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Little Children's Participation in the Work of Adults, a Nascent Prosocial Behavior
Harriet L. Rheingold
Vol. 53, No. 1 (Feb., 1982), pp. 114-125
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129643
Page Count: 12
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2 studies explored the possibility that a set of behaviors that could be characterized as helping would be exhibited by young children. In a laboratory setting that simulated a home, parents and other adults were asked to perform some common household chores, and the children's participation was recorded. In the first study, 24-month-old children were studied with their mothers and female adults; in the second, children at 18, 24, and 30 months of age were studied with their mothers or fathers and with male or female persons. In both studies the children spontaneously and promptly assisted the adults in a majority of the tasks they performed. Furthermore, the children accompanied their assistance by relevant verbalizations and by evidence that they knew the goals of the tasks, even adding appropriate behaviors not modeled by the adults. Their efforts were construed as pro-social not only because they contributed to the completion of the tasks but also because the children showed an awareness of themselves as actors working with others to a common end.
Child Development © 1982 Society for Research in Child Development