Social, Behavioral and Developmental Challenges

Updated May 6, 2022

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Social, Behavioral and Developmental Challenges essay

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As an elementary age child begins to learn about this world, they will also learn about themselves and who they are socially as an individual. They will begin to realize where they can push their limits and what is right and wrong when pushing the limits they have found. Trying to find these limits without help or little help can lead to challenges in a child’s social/behavioral development as they continue to grow. Negative development of a child can lead to misbehavior towards adults and other children; leaving an impact on everyone they come across. At this time in a child’s life, not only will their behavior affect them as they become older, but it will also affect the other children’s development around them.

Article Chosen

The journal article chosen is “A Comparison of Students With Behavior Challenges Educated in Suburban and Rural Settings: Academic, Social, and Behavioral Outcomes” by Kathleen Lynne Lane, Annette Little, Holly Menzies, Warren Lambert, and Joseph Wehby (2010). Developmental challenges during the children’s transitions into elementary schools in rural and suburban areas were the focus of the article, as well as how the children may be affected by the way they were treated within their culture and homes before the children were school age. “A Comparison of Students With Behavior Challenges Educated in Suburban and Rural Settings: Academic, Social, and Behavioral Outcomes” demonstrates the way students from rural and suburban areas behave in a formal setting, like elementary school. The article also shows whether their behaviors affect the child’s grades in school. However, if the child is in a special education (SPED) program, the results may be drastically different due to classroom settings being different in comparison to regular classrooms for both rural and suburban schools. In addition, small factors like home-life are considered as a reasoning for children’s behaviors.

Best Practices

For the best practices the is an article named “Children’s intervention strategies in situations of victimization by bullying: Social cognitions of outsiders versus defenders”. The professionals recommend parents keep a close eye on the student’s feelings about going to different schools, receiving new teachers and their peers because every student requires a different type of environment in order to thrive and continue to show good behavior, as well as improve social skills (Pronk Et. Al, 2013). This article correlates to behavior challenges of a new student because of the student’s constant fear of not fitting in with the other children. Their need to fit in with other children also leads to different behavioral and social challenges, as explained by Pronk and other authors (2013). Also, self-efficiency is a significant factor for behavior problems. Bullying and inappropriate behavior as a child ages can be derived from low self-efficiency at the elementary age. Of course, for the students to thrive, educators need show students what is right through example. However, the teachers need show their students that when another is misbehaving to an extent that it is considering bullying, they need to tell them to stop. Not only will this help the other students gain better social/behavioral development but the student helping the other will develop positively as well. Elementary age is the time children are impressionable. It is an important time for the teachers to correct problems the child may have with behavior because it can easily be corrected while they are still developing their social and behavioral skills. Pronk and the other authors identify multiple methods to help children understand why bullying is wrong. However, Kathleen Lynne Lane and the other authors emphasize how children going into school can lead to situations like bullying at schools where the children may have learned different behaviors from one another (2013, 2010). Although, both articles agree that this age is very important in the child’s life to develop proper social and behavioral skills because children are most malleable while still holding the lessons learned at the elementary age.

Relevant Theorists

First Theorist

The first theory that is important when considering the social/ behavioral developmental challenge of elementary age children is Vgotsky. Vgotsky’s theory is social cultural theory. His theory is about dynamic interaction with people result in different outcomes. Cultures that surround a child as they grow will often affect how a child will be socially (Berger, 2015) This theory is important because a child becomes older and will experience different cultures compared to the other students. As the children enter school, they have their own behaviors that they learned from their cultures and family. Children from a rural area instead of an urban area have been exposed to various cultures (more than likely). Being raised and exposed to only certain cultures can affect the child’s behavior and social skills during their transition into school. The smallest changes in the rural and suburban areas as the children continued to grow can show through a child’s behavior. Of course, any child from any culture and area can misbehave, but the ways that the children do can vary.

Second Theorist

Another relevant theory is Skinner’s theory of behaviorism. Behaviorism is the study of observable behavior and the theories of habit and competencies (Berger, 2015). Skinner centers this theory on different ways behaviors are watched and then it is either disciplined or rewarded for the behavior. In particular areas, students may be treated differently when being disciplined in rural schools when compared to suburban schools. Just as discipline in the schools are different, rewards will be different in a rural school compared to suburban school as well. Rewards being different leads to different feelings from the rewards can change how a student sees their behavior. These small differences can change how the children, now becoming students, and students transferring schools behave during their transition. Small differences like discipline and award systems within different schools can affect how the children behave as they grow within the school systems.

Third Theorist

The last relevant theory is Erik Erickson’s theory of industry vs. inferiority stage of development (Berger, 2015). Children usually look for positive reinforcement when practicing new skills. Also, children search for encouragement while showing them to their peers. (Berger, 2015). At times, students demonstrate inappropriate behavior which leads to laughter and encouragement for the student to continue the use of the behavior. Due to the encouragement from their peers, the students often will continue in having developmental challenges on how to behave properly. The theory pertains to the article because if students from rural and suburban areas behave differently, then there can be developmental social/behavior challenges for students as they continue to grow separately and develop improper behavioral and social skills. When one student moves from one school setting to another, the difference in development may be shown and even change a significant amount as they transition from one school setting to another.

Current Research

134 kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students were observed and tested throughout 3 years during school time on their behavior and social skills. Student’s age, gender, IQ, ethnicity and how many schools the student has attended overall were taken into consideration when the students were assessed. (Lane, 2010). The researchers used assessments to observe how the students would do academically. These assessments were used to see if the student’s knowledge in school related things correlated with the student’s behavior. The amount of students in SPED programs in both rural and suburban schools were counted for as well as students who received free or reduced lunch. Less children needed free or reduced lunch in the suburban areas when compared to the rural areas. Also, SPED programs in the rural area had less students compared to the suburban area. These small differences change results of how the student developed socially and behaviorally when taking into consideration how students that need help with lunches often come from lower economic status than those who do not need them (Lane Et.al, 2010). Often the small differences with economic status in families show the slightest differences in culture and even disciplinary actions from parents.


In conclusion, the researchers discovered small differences behaviorally between the suburban and rural schools. The academics and how teachers discipline their students may have been different between the two schools but there was still little to no evidence of how the children’s behaviors affected their schooling as well as their development as a child and a student. Although, the researchers are continuing to believe that elementary age is a significant time in a person’s life and good behavior should be taught as the children continue to develop. As the child grows older, their development will be embedded into who they are as a person and any development made will become more difficult to change/adjust it. Parents and educators should know that during the elementary age, behavioral and social development can be a challenge to navigate but significant during this period in the child’s life. The researches may have not been able to show significant differences in student’s behavior, there were still minor ones that were able to be acknowledged and even the smallest behaviors in children can affect their development as well as the other’s around them.

Social, Behavioral and Developmental Challenges essay

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Social, Behavioral and Developmental Challenges. (2022, May 06). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/social-behavioral-and-developmental-challenges/


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