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Through a child's eyes: A child's perceptions of prosocial behaviors

1 December 1993


This paper researches the perceptions of children as they exhibit prosocial behaviors in the school environment. Prosocial behaviors are classified into three different categories: altruism, helpfulness, and kindness. I observed a first and second grade blend and a fifth grade classroom. My observations and interviews were analyzed using Freud's. Identification Internalization Theory. He stated that children identified with their parents because they were trying to gain the love of their parents or else they were trying to neutralize a threat. After the children identified with their parents, Freud claimed they internalized these behaviors. I observed and interviewed first, second, and fifth graders in the classroom after they had participated in a prosocial behavior. I found that these behaviors were exhibited for two main reasons. All of the children attributed their prosocial behaviors to their attempts to please other people or to attain external rewards. This paper isolates specific instances and analyzes how the children felt about what they had done.


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