In This Chapter

Friendship Interaction Skills Across the Life Span

Authored by: Wendy Samter

Handbook of Communication and Social Interaction Skills

Print publication date:  January  2003
Online publication date:  February  2003

Print ISBN: 9780805834178
eBook ISBN: 9781410607133
Adobe ISBN: 9781135664114


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By the early part of the second year of life, children begin to direct markedly social behaviors toward one another (Brownell & Carriger, 1990; Ross & Lollis, 1987). These behaviors soon become increasingly complex and organized. At first, a toddler might simply look and smile at a peer; next he or she might look, smile, vocalize, and wave a toy, all at the same time. Relatively quickly, such actions are combined to form complex routines that contain all of the basic features of adult interaction. By age two-and-a-half, children can signal interest in one another, exchange roles, sustain a common focus in play, and make repeated efforts to gain each other’s attention (Haslett, 1983; Rubin, 1980). It is through such primitive “conversation” that youngsters develop specialized patterns of interaction leading to their earliest friendships. By age 4, children actually begin to use the word friend to distinguish between familiar and nonfamiliar peers (Hartup, 1983).

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