The study of `the child as social person' is one of the major areas of child psychology ± a complement to the study of `the child as thinker' which I wrote about in an earlier book (Meadows 2006) ± and it is also at the core of discussions of what causes and what can prevent mental health problems and antisocial behaviour. The aim of this book is to provide an informed and accessible overview of the area that will encourage the reader to think usefully about what children do as social persons and how their different social careers build up, allowing the reader access to research literature and current burning issues. There have been various interesting shifts and widenings in what children's social development is thought to be, and this book is intended to review the ®eld and, as far as possible, suggest what answers to the issues involved might be like. In this chapter I present the core psychological model that I am going to use in an attempt to synthesise different bodies of evidence, and raise some issues from other standpoints.