Non Social Instinctive tendencies of Preschool Child


Non Social Instinctive tendencies of Preschool Child

Article Content :
  1. Food Getting
  2. Avoiding
  3. Mastery
  4. Fighting
  5. Submission
  6. Collecting and Hording

Non Social Instinctive tendencies of Preschool Child

Non Social Instinctive tendencies of Preschool Child

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Food Getting

Food Getting is  one  of the  first  instincts  to  come  into  prominence  after birth.   The earliest manifestations are the  sucking movements of the mouth,  the  turning of the head in hunting for  food,  and various movements  of the mouth and throat to either take  in or expel  substances depending upon their desirability and the baby’s physical  state.

Within a few weeks the  little hands  reach for,  grasp and draw to the mouth for  sampling,  any substance which can be reached.  To suck the coverlet or his own hands seems to be extremely gratifying even to  the well fed baby  in many instances.

These instinctive  activities  are  soon involved in the  general tendency to bodily activity,  but the  interest  in food and the acquiring of the  same  remains prominent until  convention and other interests necessitates  its  sublimation.



The  responses which are spoken of as  instinctive avoiding reactions  are usually accompanied by the emotion of fear.

Fleeing, hiding,  dodging,  and cowering are  some  of the  forms  of response in situations which threaten injury. The reactions which are  reflexive  in nature such as winking,  spitting,  and sneezing appear very soon after birth while the more complex responses  come  only after motor-coordination has been developed to a degree.



The  child prefers to be master of his  surroundings. It  is pleasant  for him as  for the  adult  to  go about his play without  any interference  or obstruction.  Any  obstacle  in the path of his  freedom to do what  he  chooses,  whether  it be physical  obstruction or restrictions  laid down by authority,  are met  instinctively with vigorous resistance.   The infant who  reaches  for his  toy  and finds  it just  out  of reach does not turn peacefully to some other quarter for amusement, but stretches, tugs, kicks and squirms until he reaches it or exhausts himself in the attempt.   To dominate people and things is a native tendency known as the instinct of self-assertion or mastery.

The child is happiest when his playthings are in working order and when his playmates do and say as he dictates.   Even
the little fellow responds with enthusiasm when a definite task is set,for him to do and no satisfaction is more genuine than that experienced upon the realization that he has done a difficult thing.   The value of such an instinct in the educative process is obvious, though it is true that in many schools still every effort is made to crush the tendency.



Fighting is one of the strongest original tendencies possessed by the human race.   It is a secondary instinct in that it presupposes the presence of other instincts.  McDougall, Kirkpatrick, and Thorndike all agree that it is aroused when any other instinctive tendency is thwarted.”

The situations arousing the impulse to fight then may be as varied as there are instinctive responses yet they are always interferences with innate tendencies to act.   Fighting is especially akin to the impulses to master or overcame
obstructions.   “The pugnacious attack is simply the most violent form of the effort to overcome an obstruction in the path of one’s action, and inasmuch as it is the last resort,  it is a less frequent reaction.”

To the extreme pugnacious boy every other boy whom he has not beaten into submission is an obstruction to his claim on fistic superiority,  so that fighting becomes a mania with him.   Because of the difficulties into which fighting brings a boy and his parents and the ban put upon physical encounter by adult society, the instinct is thwarted by every conceivable device of parents.   The advisability of such crushing of this strong innate tendency is questione when such authorities  as McDougall contributes  such a part  to pugnacity as a force  in the  “evolution of social organization.”


From this  very  non-social tendency arise the most  noble  social  reactions. To  compel  a  child to inhibit  all pugnacious  tendencies when they are  first  strong,  because they manifest themselves  in the physical  level, means to leave him helpless and even indifferent when later on he  ought  to  take his  stand  for the  right.

If he has  never known what  it  means  to  suffer for the  sake  of winning some thing which he believed to be desirable, how can he be expected to sacrifice his  all  for the  sake  of the  greater good?   Through constant  and patient  vigilance  on the part  of teachers  and parents  the tendency needs  to be modified until pugnacity operates  only on the  spiritual  level.



Submission In direct  opposition to the  instincts  of mastery and fighting is the  innate tendency of submission.  It  is  not the  forced sub mission to  superior strength accompanied by shame,  anger or jealousy,  but  the truly willing,  satisfying submission accompanied by admiration,  awe,  reverence and devotion.

“Women in general  are  thus  by original nature  submissive  to men  in general.”

Submission arises  in response to  situations which are obviously beyond a person’s power to master.   The  child is  thus  submissive to the parent  as the  adult  is to public  opinion.


Collecting and Hording

Every child is  instinctively attracted toward objects which arrest his attention, to scrutinize them and if their size warrants,  to pick them up  and carry them away. Later he  finds  a convenient place where he deposits all treasures thus  appropriated,  and with him possession is “nine points of the law.”   At first this collecting and hoarding is  aimless  for valueless  articles  are prized as highly as  jewels.

The mere possession of them is what  gives  them value  to the youngest  collector. Later the  element  of rivalry  enters  and a period of collecting in order to have a better collection than some one else follows. The third  stage  includes an interest  in the order and arrangement of the things  collected, but at no time  is the  actual  value of the  objects  of great  importance.   Upon this at first blind and unsocial tendency rests much of our social  structure. Everything life has  to  offer can be  claimed by  this  instinct,  and the  child who has never known sacrifice and effort to possess and retain desired treasures
can never know the  fullness  of life. Fearing that  the  exercise  of the tendency will  develop the non-social inclinations  of the child many parents tend to discourage or ignore any manifestation of the instinct.   The strength of  the  tendency and  its persistence  through  life makes  such treatment useless and even harmful.

“As  a natural  tendency  it  necessarily precedes  the  social instincts.  One’s value  as  a citizen depends  on one’s possessions,  not  only material,  but  intellectual and spiritual  as well.”

Only through teaching plus experience can the adjustment be made between this non-social and the social tendencies. As the  child’s  interest  in collecting shifts  from spools to beautiful  shells  and stones within the  realm of material  things,  so  can his  interest be  carried on to  desire  intellectual  achievements,  and finally to the attainment of spiritual values.

Non Social Instinctive tendencies of Preschool Child Article Source ; The Psycology of preschool child Submitted by Iris Coldwell Frampton


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