Read this article to learn about the Emotional Development of a Child during First Two Years. After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Introduction to Emotional Development 2. Genetic Factors 3. Non-Genetic Biological Factors 4. Maturity and Emotional Development.
- Introduction to Emotional Development
- Genetic Factors
- Non-Genetic Biological Factors
- Maturity and Emotional Development
1. Introduction to Emotional Development:
Personality includes a great many aspects of a person’s characteristics. Broadly speaking, it includes his physical, mental and emotional characteristics. Here, in this article, we are concerned with the emotional aspect of a person’s characteristics.
We find some to be easily upset, irritated, angry or otherwise awkward in his behaviour, while another may not get provoked or embarrassed even in the very unfavorable situations— this shows the difference in the emotional development of the two individuals. One is anxious without any reasonable cause to be so.
While, on the positive extreme, there is another person who does not let himself be overwhelmed with anxiety, even in the worst of conditions. We may come across such persons whose fears may not be genuine, but, mainly, happens to be imaginary.
Some remain balanced under impact of both the negative and the positive emotions; while there are some who express the same in an extreme way. We know the presence of emotions in one’s mind, through one’s behaviour.
Emotions are feelings in their strongly aroused state; we know of their presence through the behaviour of the people. Fear, grief, joy, irritation, anxiety, love, anger, jealousy etc. are emotions when one’s feelings are in a state of high intensity.
Feelings are natural and very needful but their arousal, in too forceful a way, makes one’s behaviour awkward and undesirable. And, repeated resorting to such a behaviour would be a symptom of distorted personality.
Such a personality can neither be considered wholesome for the person himself nor for the society that the person moves into, and reacts within. It being such, there is need to trace the causes leading to such a development.
Even during the prenatal period, there may be some factors affecting the emotional development of the baby. Both genetic and non-genetic biological variables affect the emotional growth. Though floating in the amniotic fluid, the unborn child happens to be fully protected from the outward factors of change, as well as, from the factors inside the body of the mother.
The nutrition of the mother, her anxiety, fear and other emotions, however, indirectly affect the unborn child, by way of changing the biochemical nature of the blood of the mother. Before we take up the biochemical factors affecting the emotional buildup of the prenatal baby, it would be proper to refer, again, to the genetic factor related to the emotional development of the child.
2. Genetic Factors:
The tiny sperm penetrates the wall of the ovum, and immediately it releases 23 minute particles of chromosomes. At about the same time, the inner core of the ovum, the nucleus, breaks up, releasing another set of 23 chromosomes. These are further sub-divided and each particle is called “a gene.” These genes are the carriers of heredity.
Now, as to the question of what is actually inherited, the opinions of the geneticists differ. During the eighteenth century, the speculation was that even the singing faculty of the mother, and the father’s penchant for learning, are inherited. Later geneticists discarded such speculation. Actually, the mother in no way can affect the embryo/foetus lying in her womb.
The only connection she has with the embryo/foetus is through the umbilical cord, also called the life line. It joins a section of the uterine wall where the uterus and the chorion [the membrane covering the fertilised ovum] join. It extends from it.
Two arteries carry blood and nutrients from the placenta, to the foetus; and one vein carries waste from the foetus back to the placenta [a tissue which grows inside the uterus during pregnancy, and links the baby to the mother]. It is only through placenta that exchange of oxygen and nutrients, all forming part of the mother’s blood, takes place.
3. Non-Genetic Biological Factors:
When the mother is tense, is suffering from a sense of insecurity, remains strained with anxiety, is overpowered with fear, is jealous of someone or something and so on, the bio-chemicals inside her body are changed, because of the excessive secretion of some glands of hormones.
Adrenal gland, for example, grows more active; chemicals, such as acetylcholine and epinephrine, are released into blood in more quantity. As the foetus is fed through the blood of the mother, all these changes in the blood of the mother, have their effect on the emotional build-up of the unborn baby.
