According to Erikson, the primary developmental task of middle childhood is to attain industry,
or the feeling of social competence. Competition (athletics, daredevil activities) and numerous social adjustments (trying to make and keep friends) mark this developmental stage. Successfully developing industry helps a child build self‐esteem,
or an evaluative attitude toward the self, which in turn builds the self‐confidence necessary to form lasting and effective social relationships.
Most boys and girls develop a positive sense of self‐understanding, self‐definition, and self‐control in middle childhood. Supportive and loving parents, teachers, and friends who make the children feel competent foster this type of development. When lacking skills in one area, children in this age group typically find another area in which to excel. Excelling in an area contributes to a child's overall sense of self‐esteem and belonging in the social world. For example, a child who does not like math may take up piano as a hobby and discover a talent for music. The more positive experiences that children have excelling in one or more areas, the more likely that these children will develop the self‐confidence necessary to confront new social challenges. Self‐esteem, self‐worth, self‐regulation, and self‐confidence ultimately form a child's self‐concept.