Child Development

Motivation, mood, personality, temperament and disposition are things directly linked to emotions in the life of a person. Emotions can be defined as the reaction, ways or indications in the life of an individual that come in response to changes in the body of the individual. An emotion can also be said to be a pleasant or unpleasant state of the mind resulting from the action of the brain but outwardly given in form of body postures, gestures or movements.

These emotions are believed to emanate from the areas of the brain that dictate the central attention of a person, motivation to behavior and thus determining the importance of what takes place around us (Laird, 2003). An almost similar word but different word from emotion is cognition which basically underlies the ability of one to conceptualize, recognize or be aware of something hence putting him/her in a position to change preferences. The cognitive process can either be natural or artificial reflecting the state of one as either conscious or unconscious.

The concept of cognition in the field psychology relates nearly to the activities like reasoning, learning, decision making, planning among other intelligent actions of the individual mind (Gifford, 2009). Emotions can thus be recognized to be interplay of various diverse and wide fields like sociology, biology, psychology, cognition, anthropology among other interrelated disciplines thus making it a complex topic in human psychology. Emotions are very crucial and important for they define clearly the direction of an individual’s life and also career.

This ability in the human being to conceptualize and view things and situations thus enabling an individual to understand him/herself, those around him/her and the surrounding environment develops with time and comes as result of the balance and integration between the brain and the heart. Emotional Development in Children Emotions play a key role in the development of a child. For example, a smile from a child passes a certain communication to those around the child that this child has begun to be aware of his/ her surrounding and thus comes a response to in relation to the feeling he/ she has towards the surrounding.

In addition, this smile in a child could be interpretated to mean that the child is graduating from being an amateur creature that just needs continuous feeding and cleaning to a participatory member of the society. Emotions are highly depended on time along the life of a child. This is to mean that as child grows from one stage to another in life, the kinds of emotion she/ he will have will gradually change with the respective changes in life (Greene, 1985). Despite the critical importance of emotions in the development of a child, parents have been noted to be less informed and aware of the emotions in their children as they grow.

This lack of information is linked to the fact that emotions are internal rather than external feelings in a child but outspoken through the facial expression. This therefore proves that the study of emotions is central to the understanding of child development. Emotions in children supply us with the information of how ready or prepared a child is or are continuously equipped for he purposes of relationship with those around her and the environment as she gets on the course of development.

An obstacle to a child will spearhead experience or expression of sadness giving an implication that the various expression from children are functional definitions of how emotion helps us understand that they (emotions) serve to determine and coordinate both intrapsychic (e. g. , thoughts and motivations) and interpersonal (e. g. , social contacts) processes. In the initial stages of growth and development in children, crying is normally the way of communication of the various emotions of children as they try to demand certain things they want.

For instance, a child will cry out to her mother incase she fells discomfort emanating fro wetting her clothes because she cannot manage to remove them. This not only gives the mother the information that the baby is not comfortable but also awareness of the various abilities within the reach of the mother and thus comes the crying out for help. As the child matures, her capabilities expand and thus acquire various skills she will need in later stages of her adulthood.

Emotional development encompasses the feelings that we have about ourselves and others, as well as our capabilities to function well in the world from a social standpoint (http://www. kidsdevelopment. co. uk). Emotional Intelligence (EI) This describes the capacity, skill or ability in an individual that puts hi/her in a position of figuring out, evaluating managing and controlling his/her inner feelings and those of others as well as groups. Various models have been advanced to explain these EI.

Among them is the Ability based model which regards emotions as information sources that enables one to make sense and interact with the social environment. It goes with the proposition that the individuals have varying capabilities to understand and thus process emotional information. It is this ability that brings about varying behavior in individuals as seen manifest in their day to day lives. According to this model, EI possess four different abilities. The first is the ability to detect and comprehend emotions as put forth by the facial expressions, varying tones in voice and pictures.

Secondly is the ability to get emotions and facilitate various cognitive activities like problem solving and decision making. Understanding emotions is the third ability of the EI. This aspect puts the individual in a position to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. It is this ability also that makes one able to differentiate between slight variations in emotions by being hypersensitive to slightly expressed emotions and thus can describe the evolvement of these emotions over time.