Due to tension, and increase of some hormones and chemicals into the blood of the pregnant mother, her breathing becomes irregular, blood-pressure rises up, pulse rate increases, and so on. All these changes have their indirect impact upon the growing foetus. Sontag writes:
“Such an infant is from the beginning, a hyperactive, irritable, squirming, crying child, who cries for his feeding after every two or three hours, instead of sleeping through his four-hour feeding period. Because his irritability affects control of his gastrointestinal tract, he empties his bowels at unusually frequent intervals; spits up half his feedings and generally makes a nuisance of himself.
He is, to all intents and purposes, a neurotic infant when he is born.”
A neurotic personality develops because of improper emotional growth. It is characterised by the syndrome of suffering from anxiety and fear, when actually there is no genuine reason for the same. A neurotic person is likely to get irritated very soon on any real or imaginary hindrance in the fulfillment of his desires.
Due to his nervous worrisome disposition, he cannot think cool-mindedly, objectively or judiciously. Nor can such a person make sustained efforts for achieving his objective. He will prove problematic for himself and for others as well. Lack of proper emotional development results in many psychotic and psychosomatic abnormalities.
There are some drugs which, if consumed by the prospective mother, may have their effect on the biochemical nature of her blood, and may eventually prove harmful to the emotional buildup of the baby to be delivered.
The unborn child or the neonate is also affected by the nutrition of the mother till the time, the child is having its feeding through the umbilical cord, and through breast after delivery. The malnutrition of the mother affects both the physical and the mental health of the child.
A house where a sense of belongingness is lacking, quarrelling and squabbling is a routine, the mother has to live in a state of constant strain; love and peace are conspicuous by their absence, the mother cannot feel secured and satisfied.
Anxiety, fear, frustration would be the relevant terms to describe her psychic condition. A mother suffering from such emotions, is less likely to deliver a perfectly healthy child, so far as its emotional character is concerned.
Squalid and dingy physical environment in and around the house, ill- ventilated rooms with only the polluted air available for breathing—may also adversely affect the physical and the mental health of the prospective mother as well as, of the child, to be born.
And, even after delivery, if there is not enough fresh air available for the neonate, it may cause anoxia or asphyxiation. A long and painful delivery or because of obstetrical mishandling a traumatized baby may be born.
If conception takes place for the first time when the prospective mother is 35 or more, or if it is an unwanted conception or if the prospective mother herself has contracted some such disease which may pass on to the foetus, the neonate cannot be emotionally healthy.
Studies have also revealed the fact that immaturely born children, in many cases, happen to be not only less sensitive in auditory and visual perceptions, have speech difficulties, poor motor co-ordination and are awkward in movements but also shy, flighty, and “distracting or extremely persistent in work.” Now, we shall consider the factors which are related to the emotional conditions of a child up to two years of age.
Broadly speaking, there may be four factors which work upon the emotional development of the child:
(i) General Breeding,
(ii) Family Environment,
(iii) Nutrition and
(iv) Living Conditions in General.
(i) General Breeding:
The needs of the child should be attended to properly and in time. If the child is crying out of hunger, and the mother does not respond to it in time, and with a feeling of affection, the child may emotionally get upset. Mothers, sometimes, complain of their baby not taking into its mouth the nipple for getting breast feeding as a reaction to the fact that there was no timely response to its demand for feeding or for water.
If such a sort of negligence, on the part of the mother, is repeated often, the neonate may develop into an irritable, squirming and crying child. The child may show its displeasure through frequent defecation and urinating, more often than natural, spitting up a good part of its feeding.
And, such behaviour of the child may result in the emaciation of it, and, may cause dehydration. And, an emaciated child is, generally, found to be more peevish or irritated.
Sleep It is a common experience of each mother that whenever a child does not have his full stint of sleep, or take rest to the full, he gets uneasy and generally, keeps crying till he has not slept enough as per his need.
