The Stages of Social – Emotional Development

Filed under: Emotional Development - 25 Jan 2012  | Spread the word !

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Emotional development is a domain that has recently began to be very studied during the past years. Emotional development is a highly debated field a lot of studies have been made in this respective. The emotional development starts at a child’s very early age and is directly linked to the parents’ behaviour. Since children are too small and do not have free will, parents take all the choices for them and take control over their lives. According to Erik Erikson, there are eight stages of emotional development, that should help the child develop into a healthy human being. Each stage builds on the successful completion of earlier stages. The challenges of emotional development stages, if not completed successfully, may unlock problems in the future.

The first step in emotional development centres around the infant’s basic needs that are met by the parents. The infant depends on the parents, especially the mother for food, sustenance and comfort. Should the parents fail to provide a secure environment and to meet the child’s basic needs a sense of mistrust will result. As the child gains control over the eliminative functions and motor abilities, they begin to explore the surroundings. The parents still provide a strong base of security from which the child can venture out to assert the will. If caregivers encourage self-sufficient behavior, then the emotional development is characterised by a sense of autonomy.

One of the very first steps in the emotional development is communication. It is the most important aspect. A good communication can lead to a good and healthy social and emotional development. Without passing through all these stages of emotional development, we would not be able to become the mature, healthy human beings that we are. Another important aspect is that parents should adapt their behaviour and actions according to the emotional development of their children. The emotional development will help the child in becoming more responsible and more independent in time. Parents must acknowledge their child’s independence, especially in the adolescent years, when it is more and more difficult to set boundaries for the child.

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