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Links:      •  Self Test
                •  Print Ready Version
                 •  Chapter Index

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decorative star graphic  The School Years
Psychosocial Development
- Coping With Problems -

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Family Support

Ψ  A functional family nurtures school age children in five essential ways. The are
     1. meets basic needs by providing food, clothes, & shelter.
      2. encourages learning.
       3. develops self-esteem.
        4. nurtures peer friendship.
         5. provides harmony & stability.

Ψ  Family Style
•  Open - values contributions from every family member, including children
 •  Closed - one parent "runs the show", best in "hard" times.

Ψ  Family Structure is defined as the legal & genetic relationship between adults & their children. Two points follow
     1. Structure does NOT in itself determine function or dysfunction (a dysfunctional family is one where the relationships among family members are not conducive to emotional & physical health).
     2. Harmony & stability are particularly appreciated by school-age children.

Assessing Stress

Ψ  The Likelihood that a problem will adversely affect a child depends on three factors. They are
     1. how may other stresses the child is already experiencing.
      2. how much the stresses affect daily life.
       3. how many protective buffers & coping patterns are in place.

Ψ  If a child has to do the following, he or she is being heavily stressed in daily life due to a dysfunctional parent.

        Ψ  Care for themselves.
            Ψ  Contend with the adult’s dysfunction directly.
                Ψ  Care for siblings.
                    Ψ  Keep friends away from the house

Focus on Competency

Ψ  If a child has several crucial strengths reasonably good development can be attained even in the face of serious problems. Those important competencies follow.
        Ψ  social skills
         Ψ  academic skills
          Ψ  creative skills

Ψ  Social support is another important element - ideally a strong bond with a loving & firm parent can see a child through. In middle childhood more potential sources of social support are available. (from teachers, peers etc.)


Ψ  A stress-free childhood is NOT necessary to a happy life.

    •  Research shows that as children grow older, they develop ways ( coping skills ) to deal with stress. Help them find the resources they need to do so.


Ψ  Divorce may NOT harm children if there is a stable family income.

Human Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates
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