Emotional development in children
May 10, 2022

Attachment and areas of development

Attachment is a combination of cognitive, and emotional development. The environment plays a significant role in helping the child follow their instinctive behavior to grow in a balanced environment and plan a balanced life. Some people have trust issues, are anxious all the time, and try to control all situations, attached to a job, house, or husband. Some blindly trust their partners, are extremely relaxed, and find it challenging to analyze situations. Erikson and Freud agreed that if a person fails to achieve balance during any stage, he will struggle throughout his lifetime (Bowlby, 1997).

Humans, throughout life, resolve conflicts (Santrock. W et al., 2021, p. 17). In their first year of life, infants develop security virtue from being exposed to experiences of trust and mistrust. The environment/mother plays a significant role in allowing infants to experience trust and mistrust feelings to be secure. Children learn from pleasure and pain according to Freud and as stated by Bowlby (1997, p.64-76). So every time the child cries out of hunger, the mother should provide food. This means his pain (hunger) is addressed by the mother consistently by providing pleasure (food), which is the balance to achieve security. If the mother ignores the pain, the child finds it hard to learn how to satisfy his needs, ignore his feelings and bury them. Later in life, this child will form a negative self-image and can be unmotivated to plan his goals and unable to understand others’ goals (Bowlby, 1997).

If the mother satisfies the child’s needs without allowing him to feel pain, the child will only be exposed to pleasure. This creates an imbalance to achieve security and hope. Those children were rarely reported according to Hughes (1997, p.64-76). Most of the reported cases are of negative behavior and negative self-image that reflects on the child’s relationships with carer and friends or partner later in life (Hughes, 1997).

According to Bowlby (1977), in the middle of the first year, a child develops a sense of self- conscious emotions such as jealousy, empathy, embarrassment, shyness, guilt, and pride. If the child experiences only pain, he develops negative feelings towards himself. According to Erikson, at 18months, a child is exposed to another conflict to resolve Autonomy vs. shame to form his will (Santrock. W et al., 2021). If the child resolved the trust and mistrust conflict in his first year and feels secure, then he is able to share self-conscious feelings. For Example, if a balanced child breaks a glass he will feel guilty and he will correct his exploration and process the learning experience. The balanced child believes that his mother is always there to help and support him. His exploration is for a purpose. His self-talk is as follows ”this is a glass, glass can break, so I need to hold it with two hands to avoid breaking it and feel guilty.” The child experiences pride in exploring “a glass” and guilt if it breaks; this allows him to correct his behavior thus his will.

If the child didn’t resolve the trust and mistrust conflict in his first year he is insecure, thus he is unable to share self-conscious feelings. For Example, if an imbalanced child breaks a glass he feels guilty and is going to be punished which is attention from adults whom he is trying to avoid. In worrying about the punishment he will be distracted from the exploration. Hence, unable to process the learning experiences as his exploration is going to be random and hidden. His self-talk is as follows ”this is a glass, glass can break, I will be punished, I will try to hold away from my mother. if it breaks I will run away.” The imbalanced child does not experience pride in exploring “a glass” or guilt if it breaks. This experience will not allow him to resolve his autonomy and guilt feeling to correct his goals and will. The imbalanced child starts showing different unacceptable behaviors to express their needs, thoughts, and emotions. When a child is unaware of self, he can not be expected to be aware of others’ needs (Hughes. A,1997).

Therapeutic play facilitates Attachment by building a trustworthy full of affiliation relationship with the child to enable him to recall the memories he decided to bury. To resolve negative accumulated emotions resulting from neglect and or abuse, the therapist needs to meet the child’s anger with hugs to confirm that we accept expressing emotions. Gradually the child will trust the therapist and the new caregiver to share painful feelings instead of expressing them through destructive behaviors. The Child mental health expert needs to teach early childhood education programs and enrich his vocabulary to express his feelings in a better way (Hughes, 1997).

In conclusion, The human life cycle is a lesson for children, affecting the child cognitively and emotionally for life. Children with poor Emotional development in preschool ignore educational materials and teachers. These children would rather spend time in Certified Play Therapy, like outdoors running, skipping, and climbing, rather than having to contend with their unbalanced emotions.

“When we do not use the right language of a feeling, the child will tend to abandoned and replace it temporarily by a language of behavior” Bowlby (1997, p. 123).

Bowlby, J. (1997) Attachment and loss. Vol. 1. London: Random house.
Hughes. A (1997) Facilitating Developmental Attachment. US: Roman & littlefield publishers, Inc. Santrock. A et al. (2021) Child development, 15th Edition, US: New York McGraw-Hill education.

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