ED209 - Child Development - Children's Interactions: Siblings & Peers

Siblings and Peers

  • Created by: Nadine
  • Created on: 24-09-11 13:31


Theorists argue socialisation takes place mainly in peer group.

Some interactions (child/parent) - differing knowledge/power - Roles complimentary.

Other interactions (peers) - similar knowledge/power - Roles reciprocal.

Siblings - differ, some difference in knowledge/power but negliable.

Peer/Sibling intercation - skills of c-operating & resolving conflict.

DUNN - Sibling relationship = start of independence and wider interactions.

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Introduction 2

In child/parent interaction - child scaffolded by parent.  Child/Child - own agendas for both.

  • Understanding others perspectives
  • Negotiation
  • Conflict management
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Play as Interactional Accomplishment

Research - transcripts of interaction for qualitative analysis.  Hard to transcribe, selective recording, audio/visual recording helps.

FEIN - Pretend play, 2 boys 3.5yrs, instructed and negotiated roles, physical conflict possible, one child backs down.

GONCU - children play on different levels

  • Communication within play - how role played
  • Meta-commuinication about play - understand pretend play
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Significance of playfighting

Playfighting develops social skills and in play situ.

SMITH et al - Playfighting involves skils:

  • Communication
  • Regulation of emotion
  • Turn-taking
  • Others view point

WHITING & EDWARDS - Playfight into real fight - laughter indication of play, stop laughing, now real.  Also restraint is important.  Open to cheat to status and dominance.

PELLEGRINI - Rough & tumble, aggression, increased status, boys and girls vary.

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Importance of children's playground experience

Reasearch - self-report method.

BLATCHFORD et al - interviews, break-time culture & social development.

Bullying & agression in playground - teach social skills to deal with it.

COWIE - Social skllis teaching can only happen if children's experiences are understood.

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Children's Cultures

Conflict not always negative - can be acceptable and fair.

Checklist for play vs real fighting:

  • Cultural mode of group
  • Context of dispute
  • Standards set by adults - cultural norms
  • Experience of participants.

Peer groups not always homogenous

POLLARD - study school life - 3 friendship clusters - distinct identity.

  • Goodies
  • Jokers
  • Gangs
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Role of Gender in conflicts and Disputes

Boys more likely to conflict than girls - girl discourse differs from boys.


  • Boys - single-voiced discourse - own agenda - no negotiation - other boys wishes ignored
  • Girls - double-voiced discourse - own agneda - negotiation - both parties listened to.


Negotiation not only importance in play context.

VASS - Examples seen in joint story writing.

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Emotion & Sensitivity in Sibling Relationships

Sibling emotions can run high.

DUNN - Great importance on emotions in siblings to develop social understanding.

DUNN & KENDRICK - Siblings comment on fights but still protective.

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Co-Operation, Collaberation and Participation

Children also Co-operate.

DUNN - Cambridge Sibling Study - Observational - Older child instructed play - as younger child ages it understands dynamics of play - still sensitive to mood of each sibling.

DUNN - Young child accepts instruction in play but not always in other contexts.  More co-operative when good relationship between siblings - Suggests siblings influence social development but not entirely as in case of first-born and only children.

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Fantasy & Socio-dramatic play

Sociodramatic Play - prentend play on domestic life

CORSARO - lanuage is real-life, helps kids understand life

STONE - suggests anticipatory socialisation device - prepare for life.

In western cluture, more related to girls - other cultures different.

Fantasy Play - Fictional play - creative dialogue

CORSARO - Facilites interpersonal skills - control of fears - skills for later life - 3 themes

  • lost-found
  • danger-rescue
  • death-rebirth
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Peer collaberation & Learning

Co-operate to solve poroblems

BROWNELL & CARRGER - observational - 30mo collaberate, joint goals, adjusting behaviour.

LITTLETON et al - mutual awareness of behaviour increase with age, working jointly is benefit for later life.

VASS - giggles & jokes = play, can be used in school task, later applied to work.

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Limitations of Psychologists' Accounts of Peer & S

  • Focused on face-face. No allowance for email/mobile phone.
  • Western culture, cultural variation in child-parent time
  • Focused on child accounts, some reasearchers think children should carry out own reasearch.
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Other Themes


  • Social context major theme


  • Limitations of transcripts also self-report, observation & discourse analysis.


  • Gender-typed interaction also liked to gender development.


  • Cross-cultural differences in socio-dramatic and fantasy play.  STONE's anticipatory socialistaion device.
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