chapter  3
10 Pages

Children's Prosocial Behaviour

Prosocial behaviours may be uncontroversially defined as those behaviours in which an individual uses his or her own resources to achieve positive outcomes for someone else. We might agree that helping is a good example of such behaviour. However, such apparent consensus becomes less certain when we remember that, although helping behaviour may attract support in principle, it can, in certain contexts, receive more negative interpretations such as conformity ('he's only trying to fit in, to be accepted') or attention-seeking ('she's only doing that because we are watching'). As with helping, so too our interpretations of other apparently prosocial behaviours can differ, and different interpretations, of course, lead to different responses. The feedback, approval or disapproval, that children receive in relation to their social behaviours will therefore depend upon the respondent's interpretation of that behaviour.