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Definition and Stages of Social Development of a Child | Social Development Stages


Definition and Stages of Social Development of a Child 


Man is a social animal. He influences the behavior of others and is influenced by his behaviour. Social relations depend on the arrangement of this interaction. Interests, attitudes, habits etc. are of great importance in this interaction. Social development includes the development of all these. When the social situation is such that the child learns the rules and moral standards of the society easily, then it is said that social development has taken place in him.

Definition of Social Development


Sorenson has written while defining social development - "Social growth and development refers to the increasing ability to get along well with oneself and with others." 

According to Harlock (1978) - "Social development refers to learning the ability to behave in accordance with social expectations." 

Thus, social development emphasizes the continuous increase in the ability to adapt to others. The social conditions of man keep changing. With this change, the person has to change equally.

Social Development in Infancy


Although the child is not social at the time of birth, the process of socialization starts from the first contact with other persons, which continues throughout life. Social development takes place in the manner-

First month - In the first month, the baby does not react clearly to any person or object, it definitely reacts to intense light and sound. He reacts by crying and rolling his eyes.

Second month - In the second month the baby starts recognizing sounds when someone talks to the baby or claps or shows a toy, he turns his head and smiles at others.


Third month - In the third month, the baby starts recognizing the mother. When someone talks to the baby or claps his hands, he stops crying.

Fourth month - In the fourth month, the baby laughs, smiles at the person coming near. He laughs when someone plays with him and cries when left alone.

Fifth month - In the fifth month, the child starts to understand the difference between the behavior of love and anger. He also laughs when the other person laughs and gets scared when scolded.


Sixth month - In the sixth month, the baby starts to differentiate between the familiar and the unfamiliar. He is afraid of strangers. Behaves aggressively towards elders. He starts pulling the hair, clothes, glasses etc. of the elders.

Ninth month - In the ninth month, the child tries to imitate the words, gestures and actions of others.

First year - At the age of one year, the child moves and mixes with the members of the house. Agrees when elders refuse and shows fear and dislike towards strangers.


Second year - At the age of two, the child starts helping the members of the house in their work. Thus he becomes an active member of the family.

Third Year - At the age of three, the child starts playing with other children. Through exchange of toys and mutual cooperation, he makes social relations with other children.

Fourth year - During the fourth year, the child often starts going to nursery schools where he makes new social relations and adjusts himself in the new social environment.


Fifth year - In the fifth year, the sense of morality starts developing in the child. He tries to conform himself to the norms accepted by the group of which he is a member.

Sixth year - In the sixth year the child starts going to the primary school where his formal education starts and he adapts to the new conditions.

It is clear from the observation of the above mentioned social behaviors done by the child in infancy that the child is gradually socialized after birth. An infant is not a social animal at birth. But when he comes in contact with other people, the process of his socialization starts.

Social Development in Adolescence 


In adolescence, the social environment of boys and girls becomes very wide. Along with physical, mental and emotional changes, it is natural to see changes in their social behavior as well. 

As a result of experiences and changing social relations in adolescence, adolescents try to adjust in a new social environment. 

The pattern of social development in adolescence is –

Formation of groups - In adolescence, boys and girls form their own groups. But these groups are not temporary like the groups of childhood. The main purpose of these groups is to entertain. Groups are formed for tours, dances, music picnics etc. Adolescent groups are often separate.


Development of friendship feeling - Friendship develops in adolescence. In the beginning, she befriends boys and girls and girls and boys. But in post-adolescence, the interest of the adolescent girls in the adolescent and the interest of the adolescent in befriending the adolescent also increases. They appear before each other with their best costumes, makeup and decorations.

Loyalty to the group - Adolescents have extreme devotion to their group. All the members of the group have almost the same ethics, costumes, mannerisms etc. The adolescent considers things accepted by his group as ideal and tries to follow them.


Development of social qualities - Due to being a member of the group, the social qualities of enthusiasm, sympathy, cooperation, goodwill, leadership etc. start developing in the adolescent girls. They aspire to get a special place in the group, for which they develop various social qualities.

