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Your 7-Year-Old Child: Social Development

The wonderful social development and connections of your 7-year-old

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Your 7-Year-Old Child: Social Development

Many seven-year-old children have one or two close friends with whom they share common interests and hobbies.

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Seven-year-old children will enjoy friendships, and may be particularly close to one or a few buddies. Seven-year-olds will care more about other people’s reactions and opinions, which may make them more susceptible to peer pressure. They will develop more empathy, as well as a strong sense of right and wrong and fairness.

Friends
As 7-year-olds grow up and expand their social horizons, they often naturally become attached to other adults besides their parents, such as a teacher, an uncle, or even a friend’s parent.

They may have developed closed friendships in kindergarten or even earlier. But for 7-year-olds, attachments to other people both peers and older adults can become richer and more rewarding as they share interests, hobbies, and play games and sports together.

Seven-year-olds may want to increasingly play only with children of their own gender. In some cases, this may be a natural function of simply having different interests; in others, it may be the result of peer pressure (boys asking a boy why he would play with a girl, for instance). Parents can encourage children to continue to play with a friend who may be a different gender if their 7-year-old truly likes that child; this can be an opportunity to talk about peer pressure and the importance of doing things that others might not agree with if it feels right for them.

Morals and Rules
Your 7-year-old is developing a strong sense of right and wrong, and is more likely to feel guilt and shame. Seven-year-old children may "tell" on others who they think are cheating, and may be quite vocal and emphatic about fairness and justice.

Giving, Sharing and Empathy
At school, your 7-year-old is developing an understanding about the vastness of the world and the meaning of community and neighborhood. He has most likely learned about how to be a good member of his class by sharing, helping each other, waiting for his turn, participating in class activities, and so on.

He is also more likely to be able to understand other people’s actions and feelings, although it is natural for a 7-year-old to still be self-centered at times. Seven-year-olds are more able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and work through conflict, although scuffles and hurt feelings can still break out among 7-year-old children.

This can be an excellent age to teach your child about what it means to be a good citizen of the world. You can talk about how to be charitable or ways you can help the environment. And while 7-year-olds are naturally developing empathy for others, you can help nurture his emotional intelligence. Set a good example, ask your child questions such as “how would you feel?” and work together to help those who are in need or less fortunate.

More About Your Seven-Year-Old Child's Development

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