Social Referencing

A parents social expressions to their infant or young child is an instrumental part of their upbringing .  If their child is in the park, for example, and they get hurt then the child will be looking to their parent to see how severely they should react.  According to a study done on social referencing, despite the event, the child will regulate their behavior according to their care giver’s facial expressions (Klinnert et al 86).  The facial expressions of a care giver to their child has always been and continues to be a major factor in the way they emotionally develop.

Social Referencing can be very subtle cues or major emotional events, it can be on a playground, in the home, in school, at the waterpark, and everywhere else.  The child is at a very vulnerable state when they are young, and with social referencing, their  parents help develop how they will feel later in their life in basic situations.  A parent who over-exagerates everything will most likely develop their child to be hyper-conscious about everything as an adult and a parent who does the opposite will develop their child to be less stressed and relaxed more of time.  There are many factors that go into the development of infants and children emotional states, according to a social referencing article, infants respond more immediately to negative parent communication then positive (Hornik et al 87).  The general consensus is that parents need to be conscientious of how they behave in front of their children and in all situation.  Children will respond to their care givers and with time, will adopt the social responses that their parents instill in them through social referencing.

Reuben Cousin


~ by reubencousin on October 14, 2009.

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