Social Impact on Child Development Paper Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1372 Words
Date:  2022-09-26


Child development refers to "the biological and psychological, and emotional changes that occur in humans between birth and the end of adolescence, as the child progresses from dependency to increasing autonomy" (Lightfoot, Cole, & Cole, 2018). What is considered normal varies from one society to another, and this plays an important role in a child's development. The environment and the society impacts on everything from the style of parenting and developmental milestones to the kind of hardships one is likely to experience. Child development is an interactive and dynamic process. Every child interacts with the world around them differently and what they invoke and receive from their environment and other people shapes their behaviour and their thinking. Children growing up in different environments receive specific input from their environment thus the difference in children's belief and behaviour. This paper analyses the social impact on a child's development.

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Physical Environment

A child's health and development is affected by the physical environment. Poor physical environment characterised by lack of facilities and litter and lack of open space are associated with poor health. For instance, social environments with affordable houses are associated with residential stability and low levels of poverty which affect the social relationships that a child forms and their health (Smith, Cowie, & Blades, 2015). Children that change their environment frequently find it hard to develop supportive social relationship and are more likely to underperform in school. Availability of quality and good education facilities is very important due to the important role that childhood education plays in child development. Marginalised groups are less likely to access these services. Failure to attend early childhood education has been associated with risk of maltreatment during childhood.

Another aspect of the physical environment that affects a children development is the availability of employment opportunities within the society. When parents work nearby, they are likely to travel less and experience less stress and presumably spend more time with families. Lacks of family time and work related stress have a negative impact on individual and family relationships including the relationships between the parents and their children. Therefore working nearby can improve these relationships and eventually development and health of a child. There is also evidence that links child maltreatment with housing and working locally. Where job opportunities and housing are readily available, children are less likely to be maltreated.

Cultural Environment

Cultural differences play a vital role in shaping thinking patterns and behaviour in young children. Children are prepared to interact with the society by their parents. The interaction with the parents acts as the archetype of how they behave around other people. Children learn a certain social cultural rules taboos and expectations from their parents. For example, children develop a conversation style that resembles that of their parents that often depends on the culture (Smith, Cowie, & Blades, 2015). A child social behaviour is also influenced by the cultural differences in interaction between children and adults. For instance, in Asian culture where parents are authoritative demand obedience from their children. Children growing in this kind of environment are more likely to obey their parents order even if they are unwilling to do so. In contrast Asian children growing up in western world, where parents interaction with their children tend to be reciprocal, taking turn in communication, behave more similar to the western children and are less likely to follow the demand of their parents (Musa, 2016).


Language is the most important tool that one acquires. Language is very important for effective, clear communication and interactions. According to Smith, Cowie, and Blades (2015), children cannot understand or learn to speak a language from televisions or listening to radios alone. There must be a direct communication with an engaging person. Language not only helps a child chatter, it also helps them understand and manage emotions. Furthermore, it helps the child forge an important bond with caregivers and their families. Musa (2016), argues that the ability to analyse ideas depends on language which in turn becomes a building block for decision making, solving problems and critical thinking. It is through language that children make sense of experience and the world around them. Moreover, language is the foundation of almost all learning whether social skills, physical achievement, factual learning or moral development. Although children do not learn language at the same pace, they all go through predictable stages of development. Language and brain development are positively related. As they grasp language their neural pathways become more detailed. Better learners are natured through building language skills.

Cognitive Development and Education Attainment

The social environment affects cognitive development and a child's education attainment. Children engaged in good social relationship have better academic performance then those who do not. Young children living in socially unstable environments are more likely to miss school and perform poorly in academics. Moreover, those living in low social-economic environments are less likely to complete their education (Smith, Cowie, & Blades, 2015). Early childhood education is very important in child development, this is the stage where children develop social relationships with the teachers and other children therefore, develop pro-social behaviour which has profound impact on academic performance. According to Musa (2016), kids who join preschool have better academic performance than those who do not. Evidence shows that the social environment influence a child's cognitive development even if a child moves to a better environment. For instance, children living in disadvantaged environment record poor academic performance and experience reduced cognitive development even if they more move to well-off environment. Furthermore, there is also an intergeneration effect. If the parents lived in a disadvantaged environment, their children are more likely to experience impaired cognitive development, even if the children grew up in a well-off environment.

Social Relationships

The sense of belonging has a positive effect on mental health. Sense of belonging is experienced in a good social environment. Children that have good social relationships have good self-esteem and the chances of developing mental problems like anxiety and depression are slim. Pro social behaviour in children also leads to better psychological health in adulthood. A child's health is affected by the social environment by influencing their parent's behaviour. For instance, According to a study conducted in Australia, parents living in communities where service and resources are not readily available are more likely to be hostile to their children than those parents living in areas where the services are available. Hostile parenting techniques have negative effect on a child psychological health. In addition to mental health social environment also affects the physical health of a child. Parent should encourage their children to develop social relationships through play. Through Play, children can develop social skills and acquire the abilities they need to form relationships.

Community Resources

Child development is affect by the resources within their environment. This includes doctors, teachers and other adults that help fulfil the parenting role. Cohesion amongst society members influences the relationship between the child and the community resources. A highly cohesive society characterised with presence of community activism and organisations provide better opportunities for children become involved in and develop the resources in their society. Smith, Cowie and Blades (2015), found that American children living in communities characterised by hardships are more likely to experience negative social relationship than those living in communities without the above characteristics. Societal norms and rules can also impact on a child's development. For instance, some countries like Australia are adopting laws that prohibit smoking near children. Such rules increase the ability of a society to protect the health of their children.


As pointed out earlier, different children develop at a different own pace but it is clear that the impact that the society has on their development is considerable because it might affect how fast a child reaches different development milestone. The research on this issue is still sufficient to make a conclusion. Knowledge on the differences in culture can help to understand what is common among all children.


Lightfoot, C., Cole, M., & Cole, S. R. (2018). The Development of Children. New York: Worth Publishers.

Musa, Y. U. (2016). Understand the factors that influence children and young people's development and how these affect practice. BookRix.

Smith, P. K., Cowie, H., & Blades, M. (2015). Understanding Children's Development. Chichester : John Wiley & Sons.

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