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Communication Begins with Children

A Lifespan Communication Sourcebook


Edited By Thomas J. Socha and Narissra Maria Punyanunt-Carter

Communication Begins with Children: A Lifespan Communication Sourcebook seeks to transform the field of communication, arguing that the field must stop neglecting and segregating children and instead adopt an age-inclusive lifespan approach that fully includes and fully considers children in all communication theorizing, research, and education from infancy and throughout the human lifespan. One-size-fits-all, adult-centric communication theorizing, researching, and educating is inadequate and harms the communication field’s potential as a social force for positive change for all communicators. The volume contains four sections (Foundations, Relational Communication Development, Digital Communication Development, and Navigating Developmental Communication Challenges) that showcase state-of-the-art chapters about the history of children’s relational and digital communication studies, methods used to study children’s communication, media literacy development, communication and children’s health, and much more. A must read for all communication researchers, educators, and students and an important addition to advanced and graduate level human and digital communication courses.

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5. Socio-emotional Development in Childhood and Adolescence Through Communication: An Overview: MALINDA J. COLWELL, ELIZABETH TREJOS-CASTILLO


Through Communication: An Overview


Texas Tech University


Texas Tech University

This chapter critically examines context and relationships for developmentally appropriate communication from early childhood through adolescence. The main focus of the chapter is how communication and relationships are linked from a developmental perspective. Primacy is given to the complex issue of whether relationship quality, messages communicated, or a combination of both are most influential for positive development from early childhood through adolescence. Communication is considered as a platform for expression of emotional and social needs and relationship building by discussing theoretical underpinnings from relevant developmental theories (e.g., Attachment, Self-Regulation, Socio-Cultural). We also explore communication skills and needs (verbal/non-verbal) developmentally from childhood to adolescence. A critical review of the quality and depth of communication from childhood to adolescence and recommendations for improving communication as a positive coping/life skill for supporting children and adolescent positive development also are discussed.

Theoretical Underpinnings

In this section, three theoretical frameworks that have been used to study children are examined. We then review the strengths and limitations of each as ways to study children’s communication development. The theoretical ←99 | 100→frameworks examined in this section emphasize critical aspects of development: relationship with caregiver, ability to self-regulate, and influence of culture. The theories are presented to highlight developmental influences throughout childhood.

Attachment Theory. Beginning in infancy, a child’s first communications are to indicate and...

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