Finally is the ability of having power and command over emotions. This helps an individual to regulate emotions within him and even others. It is therefore notable that an emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals according to this model (Salovey and Grewal, 2005). Another model aiding the understanding of Emotional Intelligence is the Mixed models of EI put forward by Daniel Goleman. This model bases its claims and arguments of EI as a leadership performance aspect that is built by a wide array of skills and competences.

Four constructs have been used to explain EI according to this model. To begin with is the construct of self awareness which he defines as the capability of using the out feelings that guide decisions to read and recognize one’s emotion. Self-management is the second construct involves the ability of coping with the dynamism by controlling one’s emotions and impulses. Thirdly is the aspect of Social awareness which puts one in a position to detect, figure out well and respond in various reactions to the emotions of others as he/ she gets involved into comprehending social networks.

Lastly in reference to this model is the ability to influence, inspire and build others in the attempt of conflict management something the model terms as Relationship management (Mayer, Roberts, & Barsade, 2008). Goleman says that each construct has its own set of emotional competencies. These emotional competencies are learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance rather than being innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance.

Goleman posits that individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies (Mayer, Roberts, & Barsade, 2008). Emotional Development and Maturation among Children Some emotions are evident in babies immediately after birth but much of how they develop is attributed to skills they acquire from their primary caregivers. Tender care in the first year of life helps babies to gain a sensation of warm welcome and safety in the world as a place of living.

As they move from infancy into the toddler stage, children gain a sense of self, separate from their parents and siblings. Being a new thing to them, the world makes their frustrations run high and they vulnerable to temper tantrums as well as other behaviors which their parents find or take as misconducts. Firm kindness from the parents is detrimental and crucial in this stage as control over negative emotional reactions by the children takes time and thus the kindness create awareness that there are better and more effective ways to get what they want (http://www.

kidsdevelopment. co. uk). Self-control, responsibility and cooperation among children as they get into school age brings pride in children giving an opportunity to their parents and educators to foster desirable emotional responses by pointing out situations in which children behaved in mature, compassionate ways. Rivalry to siblings is common in this age among other inhuman emotionally controlled situations and therefore parents should eradicate such from the kids.

Teen age ushers in stress in children as social and school responsibilities, coupled with a natural desire to make their own decisions without the input of their parents come as an addition to their life which is a cause for distress as well as opportunities for growth. Feelings of depression, anxiety, or helplessness may face the teen depending on his/her emotional development in which case should assist in stress easing (http://www. kidsdevelopment. co. uk). Ontogenesis It is an active process in development where an individual develops a “self” through the regulation of oneself inner person.

Basically, it is the origin and development of an organism from infancy to adulthood. This process defines the direction of development in a child and is highly shaped by the interaction of the child’s genetic endowment and the environment. It follows this that development entails more than the outcome got out of the integration of nature and nurture, with ontogenesis process allowing for the modification through contribution and adjustment of the individual child (Cicchetti & Tucker, 1994). Ontogenesis highlights the importance of historical analysis in helping to understand the complex process of the brain’s self-organizing system.

The nature of the resolution of developmental tasks and challenges, a process that may be more or less adequately accomplished, will determine what is integrated into the brain’s structure and contributes to later adaptation (Courchesne et al. , 1994). The environment determines much the process of brain development in the early stages of a child. Taking child abuse and neglect as one of the environmental influences, the child’s developing brain undergoes experiences that serve to adversely affect the child’s future development and functioning. The younger the infant, the more these environmental factors are mediated by the primary caregiver.

The first year of life defines the time when the brain of a human being increases in volume than any other time in the lifetime of that individual (Gilles, 1993). Theory of Mind (ToM) It is the state of mind which spearheads one into appreciation and acknowledgement of other people’s beliefs, desires and intentions as being different. Since the mind of a person is unobservable, this theory of mind concept is a presumption because no human can access the mind of another but can only prove the existence of his or her own mind through introspection.

Through analogy, one assumes that other people have minds based on the reciprocal nature of social interaction, joint attention, use of language and understand others’ emotions and actions. Possession this theory of mind allows one to attribute thoughts, desires, and intentions to others, to forecast or comprehend their actions, and to posit their intentions. It also helps one to understand that the various states of mind determine how one interprets and foresees the behavior of others.

Partiality or lack of full development in a child’s theory of mind has been known to be a sign of cognitive and developmental impairment (Premack & Woodruff 1978). An individual requires social and other experiences for many years to bring a complete development of his/her Theory of mind although it tends to be an innate potential ability occurring in human beings. This concept is based on two simulations where one side goes with the contention that the ToM encompasses the recognition of one’s own and personal states of mind before outgoing to the other people’s mental states.

