Only after living in society do individuals meet their needs and develop innate tendencies and abilities. It is in living in a society that he interacts with others, believes in the values, beliefs and ideals of society and adopts the life - style of the society. There is a spirit of coexistence in it, he learns to renounce his vested interests in the social interest and with the spirit of public welfare and seeks to develop social qualities and bring about social adaptation. The ability to interact and adapt with others is the result of social development that develops as a result of child socialization.



Five to Eight Years


Children of five to eight years in age:

1. Accuse adults of being too bossy, too strict, not fair and resist adult control.

2. Are highly competitive, independent and self-assertive.

3. Are more interested in peer groups than in family groups.

4. Are very social. Like to work and play with others, but are beginning to- be selective with friends.

5. Boys have more lasting friendships.


6. Develop a recognition of the needs and the desires of other children.

7. From short lived changing groups.

8. Motor skill play an important part in being accepted by peer groups.

9. Show independence by unacceptable language, dirty hands, tattered clothes.

10. Tell stories, set up whispering and giggling campaigns

11. Vacillate between working toward common end and intense personal rivalry.

12. Want group acceptance so much that they will ignore behaviour codes set up by adults.


Nine to Eleven Years


Children of nine to eleven years in age:

1. Act and dress like the rest of the gang.

2. Are ready for a widening of social contacts.

3. Belittle adult authority by showing they can 'get away' with antisocial acts.

4. By twelve, boys are beginning to be interesting in girls.

5. Careless about personal appearance.


6. Girls become 'tomboyish

7. Grow in self-reliance, independence and self-government.

8. Have keen sense of right and wrong.

9. What some social approval from adults.

10. What to be or are members of a school group

11. Want to show their independence.




Twelve to Fourteen Years


Children of twelve to fourteen years in age:

1. Are apt to copy less desirable adult behaviours.

2. Are careless in language and work.

3. Are slavish to gangs.

4. Become more able to cooperate with others.

5. Camouflage feelings toward family.

6. Display fads and extremes in dress, speech, handwriting, mannerisms.


7. Old rivalries between siblings flare up again.

8. Participate in rituals.

9. Play in boy-girl groups; boy more reluctant than girls.

10. Play in organized groups

11. Resent teasing and criticism of friends.

12. Show drastic behaviour : daring, aggressive, critical, boisterious, argumentative, rough-and-ready, defiant, leave home, less obedient, rebellious or docile to family

13. Show extreme devotion to a particular boy or girl friend, but are likely to transfer the devotion to a new friend overnight

14. Try many new experiences.


Fifteen to Seventeen Years


Children of fifteen to seventeen years in age:

1. Are more cooperative.

2. Attempt to attract attention by strong actions and dress.

3. Begin to accept more responsibility

4. Begin to enjoy spectator activities, such as visiting and going to lectures.

5. Begin to feel social class mobility.


6. Boys like girls to be friendly, make a good appearance and have sense of humour.

7. Boys want to develop a strong body.

8. Choose friends because of special qualities.

9. Develop high ideas; dream of better world.

10. Develop insights into the behaviour of other people.

11. Dislike quietness in opposite sex.

12. Display more dignified and self-controlled conduct and reley less on group pressures.


13. Girls like boys to act manly, dress neatly and have a sense of humour.

14. Join peer groups interested in adult activities

15. May go to some length in effort to establish self-assurance

16.-Show interest in games and sports with members of the opposite sex.

17. Tend to align themselves with 'underdog' and 'social causes'

18. Try to gain status through social activities, exaggerated adult behaviour, and use of masculine and feminine artifices.