Your Seven-Year-Old Child's Social Development

Seven-Year-Olds Are Ready to Explore Ethics and Friendship

Smiling girls drawing on computer in school
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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, wrong and fairness.

Friendships

As seven-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.

Children, this age may have developed close friendships in kindergarten or even earlier. But for seven-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.

It's also common for seven-year-olds to 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 other instances, it may be the result of peer pressure. Parents can encourage children to continue to play with a friend who may be a different gender if their seven-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 seven-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 concepts like fairness and justice.

Giving, Sharing, and Empathy

At school, your seven-year-old is developing an understanding of 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 seven-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 seven-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 seven-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.

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