On the other side is a simulation which entails ascent routine through which a person comes into realization of his or her own and others’ minds. The second simulation is what helps one to restructure questions that have been posed to him or her. At the age of between seven and nine months, an infant is said to develop attention to others as a social skill marking the development of the ToM in the child. Research in developmental psychology brought indications that the ability of an infant to copy what is done by others lies within the ToM, perspective-taking and empathy.

The “Like me” infant’s innate understanding helps him realize the equality between the states of mind and physique that are in others and those he/ she feels within him/herself. This is well elucidated by the fact that a child can identify and attentively look at a certain thing catching his/her interest (Meltzoff, 2002). Biological Models of Emotions Emotions are central in determination of motivation of activities like retrieving of memories, attention, learning and even thinking and reasoning among complex organisms.

To help in accomplishment of the needs and goals of the creature, emotions serve to define the behavioral reaction towards the environment and internal events of importance to the creature. Positive emotions trigger the events that drive towards satisfaction thus enhancing one’s power of existence and capabilities. Painful sensations and traumatizing situations characterize negative emotions in individuals making them pursue actions that will prevent the unpleasant thing from occurring.

Theorists argue that some select emotions are primary because they are endowed by evolution due to their proven ability to facilitate adaptive responses to the vast array of demands and opportunities a creature faces in its day to day life. It’s the emotion arising from a particular context that defines the way a creature is to prepare and motivate the relevant adaptive way. They are very crucial in life of organisms for they serve to reinforce the knowledge and adoption of a new behavior in the life of the individual creature. Evolution theorists claim that emotions emanate as a relevance detection and response preparation system.

They posit an appraisal system that assesses the perceived antecedent conditions with respect to the organism’s well being, its plans, and its goals as exemplified by human who affectively appraise events with respect to intrinsic pleasantness, goal/need significance, novelty coping, and norm/self compatibility. It is due to this that the wide variation in the level of cognition required for appraisals thus exists. Response mechanisms and tendencies are evoked by these appraisals along with other factors including hormone levels, drive, pain, etc within the systems.

They might include subjective adjustments in experience, physiological changes, elicitation of behavioral response like escape and expression display. A desired relation between the organism and the environment is built referencing the emotion which leads it into a pull towards certain stimuli and events and a push away from others. Much of the relational activity can be social in nature, motivating proximity seeking, and social avoidance. chasing off offenders among other activities. Communication of the emotional states of other individuals is expressed in characteristics of emotion in voice, face, gesture, and posture (Coyne, Jerry A.

2009). Regulation of Infants’ Affect and Arousal An important aspect of the primary caregivers’ interaction with the developing infant is to respond sensitively to the infant by gauging their emotion accurately. This is necessary in order for the caregiver to regulate the affect, arousal, and behavior of the young infant, to help the infant deal with frustration, and to direct and focus the infant’s attention. Young infants have not developed the capacity to regulate their own level of arousal and impulses, are unable to obtain their own gratification, and require help in learning to plan their actions.

The development of these executive functions requires the maturation of the frontal lobes, from the end of the first year. The frontal lobes are involved with the expression and self-regulation of emotion including the inhibition of automatic or habitual emotional responses, and with regulating responses to emotionally arousing situations. This orderly development is dependent on appropriate input and sensitive interaction with the primary caregivers at the sensitive period.

Study shows that in the first days of life, the interactions between the infants and their mothers indicate that the maternal regulation includes both physiological and behavioral modulation of the pups (Hofer, 1994). The early mother-infant interaction is thus a bio-behavioral system. In the brain of the infant who sees the responsive mother’s face, brain stem dopaminergic fibres are activated, which trigger high levels of endogenous opiates. These endorphins are bio-chemically responsible for the pleasurable aspects of social interaction and social affect and are related to attachment (Schore, 1996).

The pleasurable arousal also activates the sympathetic nervous system. The role of the caregiver is very sensitive whose target is to modulate the infant’s arousal, which could also follow intense displeasure, fear, or frustration, by calming the infant and restoring her or him to a tolerable emotional state (van der Kolk & Fisler, 1994), free of anxiety. One aspect of early child abuse and neglect is the absence of these sensitive interactions between the parent(s) and the young child.

