Late Childhood


Late childhood extends, from the age of six years to the time when the individual becomes sexually mature. He is then called an “adolescent”. It is marked, at the beginning, by the child’s entrance in school. This is a milestone in his life and is responsible for the many of the changes that take place in his attitude and behaviour. During the last year or two of the childhood, there are marked physical changes taking place. These, like the environmental changes which occur when the child enters school, are responsible for changes in attitudes and behaviour. Although, it is possible to mark off the beginning of late childhood with a definite age because, in our culture, all children are required by law to begin school when they are six year old, it is impossible to determine as definitely the end of the period. Elizabeth. B. Hurlock (1968).

Radical changes, such as the change from the home environment to the school environment, would, logically, result in radical changes in the child’s attitude and behaviour. And because all children unless they are physically or mentally incapable, must attend school, the characteristic changes that occur in late childhood are almost universal in the American culture of today.

According to educator, late childhood is the “elementary school age”. It is the time when the child is expected to learn rudiment of knowledge that are considered essential for successful adjustment to adult life. It is also the time when certain skills are expected to be learnt both in the curriculum of the school and in the extracurricular activities provided by the school.
Elizabeth. B. Hurlock (1968).
Parents regard late childhood as the “smart” or “Big Injun” age- the time when the child thinks he knows everything and does not hesitate to inform others of his superior knowledge. This in turn makes him rebellious and antagonistic towards rules, and he demands more independence than his parents are willing to give him. Parents also regard late childhood as the “dirty age” because the children glories in being dirty, slovenly and careless in his appearance. To the psychologist, late childhood is the “gang age”. At this time, the major concern
of every normal boy or girl is to be accepted by his contemporaries and to be regarded as a member of a “gang”. This concern leads the older children to be conformist to the appearance, speech and behaviour approved by gang Elizabeth (1968).

No longer is the mastery of developmental tasks a sole responsibility of parents as it was during the preschools years. It now becomes the responsibility of parents as it was during the preschool years. It now becomes the responsibility also of his teachers and to a lesser extend members of the peer group. Elizabeth. B. Hurlock (1968).

Industry Versus Inferiority- Erikson’s fourth stage of development, Industry versus inferiority occurring approximately during the elementary school years.  At this time, children face the task of directing their energy to mastering knowledge and intellectual skills.  The danger at this stage is being unproductive and feeling incompetent.  Erikson believes that teachers have a special responsibility for children's development of industry.  He says that teachers should mildly but firmly guide children into the adventure of finding out that they can accomplish things they never would have fight of on their own.

The term industry expresses a dominant theme of this period: Children become interested in how things are made and how they work.  It is the Robinson Crusoe age, in that the enthusiasm and minute detail Crusoe uses to describe his activities appeal to the child's budding sense of industry.  When children are encouraged in their efforts to make, build, and work-whether building a model airplane, constructing a tree house, fixing a bicycle, solving an addition problem, or cooking-their sense of industry increases.  However, parents who see their children's efforts at making things as "mischief" or "making a mess" encourage children's development of a sense of inferiority.

Children's social worlds beyond their families also contribute to a sense of industry.  School becomes especially important in this regard.  Consider children who are slightly below average in intelligence.  They are too bright to be in special classes but not bright enough to be in gifted classes.  They fall frequently in their academic efforts, developing a sense of inferiority.  By contrast, consider children whose sense of industry is derogated at home.  A series of sensitive and committed teachers may revitalize their sense of industry (Elkind, 1970).

Learning is primarily the responsibility of the learner. If the child lacks the motivation to learn the developmental tasks of his age level and if he finds greater satisfaction from remaining on a lower level of development, teachers and peers can do little to help him achieve and behaviour patters considered appropriate for his age. Elizabeth (1968).

Late childhood is a homely age. Very pretty babies are young children go through this homely age just as do so who are not so attractive. The reasons for the unattractiveness of the older child’s appearance include the transition from baby teeth to permanent teeth: stringy, unmanageable hair which results from the transition from the fine-texture hair of the young child to the coarse-textured hair of the adolescent and poor grooming which comes from the child’s lack of
interest in his appearance and his revolt against cleanliness. Elizabeth (1968).

The skills the child learns will depend partly upon his environment, partly upon his opportunities for learning and partly upon what is in vogue among his classmates Breckenridge (1965).

What level of perfection children reach will depend not so much on opportunities they have for practice and the motivation they have to learn these skills, but rather on the guidance they are given while they are learning, especially when the foundations of the skills are being learnt. Ragsdale (1950).

In middle and late childhood, self-understanding increasingly shifts from defining oneself through external characteristics to defining oneself through internal characteristics.  Also, elementary-school-age children are more likely to define themselves  in terms of social characteristics and social comparisons

In middle and late childhood, children not only recognize differences between inner and outer states, but they are also more likely to include subjective inner states in their definition of self.  In one investigation, second-grade children were much more likely than younger children to name psychological characteristics (Such as preferences or personality traits) in then- self-definition and less likely, to name physical characteristics (such as eye color or possessions) (Aboud & Skerry, 1983).  For example, 8-vear-old includes in his self-description, "I am smart and I am Popular." Tell-year-old Tina says about herself, "I am pretty  about not worrying most of the time.  I used to lose my temper, but I'm better about that now.  I also feel proud when I do well in school." (In addition to the increase of psychological characteristics in self-definition during the elementary school years, the social aspects of the self also increase at this point in development.  In one investigation, elementary school children included to social groups in their self-definition (Livesly and Bromlye, 1973).  For example, some children referred to themselves as Girl Scouts, @is Catholics, or as someone who has two close friends.
There are times, during the late childhood, when the child experiences more frequent and more intense emotions that he does at others. Because these emotions tend to be unpleasant rather than pleasant, periods of heightened emotionality becomes period of disequilibrium- times when the child is out of focus and difficult to live and work with Ames, L.B., and F.L. iig: The development point of view with special reference to the principal of reciprocal neuromotor interweaving.

Adjustments to new situations are always upsetting for the child. Because every child must enter school at the age of six years, heightened emotionality is almost universal at this age. After the child becomes adjusted to school, heightened emotionality tends to subside. Even children who have attended nursery school and kindergarten experience same heightened emotionality until they become adjusted to the requirement of the first grade- requirements that usually differ markedly from those of nursery school and kindergarten. Jersild (1960).