ERIC Number: ED208986
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
Symmetries and Asymmetries in Children's Relationships.
Hartup, Willard W.
It has long been recognized that childhood socialization occurs mainly through relationships with others, but only within the last decade or so can it be said that the study of relationships has become central to developmental psychology. As young children grow older, their sphere of relationships extends beyond the primary caretakers, and perhaps siblings, to others, i.e., other caregivers and other children. The child's relationships with these others are often based on the assumption that fundamental differences exist between parent-child and child-peer relationships. One major difference between these two types of relationships is the dimension of symmetry versus asymmetry. By definition, adult-child relationships are mainly asymmetrical while peer relationships are basically symmetrical. Generally, asymmetrical relationships are complementary and symmetrical relationships are reciprocal. Asymmetrical and symmetrical relationships constitute different socialization contexts, containing different developmental challenges for the growing child. It seems likely that the socialization of children within the context of both asymmetrical and symmetrical relationships fosters more successful outcomes than socialization in either context alone. In conclusion, implications of the discussion for practitioners (e.g., clinicians and educators) concerning the socialization and assessment of children are pointed out. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at a meeting at the Paedologisch Institut (Amersfoort, The Netherlands, May 1981).