Both for physical and emotional health, it is essential that the child sleeps well and for the needful period. For it, it is also essential that a peaceful environment is provided, lest the child’s sleep should be disturbed.
The place where the child sleeps, should be well-ventilated and congenial for it to have a sound and undisturbed sleep—congenial, in the sense that there the child should not suffer because of inclement weather conditions. If disturbance to the child’s sleep is a general routine, it may not prove wholesome so far his emotional growth is concerned.
Emptying the wastes:
Emptying the wastes in the form of defecation or urination is an experience of being eased. So, if the child, generally, always has to face disturbances during the time of his defecation and urination, there may be undesirable development in the emotional life of the child.
Showing displeasure by the mother or by other elders on the child’s emptying its bowels or bladder, if done repeatedly or often, may distort the emotional build-up of the child.
To expect toilet-discipline from a child who is hardly two years old, is too much, if such a discipline is forced upon the tender child whose concerned sphincters are still not developed enough to effect full control, it will harm the emotional development of the child.
The habitually crying and squirming child cannot be termed emotionally healthy; and disturbances during defecation or water making, or attempting untimely toilet discipline, may be a cause for the same.
(ii) Family Environment:
Family is expected to be the most well-knit unit. So far the feelings of each for the other members of it are concerned a natural bond of love ought to be binding each to the other. Every-one of its members should feel a natural concern for each other member of it.
A strong feeling of belongingness ought to be there (Fig. 10.1). Where such a feeling is not found, or if it is not so strong, emotional growth, especially of the children of the family, is bound to be adversely affected.
If father and mother are not emotionally tied to each other; each is not feeling a natural concern for the well-being of the other, it would have its impact on the emotional growth of their small child. In some cases, it is found that father, generally, metes out harsh treatment to his wife, abuses her, rebukes or beats her.
In the absence of a cordial relationship between the two, the wife lives in a state of continuous mental strain, A feeling of insecurity, humiliation and trauma haunts her always. This may result in hypertension, loss of sleep, loss of appetite, increased secretion of some hormones, or generation of bio-chemicals such as acetylcholine and epinephrine.
The young baby depending on breast feeding, is affected by such a condition of the mother.
A neglected wife, cannot give a smile of affection to her baby. All this creates an environment which disturbs the process of healthy emotional development of the child. The child would grow either irritable or sluggish causing trouble in all matters whether it is feeding or sleeping or emptying bowels or bladder.
Later, the family may have to bear with a child who is aggressive or quite inactive, or very slow in the activities so natural to a child of that age. Under such circumstances, the child may grow neurotic.
The relationships among other members of the family, among the siblings, are also important. A warm affectionate bond among them only can create a congenial environment for the wholesome emotional growth of the child. Nothing can be more desired for the proper emotional development than an affectionate care.
If behaviour of any member in the family is not proper, it would have its effect upon other members of the family also, and the chain of action and reaction would vitiate the emotional environment of the family. Where the father is an addict or a drunkard, we, can hardly hope for a harmonious environment (Fig. 10.2).
In a family environment, where the mother is a working woman and the father is too busy to spare time to fondle the baby, to laugh and play with him, the child’s development will be thwarted. Such a child who is neglected because of his circumstances, cannot grow emotionally healthy.
It would grow less active than a normal child, he would learn walking and speaking later than other children of his age. Such a sluggish child would be more prone to frustration.
A child who has not been brought up experiencing the full warmth of affection of its mother, should be considered one among the most unlucky lots. The child’s hunger for motherly love, especially happens to be very intense, and, if it is not satisfied timely and in a proper way, would upset the emotional growth of the child (Fig. 10.3).
If the gap between the birth of two children of the mother is less than four years, chances are that the former child would become jealous of the latter one, presuming the younger one to be having the lion’s share in the maternal affection.
If mother is unwell, she would be losing patience often. Likewise, if the elderly member who has to look after the baby, is not physically healthy, and mentally of good humour, the baby would be receiving harsh treatment; would have to hear unpleasant sounds—and this all is, certain to distort the emotional growth of the child.
