Spaces Of Social Relations And Risks In The Childrens Personal Development


The article deals with a differentiated cultural and historical analysis of the development of a child in terms of the stratification of modern Russian society. On the basis of empirical data, an objective socio-cultural situation of the development of children in Moscow is compared. The children from 5.5 to7 years old from the middle-upper and middle-lower social strata are taken. In this work, we move from the analysis of a wider cultural and historical situation of the development of a modern child to a narrower socio-cultural environment then we proceed to a specific family and description of individual cases. The second level of analysis is the inner plan for the development of a child, especially his self-awareness. Based on the nature of the parental attitude, characteristics of education, specifics of complaints, observation data and projective products, a typology of risk-taking options for the development of the personality of children from various socio-cultural groups was created. In each of the groups, the specificity of emotional-personal developmental variants was highlighted; the subtypes with the highest risk of deviations were identified. The results make it possible to structure and classify different variants of the deviating development of modern children from the groups studied, to trace mechanisms of deviation formation at different levels, from a particular family to a wider social reality.

Keywords: Psychological health of the child; social situation of developmentpreschool educationemotional and personal developmentof the childchildren in various sociо-cultural groups


Modern developmental psychology emphasizes the need to take into account the historicity of childhood, culturally and socially determined traditions of upbringing and the whole social order of life (Elkonin, 1989; Cohn, 2003), taking into account the functioning of various social contexts of development, “development niches”, eco-cultural formations (Karabanova, 2007). In the field of special attention, research of development and its deviating options appear in the context of transformations of the current socio-cultural situation in Russia (Karabanova, 2010; Smirnova, 2015; Martsinkovskaya, 2015).

In recent years, having overcome the systemic crisis of the 1990s, Russia is entering a period of relative economic and social stability. At the same time, there is a certain increase in the stratification of modern society and a problem of consolidating public views connected with it (Gorshkov & Tikhonova, 2013). Now there are about 10 social strata existing in the society. Each of them has its own stable separate interests, level and quality of life. About 41% are representatives of relatively prosperous segments of the population, strata from 5th to 8th represent the middle level, representatives of the 9th and 10th, by the standards upper middle class (6-8%) (Gorshkov, 2009) of public opinion, can be called rich, although objectively they belong to the high middle class.

Qualitative changes in the cultural and historical perspective, as a phenomenon of childhood itself, are taking place now (Mayorova-Shcheglova et al., 2017; Feldshtein, 2012). So, is the attitude to it in a modern stratified society: the nature of the values of parents, the vision of the future and “the project of your child” (Burlakova & Davidovich, 2017, 2018).

Each of the socio-cultural groups has its own system of values, peculiarities of socialization and emotional-personal formation of the child. The differences can be revealed not only at the level of their external manifestations, but also in the mechanisms themselves (Burlakova & Oleshkevich, 2018). The study was based on the methodology of high-quality cultural and historical research, continuing the development of the ideas of Vygotsky (1980), taking into account the realities of modern life in the framework of cultural-historical clinical psychology (Burlakova & Oleshkevich, 2012; Burlakova & Bykova, 2015; Burlakova, 2016).

Problem Statement

The issue of work sends us to such disciplines as sociology, cultural studies, psychohistory, in the context of which an analysis of the socio-cultural phenomenon of childhood takes place, which makes it possible to speak of the dynamics and peculiarities of its transformations today in modern Russia. This cultural-historical study was carried out at the intersection of developmental, clinical, and pedagogical psychology, as well as family psychology.

Research Questions

The research issues include:

  • What are the objective characteristics of socio-cultural groups and social formations of a modern stratified society, to which the families under study, from the middle-upper and middle-lower social stratum, belong;

  • What are the features of the studied families: a description of the resources available (material, social, parents' self-determination) living conditions, leading values, parental expectations and “child in the future” projects, as well as their reflection in the child’s upbringing;

  • What are the psychological and pedagogical technologies that are used to organize the development of a child in preschool institutions in the groups under study (Private Children's Centre; Centre of Social Assistance to Families and Children.);

  • What are the features of the development of children from the groups under study with an emphasis on normative and risky positions: specific interests, the nature and quality of the relationship of a child and an adult and other children; the reflection of the studied characteristics at the level of the child’s self-awareness.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the research paper is to carry out a comparative cultural-historical analysis of the development of children from families of the middle-upper and middle-lower social stratum with the compilation of a typology of different variants of emotional and personal development of children


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Research Methods

In this work, we move from the analysis of a wider cultural and historical situation of the development of a modern child to a narrower socio-cultural environment then we proceed to a specific family and description of individual cases. The second level of analysis is the inner plan for the development of a child, especially his self-awareness. Then, on the basis of the data obtained at different levels, we have compiled a typology of different variants of the emotional and personal development of modern children from various socio-cultural groups.

The first stage of the research: Objective description of the cultural and historical environment of the development of a child from families with different social status.

  • Method of the included and not included supervision over children;

  • Analysis of complaints of parents and teachers with the subsequent reconstruction of the type of relations underlying them;

  • Analysis of the pedagogical technologies (Burlakova & Bykova, 2015);

The second phase of the study: Appeal to the inner plan of the child, an analysis of the development of children's self-consciousness and its deviations.

  • Children's Apperception Test C. and L. Bellak (structural and phenomenological analysis);

  • Рrojective drawings.


On the basis of the data obtained, a comparative cultural-historical analysis of the emotional-personal characteristics of the children in the groups studied was carried out, followed by the identification of deviating types of development.

