Every child goes through phases of emotional development although this happens at varying rates. The period of emotional development ranges from birth through late adolescence. Emotional development is defined as understanding, expression, emotions that stem from a child's experiences.
Social development and emotional development are closely related because children learn how to understand and express emotion by watching how others respond to situations. Initially, parents and other caregivers are a child's primary exposure to emotions. As children get older, they are exposed to more people who play a key role in their emotional development. Paper Masters can compose a custom written research paper on emotional development that follows your guidelines.
Stages of Emotional Development
- In infants, the first sign of emotional development usually is a smile. This can happen as early as six weeks of age. Infants cry in order to express their emotions of hunger, fear, anger, and distress.
- When babies reach the age of 3 months they begin to laugh to express emotion.
- During the toddler stage, children develop the emotions that are related to their self-awareness and independence. Children in this age usually start to understand pride and shame.
- Preschool children are taught by social cues how to express their emotions verbally. Until this point, most expression of emotion remains nonverbal. Preschool children are able to begin to understand the difference between anger, fear, and sadness.
- As children reach school age, they gain a greater understanding of empathy. They also begin understanding conflicting emotions. Older school aged children begin gaining the skills needed to cope with emotionally challenging situations and suppress negative emotions when needed.
- Adolescence is considered a very emotional time of development. Emotions can be negative in nature and children in this stage may be hesitant to discuss these negative emotions with parents because of their quest for independence.
Importance of Emotional Development
There are many reasons that proper emotional development is important for children and their overall development an acculturation. It is a key goal in Primary Education. For example, Erikson, in his description of various stages of emotional development, contends that each is marked with a psychosocial crisis that must be resolved before the individual can move on to the next developmental stage. This notion reveals the importance of emotional development in the gradual progression from childhood into adulthood, because without adequate evolution from one stage to the next, the child becomes emotionally stunted.
This also impacts the understanding of self and the ability of the child to assimilate into normal social and cultural settings and roles. Only through proper emotional development can the child fully comprehend social norms and age-appropriate responses to certain conditions or situations in a larger cultural context to the human psyche. If the child cannot understand the relation of these roles to individual identity, the child is further unable to understand self in the context of these roles, which further diminishes the understanding of the individual child's innate self or ego. Thus, the child's emotional development has to be fostered by adults or other agencies, in order to allow for the larger understanding of the way that the child's understanding of self relates to the larger social and cultural contexts that he or she will encounter, as true emotional development allows the child to relate to the constraints and parameters of society and their applicability to the understanding of self.
A key aspect of emotional development is learning how to identify and control emotions so that they are appropriate for a particular environment or situation. The concept is referred to as self-regulation.
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