The elders who are not tolerant enough to bear with the childish activities of the baby, and, cautious and prompt enough to meet the baby’s needs timely and pleasantly, can only harm the emotional make-up of the child. And, emotions form a very important aspect of one’s personality.
If because of any reason, it is an unwanted conception—the mother or the father does not want a child to be born; it may be because of penury of the family, or of some disease of the mother or of the father, or because of lack of emotional harmony between the two—this would definitely affect the emotional health of the child who is still unborn.
Body and mind can never be separated, the one affects the other, and the two work interdependently. One who is bodily fit, is, generally, found to be mentally healthy also. Proper nutrition is an important condition for physical health.
If for want of proper nutrition, bodily health is spoilt, the emotional health, also, cannot be maintained. In the Gita, food has been classified into three categories—Satwik, Rajas and Tamasik— each one of them has been described as to what types of food items are included in a particular category.
The emotional nature of a person very much depends upon the type of food that one takes. The ancient wisdom forbids the use of aphrodites or condiments in excess, if one desires to maintain the purity of celibacy or virginity.
If during pregnancy, the mother does not get balanced food in an adequate quantity, it would harm not only the physical growth of the foetus but it may result in developing a child whom the mother would find to be a frequently crying, squirming and irritable one when born.
Deficiency of any sort—of some vitamin, of proteins, or of any mineral, may cause emotional/behavioural abnormality. So, care needs to be taken both during the prenatal and postnatal periods that the child gets proper nutritive and balanced food in an adequate quantity, and gets it timely with due intervals.
Nutrition is related to the secretion of certain glands and the generation of certain bio-chemicals in the body. For example, excessive secretion of adrenalin hormone would cause both physical and emotional abnormalities. We have already read about the ill-effect of the excessive generation of bio-chemicals such as acetylcholine and epinephrine they would make the child overactive, irritable, and, so problematic.
(iv) Living Conditions in General:
Families with very low socioeconomic standard may have to live in a single thatched shed, where ventilation and other hygienic conditions are unimaginable. The occupants are left with no alternative but to spend the whole life living in a dark and dingy shed.
The number of members in such a poverty-stricken family, often, happens to be quite large. The congested living in an ill-ventilated, squalid house, if it can be so termed, make the occupants prone to diseases. Such a shed can hardly protect them against inclement weather conditions. A sense of insecurity always haunts them.
A sort of mental tension always tortures them. Personal privacy is difficult to be maintained under such conditions. Such living conditions disturb the emotional development not only of the children of the family but also of the babies who are still unborn. The mother would, generally, be more perturbed when her neonate or young baby is a crying, squirming and irritable brat. Mother of a neurotic child can hardly remain emotionally normal.
A wholesome family environment cannot be expected under such circumstances. The father would return home badly tired after a day-long labour; the mother may also have to do hard physical labour for paltry wages besides doing a lot of domestic chores.
The illiterate father may even drink excessively in the night, and bawl at and beat his wife, mother of the baby or prospective mother of the baby. Proper emotional growth of a child of such parents, or of one living in, and brought up under such conditions, would be too much to expect.
The family environment hot with frequent squabbles, would give rise to emotions, such as anger, hatred, jealousy, revenge, fear, anxiety, and so on. Under the impact of intense emotions, the heart-beating increases; the pulse-rate rises, appetite goes down, digestive system is disturbed because of changed biochemical conditions of the body, and because of the excessive secretion of certain hormones.
The overall result would be subnormal emotional development; the new born infant would be handicapped in adapting itself to the external world.
4. Maturity and Emotional Development:
The emotions of a neonate, or, of a very young baby, are evoked, mainly, because of internal causes. Generally, up to the age of 6 months, the child has very little experience of the external world, to enable him to perceive stimuli for emotions. It is with age, that the child’s sensations and perceptions grow in acuity.
