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Supporting Children’s Personality Development Through Literature Experiences

The ability to develop and maintain positive social relationships is an essential aspect of healthy human development (Positive Child Outcomes, 2003). Nevertheless, some children are very challenged in their social and emotional development. According to the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, positive social-emotional development provides a base for life-long learning; social skills and emotional self regulation, and are integrally related to later academic success (Positive Child Outcomes, 2003).

Unfortunately, there comes a time when some children have a difficult time in establishing and maintaining positive social relationships.

Children who lack skills in self control, cooperation, and social relationships tend to exhibit aggression and disruptiveness. Other behaviors include an unsporting attitude when losing, a domineering mindset, and they are bossy. Teachers can intervene by drawing the children’s attention to the feelings or experiences of others, helping them to remember their feelings or experiences in similar situations, and by planning cooperative activities (Positive Child Outcomes, 2003).

According to Giorgis and Glazer, personality determines our attitudes, interests, behavioral patterns, emotional responses, social roles, and other individual traits that expand throughout our lifetimes (Giorgis & Glazer, 2009).

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Books offer opportunities for helping children to appropriately resolve conflict and develop positive self concept. Children need opportunities to recognize their own value and make appropriate choices as they express themselves in socially acceptable ways. (Giorgis & Glazer, 2009). When planning to share books with children to choose books that will meet he needs, but be mindful of the socialization process involved in your selection choices.

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The media is an intentional and unintentional socialization process that builds a concept about people, places, objects, and ideas in a child’s world. The behavior values displayed on television, videos or movies impacts how children will contribute and take apart in society (Berns, 2010). Racism, discrimination, and prejudices viewed in books, magazines, and posted on billboards teach children how to live within society. The role of the media is to share information and transfer cultural and social values with our children (Berns, 2010).

Books are a platform for the traditions, beliefs, and customs of our society to an impressionable generation of thinkers. As adults, we can mediate and monitor this role by filtering what children see and hear. Also, discussing what children are exposed to helps their understanding about things that happen in the world. Adults fulfill this role when they present anti bias media to our children. The best thing adults can do is to communicate the best values, beliefs and customs of our society, such as have respect for others and be trustworthy.

Considering the emotions, values, ways of perceiving, and feelings about self, Erik Erikson’s theory of Psychosocial Development examines the periods in human development (Wilt & Mossler, 2010). Each phase in life offers experiences which causes us to gain certain social capabilities. Erik Erikson’s initial stage of personality development focuses on providing a secure environment and meeting the basic needs of a child. As physical and emotional needs are met in a consistent and caring way, and when the caregiver is responsive, the child becomes trusting of the world around them.

However, when children are not exposed to warmth, affection, and dependability the child develops mistrust for the world around them. For example, the book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch illustrates that mothers can be counted on to give true love a mother gives as she embraces and lavish all her love through a lullaby she sings. This literature selection provides nurture and a positive response to the needs of the very young child. After developing the trust of their parent children are more apt to develop a. sense of autonomy.

According to Witt & Mossler, the second stage in Erikson Psychosocial Development theory, children are developing independence in what they can do for themselves (Wilt & Mossler, 2010). A positive influence will lead them to develop control over their action. A negative influence or the lack of positive support will promote impulsive behaviors instead. Shake It Up Takes by Margaret Read MacDonald is a collection of multicultural stories children can explore to develop skills in controlling their own actions through singing, dancing, drumming, and other movements.

Careful selected children literature experiences can encourage children to begin investigate and explore their world. Children by nature are curious adventure seekers. According to Witt & Mossler, this is the third stage in Erikson Psychosocial Development theory where preschool age children begin to investigate their sense of curiosity and adventure (Wilt & Mossler, 2010). Positively influencing children in this area of development allows children to begin taking the initiative to plan and carry out their own choices.

On the other hand, when positive influences are not present children will be shy about choosing their own activities to participate in. Children will develop shyness about themselves Stories such as I Want Your Moo by Marcella Bakur Weiner helps children develop positive self esteem as they focus on their own strong points. I Want Your Moo by Marcella Bakur Weiner is a story about a turkey who grumbles and complains about her appearance and her gobble. So she tries to get the others animals to give her their noises.

In this story each animal’s strengths and weaknesses are emphasized. According to Witt & Mossler, the fourth stage in Erikson Psychosocial Development theory, children’s sense of belonging develops (Wilt & Mossler, 2010). During this stage a child’s self worth is developing. The support they receive during this time leads to self confidence or low self esteem. Clap For Me by Harriet Isecke shares a story about a little girl who feels that her parents value her siblings more than she because of their great abilities.

So she shares she thinks about how she could get her parents to show her some attention without being negative. In conclusion, Books provide support with children’s ability to develop and maintain positive social and emotional relationships. Children literature experiences present a value system for children because the stories explore the motive and intent of actions. Quality selections provide a model for children to assess their own actions and reactions as they discuss and recognize their own emotions as children share in literary experiences.

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Supporting Children’s Personality Development Through Literature Experiences. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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