Early Social Development

  • David Fontana
Part of the Psychology for Professional Groups book series (PPG)


Human beings are social creatures. The relative defencelessness of the individual, particularly in early childhood, has helped ensure over the millions of years of human evolution that people stick together. We live and work in social groups, and there is evidence that isolating the individual from others can lead to severe cognitive and emotional problems. We have become programmed, if you like, to be gregarious. And so pervasive is this programming that the way in which we experience our own lives is very much determined for us by the way in which we think other people see us. Not content with simply living together in our social groups, we need the esteem and support of the group if we are to develop into happy and well-adjusted people.


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Additional Reading

  1. Banks, J.A. (1981) Multi-Ethnic Education: Theory and Practice. New York: Allyn & Bacon. Surveys the major issues surrounding all aspects of multiethnic education.Google Scholar
  2. Booth, T. (1975) Growing up in Society. London: Methuen. A good account of the influence of the social context upon the developing child. Demonstrates the significant extent to which the child is the creation of social forces.Google Scholar
  3. Davie, R. (1984) Social development and social behaviour. In D. Fontana (ed.) The Education of the Young Child: A handbook for nursery and infant teachers, 2nd edn. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Concise and practical survey of social development in the infant and nursery school years.Google Scholar
  4. Goldenberg, I. and Goldenberg, H. (1980) Family Therapy: An overview. New York: Brooks-Cole. A useful comprehensive text for those who want to know more about family therapy.Google Scholar
  5. Kagan, J. (1984) The Nature of the Child. New York: Basic Books. Good on all aspects of child development, and with a particularly good chapter on the role of the family. (Also recommended for Chapter 3.)Google Scholar
  6. Kaye, K. (1982) The Mental and Social Life of Babies. London: Methuen. Rather minimizes the abilities of babies, but a useful survey of the available evidence.Google Scholar
  7. Kempe, R. and Kempe, E. (1978) Child Abuse. London: Fontana/Open Books. Good account of the distressing phenomena of physical and sexual abuse, with suggestions for prevention and treatment.Google Scholar
  8. Maccoby, E. and Jacklin, C. (1974) The Psychology of Sex Differences. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Thorough examination of sex roles and of sex differences in intellectual behaviour.Google Scholar
  9. Mussen, P.H., Conger, J.C. and Kagan, J. (1984) Child Development and Personality, 6th edn. New York: Harper & Row. Excellent on all aspects of child development. A deservedly popular text: highly recommended. (Also recommended for Chapter 3.)Google Scholar
  10. Pringle, K. (1980) The Needs of Children, 2nd edn. London: Hutchinson. Examines children’s needs within all areas of their development, and raises many issues which have bearing upon general social policies.Google Scholar
  11. Rutter, M. (1981) Maternal Deprivation Reassessed. Harmondsworth: Penguin. A comprehensive and stimulating review of the research on the influence of maternal deprivation upon the child.Google Scholar
  12. Schaffer. H.R. (1977) Mothering. London: Fontana/Open Books. A concise and sympathetic look at the mother’s task, with a good survey of recent evidence and a welcome emphasis upon the reciprocal nature of the mother-child relationship.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© David Fontana 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Fontana
    • 1
  1. 1.University College CardiffUK

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