Children's responses to peer conflicts involving a rights infraction
Examined here is whether the generalization about the prosocial style of well-accepted children applies to peer conflicts involving a rights infraction. Fourth- and fifth-grade children (N = 140) were individually interviewed about their strategies for handling hypothetical situations in which a peer infringes upon their rights. Results revealed that well-accepted children were neither aggressive nor particularly prosocial in conflict situations. Instead, they responded with a variety of verbally assertive strategies. Low-accepted children, by contrast, relied more heavily on the assistance of adults. Supplementary data collection with 215 fourth- and fifth-grade children suggested the psychological distinctiveness of "rights infraction" types of conflict. Overall, the results qualify earlier generalizations about the behavioral basis of peer acceptance and suggest the need for situation-specific assessments of children's social competence.