In early childhood, the psychological development of a child is very rapid – at this stage in their lives their brain is literally like a sponge; it absorbs everything around it. Therefore, it is important that children in their early childhood are surrounded by people who are of the same intended emotional maturity as the child. It is at this stage that child start to learn between right and wrong, but only in a clear-cut sense. For example, they should know in early childhood that stealing is wrong, and will probably say it is wrong under any circumstances. However, there is a well-known moral dilemma where a man who cannot afford an expensive drug to save a member of his family steals it from a pharmacy – in this case is that man carrying out an action that is wrong? Someone in their early childhood emotional development stage would say yes, but those who have developed further would weigh it up more, and perhaps say it was right.
In emotional development, the children also learn how to act around their peers, i.e. their friends. They should become accustomed to being kind around people they consider friends, and indeed their parents. It is here that they learn a lot of social emotional development, which will result in how they turn out at a later stage in their development. Similarly, they will be fearful of strangers as a natural instinct, and will stick to those close to them. This is an important characteristic to have as it protects them from harm.