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Latency: The Era of Learning, Autonomy, and Peer Relationships 

Latency: The Era of Learning, Autonomy, and Peer Relationships
Chapter:
Latency: The Era of Learning, Autonomy, and Peer Relationships
Source:
The Little Book of Child and Adolescent Development
Author(s):

Karen J. Gilmore

and Pamela Meersand

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199899227.003.0005

This chapter examines the confluence of biological, cognitive, social, and societal forces that contribute to the latency phase, which is universally recognized as a time of learning and industry. It describes the underlying advances in cognition and symbolization that fuel the youngster’s vastly enhanced capacities for deferred gratification, propensity for logical thinking, and access to more varied defense mechanisms. The discussion of latency is divided into two phases, early and late. Early latency is described as dominated by the child’s brittle, recently acquired resources for self-control. Late latency is marked by the gradual acquisition of more stable inner regulation, a gradual disillusionment with the previously idealized parents, and a decisive turn toward the peer group. Internalization of group norms, development of friendships, acquisition of school-based skills, and behavioral and emotional self-control are discussed as the major developmental tasks of this phase.

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