Some depressed mothers are withdrawn and disengaged in their interactions with their infants, whereas others are insensitive, intrusive, and sometimes angry (Cohn & Tronick, 1989). In the absence of experiences of external modulation of affect, the infant brain is unable to learn self-regulation of affect, part of the aforementioned process of ontogenesis. Such deficits may only become apparent later, when the child is expected to have matured for that particular task and these deficits may then become manifest by aggression or hyper-vigilance. Emotional Norms Social norms exist for a variety of emotional aspects.

There are three categories. First are the General emotional norms which underlie the emotions that are considered either to be good or bad. The next category entails Feeling rules which serve to show the reactions in form of feeling of an individual when exposed to a certain thing like criticism. The example of criticism given may result into negative feeling hatred thus to anger or embarrassment. Finally are the Display rules which define the kind of response to a certain emotion. For instance a child can turn to be violent incase intimidated by others whom he/she takes inferior to him/her (Ekman, 1972).

Norms for positive feeling rules in individualistic cultures are very tight while the individualistic cultures are loose regarding to the display rules (one can express one’s feelings as preferred at any one time. Incase one fails to achieve his targets in life, he will definitely be uncomfortable and unhappy since according to norms, one should always seek to live in happiness. In countries like China which possess collectivistic cultures the feeling rules are rather loose because there are no defined expectations elaborating the generally accepted feeling.

On the contrary, the display rules are much tighter meaning that various contexts are given specific ways of feelings. Expressions of emotions irrespective of whether positive or negative are taken to be threats to social orders by the Confucian cultures and thus one may feel as he pleases but not express them for their norms are of not-showing personal emotions (Ekman, 1972). Importance of Emotions Emotions help in survival as they offer guidance and identification of the unmet human needs. They also aid making of decisions by acting as sources of information. In addition, behavior prediction can be enhanced by emotions.

Because of their nature of telling about the feelings of individuals towards things and others, they help in setting of rules and boundaries which should not be crossed. Communication and unity are other key importances of emotions in individual’s lives. This is because gestures and facial expressions are body languages which help in liaison of information. It is also through emotions where an avenue of working together is created (http: //eqi. org/emotions.). Managing Negative Emotions To manage emotions, one has to first identify the feeling and in addition assess whether it is healthy or not.

With the knowledge of this, options should be generated from where the best should be chosen from. The chosen option should be one that best restores long-term happiness to the child. The victim can be involved in choosing the options by asking him/her the best thing that can bring back his/her normalcy. This helps in the journey to positive feelings (http://eqi. org/emotions. htm). References Cicchetti, D. , & Tucker, D. (1994). Development and self-regulatory structures of the mind. Development and Psychopathology. Cohn, J. , & Tronick, E. (1989). Specificity of infants’ response to mothers’ affective behavior.

Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Courchesne, E. , Chisum, H. , & Townsend, J. (1994). Neural activity-dependent brain changes in development: Implications for psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology 6, 697-722. Coyne, J. A. , (2009). Why Evolution is True. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ekman, P. (1972). Universals and cultural differences in facial expressions of emotion. In J. Cole (Ed. ), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation 1971. Gifford (2009), The Effects of Sound on the Brain. OUP Gilles, E. (1993). Abusive head injury in children: A review. Western State University Law Review.

Greene (1985). Emotional Development during Childhood Hofer, M. (1994). Hidden regulators in attachment, separation and loss. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development. http://eqi. org/emotions http://www. kidsdevelopment. co. uk Laird, James (2003), Feelings: the Perception of Self, Oxford University Press Mayer, J. D. , Salovey, P. & Caruso, D. R. (2008). Emotional Intelligence: New ability or eclectic traits, American Psychologist Meltzoff, A. N. (2002). Imitation as a mechanism of social cognition: Origins of empathy, theory of mind, and the representation of action.

In U. Goswami (Ed.), Handbook of childhood cognitive development (pp. 6-25). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. Premack, D. G. & Woodruff, G. (1978). Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind? Behavioral and Brain Sciences Salovey P and Grewal D (2005) The Science of Emotional Intelligence. Current directions in psychological science Schore, A. (1996). The experience-dependent maturation of a regulatory system in the orbital prefrontal cortex and the origin of developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology van der Kolk, B. , & Fisler, R. (1994). Childhood abuse and neglect and loss of self-regulation. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic

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