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Erikson's term for a child's sense of independent purposefulness


Sense of being able to do things effectively on one's own

Instrumental dependency

Young child's normal/literal/physical need for adult help in solving complex problems or performing difficult tasks

Emotional dependency

Child's atypical need for continual reassurance & attention from adults

Effortful control

Ability to suppress strong behaviors


Children's ability to direct their own activities, to adjust behavior to fit situations & to exercise effortful control


Sense that the self endures despite temporary disruptions in relationships


Thoughts about the self

Sex-typed behavior

Actions that conform to cultural expectations about what is appropriate for boys & for girls

Gender-role concept

Knowledge of cultural stereotypes regarding males & females

Gender constancy

Understanding that gender is permanent despite superficial changes

Gender schema theory

Theory that children form a concept or schema of male & female characteristics, with the content of the schema based on their particular social learning histories

Emotional regulation

Capacities to control & direct emotional expression, to maintain organized behavior in the presence of strong emotions & to be guided by emotional experiences

Delay of gratification

Ability to forgo an immediate reward in favor of a better reward at a later time

Ego resiliency

Ability to modify self-restraint to adapt to changing circumstances; when the ego, or self, is showing the capacity to be flexible in its control over the expression of impulses & feelings


Negative acts intended to harm others or their possessions

Prosocial behavior

Positive feelings & acts directed toward others, with the intention of benefiting them

Instrumental aggression

Aggression used as a means to get something; ex) fighting over a toy

Hostile aggression

Aggression aimed solely at hurting someone else; ex) verbal insults


Ability to experience the emotions of another person


Acting unselfishly to aid someone else

Authoritative parenting

Parenting style in which the parents are nurturant, responsive & supportive, yet set firm limits for their children

Permissive parenting

Parenting style in which parents fail to set firm limits or to require appropriately mature behavior of their children

Authoritarian parenting

Parenting style in which parents are unresponsive, inflexible & harsh in controlling behavior


Process by which children strive to be like their parents in thoughts & feelings as well as in actions

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