Psychological Development Across the Lifespan

School Age Children (6–11)

Why are rules so important at this age?

Cognitively, academically, and socially, school-age children are trying to master the way that things are supposed to be. Children can now understand the concept of impersonal rules that all people have to follow regardless of their preferences. In effect, school-age children have an understanding of the social contract. They are also learning the rules of their new skills, how to read, write, and add and subtract numbers. Thus, the desire for stable and predictable rules is a central characteristic of school-age children. This emphasis on rules shows up in their play, in their attraction to board games, video games, and clapping games. It shows up in their rule-based morality (“Ooh! You said ‘stupid’! You’re not supposed to say ‘stupid’!”) and their great sensitivity to perceived unfairness (“That’s not fair! He went first last time!”).


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Psychology Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App