Data of the included and not included supervision over children of various social status

Establishing a contact

The initial establishment of contact (with a psychologist) is different in quality for children from the studied groups. Children from the first group 2 (medium-upper social stratum) quickly establish personal interaction, reducing the distance; diffusion of social boundaries manifests itself when communicating with an adult. Children from group 1 (medium-lower social stratum) demonstrate different variations of anxiety, the most typical are forms of mild excitement (16 children, 46%); however, there are also desires to minimize contact (4 children, 11%), variants of emotional stupor (3 children, 9%).

Adaptation to the institution, understanding the rules

Children from group 1 are included in the checking system of rules of the Center for Social Assistance to the Family and Children, in the absence of adaptation to it, they are transferred to another department or the possibility of visiting the Сenter is completely excluded. Children from group 2 are embedded in a more labile system, where greater freedom is given to the child, and safety issues are solved by increasing staff in the private development Сenter (10%).

. Behaviour in the classroom, social communication, self-control

In group 1, there is a strict external control of the teacher over compliance with the rules in the classroom; the child can be driven out of the classroom. This line contributes to the internalization of the basic rules necessary for subsequent adaptation to the behaviour in the classroom. However, children from the risk group (children with hyperactivity, autistic traits, 4 children, 12%) spend most of the time out of the classroom. The Center for Early Development has a more liberal pedagogical strategy. External rules are worse assimilated by children, there are situations when a child can stand up, interrupt another, and even a teacher.

Comparison of the child's evolving relationship with adults and with peers

In group 2, there is a tendency to reduce the authority of an adult and a lack of a hierarchy of “adult-child” (58% of children). There is a tendency that children easily establish contact and interact with adults (68%), rather than with their peers. In group 1, children can easily find a common language with each other, integrate into a system of social relations with peers and build interaction with an adult with great difficulty.

Features of sex role identification

For group 2, there is a tendency of special super-volubility of the appearance of things, this is manifested both in clothes and accessories and in toys (74%; 13 G, 8 B). The feminine tendency to show their new clothes and accessories is passed on to the boys, who deliberately demonstrate their new cool T-shirts, sneakers, superhero costumes to the whole group (8 B). In group 1 there is a reverse shift of enthusiasm for girls of various kinds of active games for boys, while the appearance of things is given much less importance (59%, 10 G).

Spontaneous performances of children (spontaneous drawings, fantasy stories, spontaneous play, role-playing plot)

There is a tendency for easier production of spontaneous drawings, fantasy, free play for group 2, in comparison with group 1 for which the situation of lack of rules and requirements for a task causes frustration and rigidity.

Description of emotional manifestations (aggressive reactions, objects of concentration, fears, conflict situations)

The situation studied in group 1 demonstrates a wide range of emerging social fears - the fear of failure is very pronounced (37%), the refusal to perform in a situation of frustration, there are also different variants of anxious reactions (54%). Children from group 2, under examination, demonstrate narcissistic, hysteric response options (52%). In group 2, aggressive reactions are demonstrated more openly in a conflict situation, there are often fights between boys, children from the group1 do not fight so often and show their aggressive impulses indirectly.

According to the results of a long-term observation, a semi-structured interview with parents, teachers and psychologists, a number of features and difficulties of children are found characteristic for each of the socio-cultural groups. For a group of medium-low social status, these are: anxiety, over-control in a regulated situation, aggressive outbursts outside classes, manifestations of rigidity, special focus on a reputable adult, collectivism and primary manifestations of bullying among children. For a group of medium-high social status - pamperedness, narcissism, difficulty in complying with the rules, an orientation towards indulging adults-, self-centeredness, individualism, difficulties in building the boundaries of "one's own-another's."

The specifics of the socio-cultural situation in relation to the situation of a child, with the release of emotional and personal characteristics of the development of children

In the work with them, the genesis of the family, its structure, special features of the relationship t with the child were examined, the observation materials were summarized, and the difficulties in the development of children were studied with CAT materials. Then the cases studied were reduced to typology, creating subgroups, conclusions on the deviating development of a child, the observed risk positions were drawn.

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In each of the selected types we can see the pathological variants of the emotional and personal development of the child. Due to the limited size of the article, we emphasize one of the most pointed options in the conditions of this age. Such development options are pointed out in the first type in both groups, where similar mechanisms work in different social development situations: authoritarian, tough strategy, as a way of adaptation to the socio-economic living conditions of the family (group 1); аn authoritarian, tough nanny, as an alternative educational strategy (group 2). In both groups in the social environment there is a tough, authoritarian educational strategy combined with connivance and emotional coldness. Thus, we can see how pathological variants of children's development are formed in favorable conditions of high-resource social layers along with low-resource layers.


The cultural-historical research makes it possible to specifically and concretely see the normative in the development and areas of possible risk of the сhild's personality development in the conditions of different socio-cultural groups of the Megapolis. We see that each group has its own cultural and normative “matrix” (Burlakova & Oleshkevich, 2018), which creates the basis for the child’s identification, formation of his self-awareness and is manifested at the behavioral level. This allows us to see the very mechanisms of the formation of the deviating development of the modern child. Such an understanding of pathology is of great practical and clinical importance; this type of research is directly linked to the practice of early prevention of deviating developmental options and their social and psychological correction.


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14 July 2019

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Psychology, educational psychology, counseling psychology

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Davidovich, P. S., & Burlakova*, N. S. (2019). Spaces Of Social Relations And Risks In The Childrens Personal Development. In T. Martsinkovskaya, & V. R. Orestova (Eds.), Psychology of Subculture: Phenomenology and Contemporary Tendencies of Development, vol 64. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 88-96). Future Academy.