Raising Your Child's Inner Self-Esteem: The Authoritative Guide from Infancy through the Teen Years

By Karen Owens | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Developing
Inner Self-Esteem during
Early Childhood

Curious and Inquisitive Preschoolers

Two rich rewards of parenting in early childhood are the opportunity to view the world through the eyes of one's child and to be childlike (experiencing a renewed freshness with life). Children between the ages of 2 and 5 years are curious and inquisitive little souls; they have so much to learn and most don't waste any time in learning as much about their world as they can. Preschoolers have limitless energy -- they get over, under, in, around, and through everything imaginable.

Children branch out socially as they learn to adapt to ever-widening social networks. Children become more involved with their peers. While they may initially play in a solitary fashion (playing alone with toys other than those used by peers) or engage in onlooker play (watching other children play), by the end of this period they interact cooperatively with other children in play situations. With their increased language abilities, preschoolers interact with others verbally rather than with objects. True give-and-take behavior begins. Many preschoolers have special friends, although these friends tend to change rather quickly.

In early childhood, most social exchanges occur in the setting of play, which generally involves engaging in a nonserious activity for the sheer satisfaction it brings. Most children spend countless hours at play, reveling in being silly and gleeful. According to preschoolers, friends are people who are "nice"; those who are "mean" are not friends. Trust is limited to faith in a friend's ability to play with the child's toys without breaking them. Children in early childhood begin to show pronounced gender-specific behavior. Boys tend to exhibit more independent and assertive behaviors; girls tend to be more passive and cooperative.

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