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Late childhood extends from the age of six years to the time the individual becomes sexually mature. This period is marked by conditions that profoundly affect a child's personal and social adjustment. The child enters school and has a major change in life pattern. No longer is the mastery of developmental tasks the role responsibility of parents, it now becomes the responsibility of the teachers and to a lesser extent, the peer group.
Late childhood is a period of slow and uniform growth period until changes of puberty begins.
Good health and good nutrition are important, since boys begin their puberty growth spurt approximately a year later than girls, they tend to be slightly shorter and lighter in weight than girls of the same age until they too become sexually mature.
Marked sex differences exist-not only in play skills at their age but also in the level of perfection of these skills. Girls surpass boys in skills involving finer muscles like painting, sewing etc. Boys are superior to girls in skills involving the grosser muscles, like kicking, playing basket ball etc.
Areas of improvement - Throughout late childhood, children's general vocabularies grow by leaps and bounds. From their studies in school, reading, conversation with others, exposure to radio, T.V, newspaper, they build up vocabularies which they use in their speech and writing. Errors in pronounciation are less common at this age than earlier. There is improvement in comprehension and communication.
Content of Speech - Their speech will depend on their personalities, social contacts and satisfaction from these contacts. They like to criticize and make fun of others. Children who are popular have a strong incentive to improve the quality of their speech.
Chatterbox stage characteristics of early childhood is gradually replaced by more control and selection of speech. Normally as childhood draws to a close, children talk increasingly less and this is part of the withdrawal syndrome that is characteristics of the puberty period.
Emotions in late childhood - Older children soon discover that expressions of emotions, especially of the unpleasant emotions is socially unacceptable to their age-mates. Hence they learn to control the outward expressions of their emotions. Heightened emotions may come from physical or environmental causes or from both. When they are ill or tired, sex organs begin to function, heightened emotionality is normally at its peak.
Social behavior in late childhood - This age is often referred to as the 'gang age'. From the time children enter school until puberty, the desire to be with and to be accepted by the gang becomes increasingly strong.
Play activities in late childhood - They indulge in a lot of constructive activities which includes drawing, painting, singing, working with models, exploring, collecting etc. They also do lot of reading, watching movies, T.V, playing games and participating in sports. Children who are lonely at home and who have few friends often amuse themselves by daydreaming.
Sex - Role Typing in late Childhood- Unquestionably the most important force in sex - role typing during these years come from peer pressure. If they have to be accepted by members of children's gangs, children must conform whole heartedly to the beliefs, values, pattern of behaviour of the peer group. In clothing, appearance and in mannerisms, children try to create the impression of sex-appropriateness.
Personality changes in late childhood - As childhood draws to a close, children begin to hero-worship characters in history, fiction, on screen, world of sports or teachers. They then form concept of the ideal self, the kind of person they would like to be.
Physical Hazards - Illness, Obesity, accidents and disabilities due to this are common hazards as in earlier age. Other than that sex - inappropriate body build are likely to be ridiculed by their peers and pitied by adults, (girls with masculine body builds and boys with girlish physique or voice) Same way awkwardness and clumsiness prevent them from doing what their playmates do.
Psychological Hazards - Most of psychological hazards are in relation to speech, emotional, social, play, sex-role typing and hazards in personality development.
This is the traditional form of discipline and is based on the old saying that 'to spare the rod means spoiling the child.' In authoritarian discipline, parents and other caretakers establish rules and inform children that they are expected to abide by them. No attempt is made to explain to the children why they must conform nor are children given opportunities to express their opinions about their fairness or the reasonableness of the rules. If children fail to conform to the rules, they are subjected to act as a deterrent in future rule breaking. Their reason for breaking the rule is not taken into consideration. It is assured that they knew the rule and willfully violated it. Nor is it considered necessary to reward them for complying with a rule. This is regarded as their duty and any reward given, it is believed, might encourage children to expect to be bribed to do what society regards as their duty.
Permissive discipline developed as a revolt against the authoritarian discipline, many adults had been subjected to during their own childhoods. The philosophy behind this type of disciplinary technique is that children would learn from the consequences of their acts how to behave in a socially approved way. Consequently, they were not taught rules, they were not punished for willful breaking of rules, nor were they rewarded for behaving in a socially approved way. There is a tendency on the part of many adults today to abandon this form of discipline on the grounds that it fails to fulfill all three of the essential elements of discipline.
