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the child's cognitive representation of self, the substance and content of the child's self-conceptions


moral development

development that involves thoughts, feelings, and behaviors regarding rules and conventions about what people should do in their interactions with other people


heteronomous morality

the first stage of moral development in Piaget's theory, occurring from approximately 4 to 7 years of age; justice and rules are conceived as unchangeable properties of the world, removed from the control of people


autonomous morality

in Piaget's theory, older children (about 10 years of age) become aware that rules and laws are created by people and that in judging an action should consider the actor's intentions as well as the consequences


immanent justice

the concept that if a rule is broken, punishment will be meted out immediately



an internal regulation of standards of right and wrong that involves integrating moral thought, feeling, and behavior


gender identity

the sense of being male or female, which most children acquire by the time they are 3 years old


gender role

a set of expectations that prescribes how females or males should think, act, and feel


gender typing

acquisition of a traditional masculine or feminine role


social role theory

a theory that gender differences result from the contrasting roles of men and women


psychoanalytic theory of gender

a theory deriving from Freud's view that the preschool child develops a sexual attraction to the opposite-sex parent, by approximately 5 or 6 years of age renounces this attraction because of anxious feelings, and subsequently identifies with the same-sex parent, unconsciously adopting the same-sex parent's characteristics


social cognitive theory of gender

a theory emphasizing that children's gender development occurs through the observation and imitation of gender behavior and through the rewards and punishments children experience for gender-appropriate and gender-innapropriate behavior


gender schema theory

the theory that gender typing emerges as children develop gender schemas of their culture's gender-appropriate and gender-inappropriate behavior


authoritarian parenting

a restrictive, punitive style in which parents exhort the child to follow their directions and to respect their work and effort; places firm limits and controls on the child and allows little verbal exchange; associated with children's social incompetence


authoritative parenting

a parenting style in which parents encourage their children to be independent but still place limits and controls on their actions; extensive verbal give-and-take is allowed, and parents are warm and nurturing toward the child; associated with children's social competence


neglectful parenting

a style of parenting in which the parent is uninvolved in the child's life; it is associated with children's social incompetence, especially a lack of self-control


indulgent parenting

a style of parenting in which parents are highly involved with their children but place few demands or controls on them; is associated with children's social incompetence, especially a lack of self-control



support parents provide for each other in jointly raising their children


sensorimotor play

behavior engaged in by infants that lets them derive pleasure from exercising their existing sensorimotor schemas


practice play

play that involves repetition of behavior when new skills are being learned or when physical or mental mastery and coordination of skills are required for games or sports


pretense/symbolic play

play in which the child transforms the physical environment into a symbol


social play

play that involves social interactions with peers


constructive play

play that combines sensorimotor and repetitive activity with symbolic representation of ideas; occurs when children engage in self-regulated creation or construction of a product or solution



activities engaged in for pleasure that include rules and often competition with one or more individuals