Middle childhood is one of the crucial stages in human development. It is based on the fact that substantial transformations ranging from personality development, identity, self-concept, moral development and expressiveness and understanding among others. During the middle childhood, childrens identity develops to become more complex, multifaceted and abstract in nature. During this stage, children cease thinking of themselves solely as described by singular and concrete attributes and comparisons (Brinthaupt & Lipka, 2002). Rather, they begin describing themselves more based on the personality traits and psychological qualities that they think they have. This transformation would mean that a child in this stage will start describing himself or herself as I am funny or I like helping people instead of saying Im girl or I have beautiful hair.
In the process of developing a more sophisticated picture of who they are and their abilities, children at the middle childhood stage begin comparing themselves to other people such as the caregivers, siblings and other members of the community (Brinthaupt & Lipka, 2002). They do this across broad varieties of traits and characteristics such as physical and artistic abilities, appearance and intelligence. An aftermath of this increasing complexity of self and other description is that children begin to perceive themselves as substantially or less capable within the domain of accomplishments, such as the social, political, athletics and academics among others. As they develop through early adolescence, their self-esteem and self-concept begin to mirror their feelings of individual worthiness across a wide variety of domains. In this sense, they begin to think themselves as significantly capable in specific areas more than others. For instance, a child at this stage may say that he is better in mathematics than his friend Jane.
According to Brinthaupt & Lipka (2002), the self-esteem at middle childhood through the adolescence may vary as they begin the process of comparing themselves in different domains. However, various studies have proven that this self-esteem may rise with appropriate guidance and support from caregivers. In this way, children will tend to focus more on their weaknesses and strength and even acknowledge that their whole acceptability to those who support them does not necessarily need them to become perfect. As a stage, the process of self-esteem regulation does not occur for every individual in this stage but will advance to develop more self-images during the middle childhood (National Research Council & Collins, 2011).
Given the balanced offering of adult guidance and experiences that are challenging, middle childhood children learn that accomplishment and success depend on the inherent abilities as well as the efforts of environmental factors (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). These environmental factors integrate social, biological, and cultural factors which might influence the developmental process. Notably, children will understand that they possess a given degree of control over their self-concepts but caregivers, parents, peers, and teachers will substantially influence their identities and self-concepts. The external factors such as the messages from other people significantly determine how children in middle childhood will view themselves (National Research Council & Collins, 2011).
Explanation of how you might use this information in your future counseling practice
Counseling forms an integral component of the middle childhood stage (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). Ideally, children in this stage undergo tremendous transformation ranging from the intelligence, physical abilities, and personality traits such as aggression, emotional intelligence, and cognitive development. It is therefore undeniable that this information can play integral roles for therapists and counselors. As a guide, I would use this information to help children caught up in life transition and adjustments problems. Ideally, many children experience massive changes in their lives and may act as if they are withdrawn. Children at the middle childhood stage begin comparing themselves to other people such as the caregivers, siblings and other members of the community. Besides, they also tend to understand their relationships with this people. In the case of parental divorce or separation, they may find it difficult to adjust to despair, anger and emotional changes that may emanate from the situation. As National Research Council & Collins (2011) mentions, counseling in this sense may help middle childhood children to learn substantial coping mechanism, especially with difficult emotions. In the case of anger management, the information about the development of identity and self-concept may facilitate the development of anger management, self-management, and independence.
Counseling may also help children in the middle childhood to adapt appropriately to their strengths and weaknesses (Shaffer & Kipp, 2010). It is undeniable that children at the middle childhood stage begin comparing themselves to other people such as the caregivers, siblings and other members of the community. They may realize that certain individuals or peers have desirable traits than them regarding their intelligence, academic abilities, physical appearance and physical abilities. In some occasion, children may observe or perceive themselves as weak in regards to the mentioned domains. However, this information may be substantially crucial during counseling. As a counselor, I would use this information to inform the children regarding their abilities, and strength. Children have different abilities, and each of them has unique abilities. In this way, this information will be helpful to enable them to understand that they can use their weaknesses as the foundations to build their strength and paths to success.
Brinthaupt, T. M., & Lipka, R. P. (2002). Understanding early adolescent self and identity: Applications and interventions. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Shaffer, D. R., & Kipp, K. (2010). Developmental psychology: Childhood and adolescence. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
National Research Council (U.S.)., & Collins, W. A. (2011). Development during middle childhood: The years from six to twelve. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press.
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