Synopses & Reviews
What do young children, as they grow from infancy to childhood, understand of others and of their social world? How does this understanding change, and what influences its development?
The Beginnings of Social Understanding draws on detailed studies of children within their families - their disputes with mother and siblings, their empathy and cooperation, their `pretend' stories and questions about others, and their `jokes' - to show vividly how children come to understand the social rules of the family and the feelings, intentions and relationships of others.
Illustrating this case with the words of the children themselves, Judy Dunn argues that self-interest is an important force in their social development and that children's emotional experiences and their moral discourse of the family contribute crucially to their growing understanding of their social world.
"Judy Dunn had given us a remarkable account of the social sensitivities of very young children. Her observations add up to a compelling case that children have a subtle and far reaching understanding of other people's feelings and intentions and of the dynamics of family interactions." Peter Bryant, University of Oxford "Her argument is sure to provoke debate, not least because it gives a rounded picture of pre-school children. They can be sensitive but also selfish, altruistic but also demanding, and that comes through in this fascinating book." Dr Paul L Harris, University of Oxford "Dunn has written this book with great clarity and persuasiveness, and many parts are very interesting to read. It will be both useful to the professional psychologist, and of interest to any parent who wants to understand more about what their child may understand about them." Times Higher Education Supplement
Judy Dunn's previous books include `Mother Care, Other Care' (Penguin), `Sisters and Brothers' and `Distress and Comfort' (Fontana). Not for sale in USA, Canada, Central and South America.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction. 2. Confronting the Mother. 3. Confronting the Sibling. 4. Understanding, Self-Interest and Family Relationships. 5. Benevolent Babies?. 6. Cooperation between Siblings. 7. Talking About Others: Questions, Interventions and Narrative. 8. Jokes. 9. Implications.