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About this book

Bringing together key theories and research in a unique integrative approach, Karen Rosen guides the reader through the fascinating and interrelated themes of attachment and the self. In this comprehensive overview, she examines developing relationships with caregivers, siblings, peers and friends from infancy through to adolescence.

Suitable as a core text for advanced-level modules on social and emotional development

Table of Contents

1. Attachment Relationships During Infancy

Abstract
How do infants develop emotionally significant attachments to their caregivers? And why are these relationships so important? The attachment process gradually unfolds in a manner that is biologically based but depends on parental, familial, and cultural influences. While all babies develop attachment relationships with their primary caregivers, the quality of these attachments will reflect contributions of each interactional partner and the history of their interactions over time. Ultimately, variations in the security of early attachment relationships have profound implications for later social and emotional development.
Karen S. Rosen

2. Infant Individuality and the Origins of the Self

Abstract
The quality of infants’ early attachment relationships affects their feelings about themselves. These are the feelings and impressions that children then bring to their relationships with others. If their attachment relationships are secure, then infants are likely to have had caregivers who are sensitive and responsive to their needs; this kind of care, in turn, communicates to infants that they are valued and worthy of responsive care. Therefore, attachment experiences are critical early in life because they influence the sense of self that emerges in infancy. Still, the development of a sense of self is an ongoing, complex process that involves more than early attachment experiences.
Karen S. Rosen

3. Sibling Relationships

Abstract
The experience of sharing childhood with a sibling has a profound effect on development. In ways that are subtle or obvious, siblings influence personality, emotional functioning, academic performance, and relationships both inside and outside of the family. Most children spend more time in direct interaction with their siblings than with their parents or other significant people in their lives. And yet there has been relatively less research focused on relationships with sisters and brothers as compared to studies of children’s relationships with their mothers and fathers. Sibling relationships have the potential to be one of the most enduring relationships throughout the lifespan. They influence, and are influenced by, relationships with parents as well as with peers and other adults. Because 80–85% of children worldwide grow up with at least one sibling (Dunn, 2007), it is critical to consider sibling relationships and their impact on social and emotional functioning.
Karen S. Rosen

4. Peer Relations and Friendship During Childhood

Abstract
As children’s social worlds expand, so too do the network of connections that they make. While attachments to parents and sibling relationships continue to be important during childhood, they also lay the groundwork for interactions with peers. In this chapter, we will consider the special nature of peer relationships and their implications for children’s social development. Developmental patterns in peer interactions and emerging friendships during childhood will be explored. Changes in children’s conceptions of friendships, and the factors that influence friendship choices, will be examined. Current research will be reviewed that investigates the role that friendships play in young children’s lives, the factors that influence their quality, and the social and emotional consequences of peer relationships and close friendships. Particular topics, such as the possible costs of friendship, especially for children with behavioral problems, and the painful experience of peer rejection and loneliness, will be considered. The integrated social worlds of children will be examined, with a particular focus on the connection between relationships with parents, peers, and friends. Some of the factors that may impact these associations between relational systems will be explored. Gender differences, and the clinical implications of this research, will also be discussed.
Karen S. Rosen

5. The Development of Empathy, Prosocial Behavior, and Morality

Abstract
Children need to feel empathy, or to share another person’s emotions or feelings, in order to act in prosocial ways. Prosocial behaviors, such as helping, sharing, and comforting others, are voluntary actions intended to benefit other people. We know that children who are especially empathic are also more prosocial (Eisenberg, Fabes, et al., 2006). The differentiation between self and other seems to be a precursor to empathic responsiveness; this differentiation allows the individual to understand the other’s feeling states and to avoid self-focused responses while fostering other-oriented concern (Bischof-Köhler, 2012). Yet, the experiential core of empathy — namely, the shared affect between self and other — also requires the capacity to connect to others. Empathy is often defined by prosocial responses, such as expressing concern or helping others, which require certain interpersonal competencies. Thus, we see that early relationships and self-other differentiation appear to be critical to our understanding of empathy and prosocial behavior.
Karen S. Rosen

6. Adolescent Social Relations

Abstract
As adolescents’ social worlds expand, their relationships with friends take on deeper meaning as well. Developmental changes in understanding the self and others lead to changes in the nature of friendships, their meaning and significance, and their influence on social and emotional functioning. Adolescents’ growing understanding of their own and others’ feelings often results in an increased desire for self-disclosure and for emotional intimacy. Differences in how much adolescents trust others and choose to share their private confidences in authentic ways may be related to early and current attachment relationships. Additionally, social and cognitive advances contribute to adolescents’ choices of friends and conflict resolution strategies. The quality of their friendships may, in turn, impact adolescents’ academic, social, and emotional development. These issues, as well as emerging sexual exploration and the development of romantic relationships during adolescence, will be discussed.
Karen S. Rosen

7. Adolescent Identity and the Consolidation of the Self

Abstract
One of the major tasks of adolescence is to establish a sense of the self as integrated and coherent. The process of identity development is complex, involving an understanding of the self as well as an understanding of the self in relation to others. Social, emotional, and cognitive advances contribute to changes in adolescent self-concept, as internal representations of the self are modified and self-esteem is altered. Adolescents are now more equipped to use regulatory strategies to guide their behavior, inhibit their impulsive reactions, and modify their emotional responses; consequently, their relationships with peers and family members are transformed. Most adolescents achieve a new level of closeness with peers and their connections with parents are modified in developmentally appropriate ways. Adolescence is a time of continuing the process of becoming a separate individual while remaining connected to others. Thus, adolescents are navigating the balance between connection and autonomy once again.
Karen S. Rosen
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