Cultural Differences in the Development of Children

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Culture plays a large role in the way children form their opinions and ideas. Physical development like the main milestones of infant and childhood growth are similar. The differences come in the values of the culture and developments in morality and beliefs. Some values in various cultures are the same or similar, such as the idea that lying is wrong, but the culture can alter the idea of when lying is wrong. The differences in the cultures are as numerous as the similarities and while they might have a similar end result, the way a child develops to get to the end result differs.

Moral Development

  • Moral developments are among the types of developments where children will differ by culture. The morals of one country do not always match up to the morals of another country. For example, in the United States, nearly one out of five children is bullied by his peers, according to Ashley Jay, a social work student at Providence College. Comparatively, in China less than 15 percent of children are bullied. The morality of the country differs because one country is an individualistic society where the good of the individual is considered above the good of the country while the other country differs in that area.

Social Skills Development

  • The development of social skills varies by country and the culture. In countries with a more individualistic culture, such as the United States, children's social skills are considered a priority from a young age. Children are put into schools while still very young and money is spent on programs to help socialize the children. In countries with a more collectivist society, less emphasis is put on the social skills development from a young age as the country focuses on other areas of education.

Modesty Development

  • Modesty is perhaps one of the most obvious developmental differences between cultures around the world. What a country views as "modest" and what it views as inappropriate vary. For example, in some countries modesty development would require complete body coverage while other cultures have less physical modesty. Another developmental area of modesty relates to the way children express their accomplishments. For example, in China a child might lie about his successes by modestly downplaying it to something less while in Canada and the United States the child would boast about the successes.

Selfishness vs. Selflessness

  • The development of selfishness and selflessness vary in children around the world. Children who grow up in a collectivist society where they are taught from a young age to help each other and work together, such as children in China, show more selfless traits like sharing toys without prompting while children from individualistic societies like the United States typically show selfishness instead. The development of caring for others and helping others to reach a final goal differs by culture depending on the way children are taught to think of others.

References

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