Today there is a growing tendency to favor discipline based on democratic principles. These principles emphasize the rights of the child to know why rules are made and to have an opportunity to express their opinions, if they believe a rule is unfair. Blind obedience is not expected even when children are very young. Attempts are made to have children understand the meaning of the rules and the reasons the social group expects them to abide by them. Instead of corporal punishment, in democratic discipline an attempt is made to make the punishment 'fit the crime' in the sense that the punishment is related to the misdeed. Appreciation for attempts to conform to social expectations as spelled out in rules is shown by rewards, mainly in the form of praise and social recognition.
The brighter the child, the more quickly speech skills will be mastered and consequently the ability to talk.
Children who grow up in homes where discipline tends to be permissive talk more than those whose parents are authoritarian and who believe that 'children should be seen but not heard.'
Firstborn children are encouraged to talk more than their later-born siblings and their parents have more time to talk to them.
Only-children are encouraged to talk more than children from large families and their parents have more time to talk to them. In large families, the discipline is likely to be authoritarian and this prevents children from talking as much as they would like to.
In lower-class families, family activities tend to be less organized than those in middle and upper class families. There is also less conversation among the family member and less encouragement for the child to talk.
The poorer quality of speech and conventional skills of many young children may be due in part to the act that they have grown in homes where the father is absent, or where family life is disorganized because there are many children, or because the mother must work outside home.
While young children from bilingual homes can talk as much at home as children from monolingual homes, their speech is usually very limited when they are with members of their peer group or with adults outside the home.
As early as the preschool years, there are effective sex-role typing on children's speech. Boys are expected to talk less than girls, but what they saw and how they say it, is expected to be different. Boasting and criticizing others, for example are considered more appropriate for boys than the girls, while the reverse is true of tattling.
Babies who suck for long periods show signs of tenseness. They engage in more non nutritive sucking (such as thumb-sucking), have more sleep difficulties, and are more restless than those whose sucking periods are shorter. If weaning is delayed, babies are likely to resist new kinds of food and substitute thumb-sucking for the nipple. They will also resist semi-solid foods. If such foods are introduced too early, not because of their taste but because of their texture.
Crying, strenuous play with an adult or noise can make babies tense and keep them from falling asleep. Sleep schedules that do not meet the requirements of the individual babies make them tense and resistant to sleep.
These habits cannot be established until the nerves and muscles have developed adequately. Trying to toilet train babies too early will make them uncooperative about establishing these habits when they are maturationally ready. Delay in toilet training, on the other hand, results in habits of irregularity and lack of motivation on the baby's part. Enuresis - bed-wetting is common when training is not timed according to the baby's developmental readiness.
Parents who have had experience in caring for earlier-born children, taken courses given in prenatal clinics or babysat for older siblings or neighbors' children have more confidence in assuming the parental role than to those who have lacked any such experiences.
The mother's attitude toward the infant is more favourable when the childbirth experience has been relatively easy than when it is prolonged, difficult, and followed by physical complications. The father's attitude is also colored by his wife's childbirth experience.
The more quickly a mother recovers after childbirth, the more favorable her attitude toward the infant will be and the more confident she will be of her ability to fulfill her maternal role satisfactorily.
When complication arise at childbirth, such as a caesarean operation, prematurity which necessitates special nursing care and a prolonged stay in the hospital, or some defect brought on at birth or apparent at birth, parental attitudes will be unfavorably affected by concern about the unexpected expenses involved.
If there is a suspicion or actual evidence that the infant is defective in some respect, parental attitudes will be colored by disappointment, concern about the future normality of the infant, and the added expense the defect will cost.
The faster and the better the infant adjusts to postnatal environment, the more favorable parents' attitudes will be.
Infants who cry excessively and without apparent reason encourage the development of unfavorable attitudes not only on the part of parents but also on the part of all family members. Parental Resentments against Work, Privations, and Expenses.
When parents find that the care of the infant requires more work, privations and expenses than they had anticipated, their attitudes toward the infant will be far less favorable than they would have been had they prepared themselves for the conditions that parenthood normally imposes.
If an infant must remain in the hospital longer than the usual stay, as a result of prematurity, some defect, or poor postnatal adjustments, parents are not only concerned about the infants normality, but also about their ability to care for the infant after leaving the hospital.
When an infant must remain in the hospital longer than the usual time and be given special attention, parents become concerned about the infant's survival. If the infant does survive, parents tend to be over protective when they assume responsibility for its care.
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