Development of a sense of social maturity - In adolescence, the desire to behave like adults becomes strong in boys and girls. They want to get respect in the society through their actions and behaviours. Considering themselves as mature from the social point of view, they try to fulfill their responsibilities towards the society.


Spirit of rebellion - In adolescence, there is a tendency in adolescent girls to have conflicts or differences with their parents and other family members. If the parents try to mold their lives according to their ideals by infringing on their freedom or force them to follow them by giving examples of moral ideals in front of them, then the teenagers rebel.

Interest in Vocational Choice - Vocational interests of adolescents begin to develop during adolescence. They are always worried about choosing their future occupation. Often teenagers want to adopt professions with more social prestige and authority.


Extraverted Tendency - Extraverted tendency develops in adolescence. Adolescents get opportunities to participate in their group activities and various social activities, as a result of which extroverted interests start developing in them.

Social Development in Childhood


The pace of socialization becomes rapid in childhood. The child comes in contact with the air environment. As a result of which his social development takes place at a rapid pace. 

The social development that takes place in childhood can be expressed in this way:

  • The child becomes a member of some group or group. It is this team or group that decides his sports, choice of clothes and other appropriate-inappropriate things.
  • As a member of the group, many social qualities develop in the child. Social qualities like responsibility, co-operation, tolerance, goodwill, self-control, justice etc. start emerging gradually in the child.
  • In this stage, there is a clear difference between the interests of boys and girls.
  • In childhood, the child often wants to stay outside the house, and his behavior is polite.
  • In this stage, the child has a strong desire to get social acceptance and praise.
  • Children deprived of love and affection often become rebellious at this age.
  • In childhood, children choose friends. They often make class classmates their close friends.

It is clear from the above discussion that in this stage the field of social life of the child becomes somewhat wide, as a result of which the opportunities and possibilities of socialization of boys and girls increase.

Social Development in Adulthood 


Adulthood This stage of social development is actually just a consequence of adolescence. In this stage, the process of secondary socialization, desocialization and resocialization continues at a slow pace. The main feature of this stage is that here the person becomes active in maintaining the married life, earning a living is also the main feature of this stage.

Major criteria of child's social development 

The main criteria for the evaluation of the social development of the child are -


Social Conformity - As quickly and efficiently as a child learns to behave in accordance with the traditions, moral values ​​and ideals of his society. The level of his social development is also often equally high. Clearly, here a kind of cognitive co-relation is seen between social conformity and social development. 

Social Adjustment - The more successfully and efficiently a child is able to understand and solve his social situations, the more he has the power of adjustment, the level of his social development is usually higher.


Social interactions - The more detailed and complex is the level of social interactions of a child, this condition is also indicative of the level of his social development in almost the same proportion.

Social Participation - The more comfortable and more confident a child or person participates in social activities, that too is often an indicator of his higher social development.

Characteristics of Social Development


  • The most important feature of social development is that it results in the transformation of a simple social state into a complex social state.
  • Another important feature of social development is the increase in social mobility. 
  • Another feature of social development is the decline in the influence of religion. 
  • Change in social development keeps on happening according to progress. 
  • Social development assumes a certain direction.
  • Social development has a special quality of 'continuity'. 
  • One of the main features of social development is that its concept is universal. 
  • The subject area of ​​social development is very wide. 
  • The main focal point of social development is economic which is dependent on technological development. 
  • Another important feature of social development is that social relations spread under it. 

Nature of Social Development 


The nature of social development is scientific. Under this, the study of social facts is done by scientific method. Scientific method is called that method in which the study passes through the following definite methods.

  • Problem formulation
  • Overview
  • Fact collection
  • Classification and
  • Generalization 

For example, if we want to study the importance of public participation in this development process. And as a principle of generalization, we accept that public participation is important in the development process, then we will prove the truth of this fact only through the steps mentioned above.