A child who is younger than four months, can hardly sense whether the person holding him in his arms, is in a pleasant mood, or, otherwise. Nor, can he discriminate between a face that is smiling, and the one which is angry and is frowning. Due to lack of perceptibility, such a situation cannot serve as stimulus for the arousal of emotions in a very young child.
The repertoire of experiences of a young child happens to be very limited, so also is the scope for the arousal of his emotions. External situations can stimulate emotions only when the child is able to comprehend the meanings of the same, that is, he can perceive the nature of the situation, whether it is pleasant or otherwise.
For such a perception, the relevant past experiences serve as a base. It is by the end of the second half of the first year, that the child begins to discriminate between a voice that is pleasant and the one that is unpleasant.
Child’s receptivity of emotional stimuli and reactions to the same also depends upon the constitution of the child. A child who is irritable as a neonate, generally, remains so throughout the period of his early infancy. Other factors, as already mentioned above, affecting the emotional development of the child, are heredity, prenatal and early postnatal influences.
With the advancement of age, response-patterns become more varied, differentiated and recognisable. Of course, individual differences will be there because of physiological state of each individual, and the activity of the moment of each of them.
How much a certain stimulus would affect, also depends upon the period of its duration, and upon the degree of its intensity. A child begins his life with almost all its emotional responses being automatic or reflex; and it is through his living in the external world, that the number of learned responses goes on increasing.
A child who has had no adequate loving care of his mother, would remain emotionally dwarf for the rest of his life. For the development of positive emotions, the child needs to have much warmth of affection, many occasions of pleasant stimulations, and a wholesome environment where he was feeling himself safe and much cared after.
Physical and mental developments alone are not enough unless one is developed emotionally too. An emotionally ill-developed, will be a nuisance for self as well as for others.
Emotions are natural phenomena. They are essential too, for a purposeful and good living. But their arousal too frequent, and, when a situation does not warrant for the same, or with the intensity that they are aroused or evoked, would be considered a symptom of ill-emotional development.
The emotions that are important during infancy are:
(e) Jealousy and
An object that is too ugly, too big, uncommon, in other ways that the child would like to avoid, becomes a source of fear for him. A child even gets afraid of darkness. A thing, or a person that has ever caused harm, or has in any way hurt him, would become a source of fear for him.
A child may become fearful on looking at a big bull or camel for the first time; or at an animal or anything rushing at with great speed; on seeing one who once caused him fall down or get hurt, and so on. It is not only through the sense of seeing that the child perceives the object of his fear, he may even get fearful on hearing very loud and fierce sound.
Sometimes, parents and elder siblings evoke fear in. the child to make him stop crying or to dissuade him from doing something that the elders deem unfit. Recourse to such a strategy, too often, would harm the emotional build-up of the child. It would not prove good for his physical health, and would distort the overall development of his personality.
The emotion of fear would make the child shriek, cry, run away crying, or he would tightly cling to his elder whom he trusts and feels closest to. The abdominal muscles contract, the heart-beat rises up suddenly, blood-pressure becomes abnormal. The face may also become whitened or discoloured, as a result of sudden arousal of fear. Fear may leave the child stunned and in a state of total immobility.
Fear is a state of a feeling of insecurity. A sense of security is its antidote. The child should be provided an environment where he can feel totally safe. A loving care would generate a sense of security in the child. To safeguard the child from the harmful effect of fear, it is essential that he must not be exposed to a situation which may prove dreadful for him.
To adopt frequently, the strategy of frightening a crying or naughty child in order to silence him, would harm the emotional development of the child. For the proper development of the child, it is essential that the child should feel free and secured for activities of his interest. [Or, rather, for a young child, we should provide activities to be indulged in—the way to development lies through cheerful activities].
The presence of the emotion of anger, becomes evident when the child is screaming, flinging arms in the air, or, is kicking with his leg/ legs anything that may come his way; holding breath, is yet the other symptom of anger.
A child is provoked to anger when he cannot get a thing that he wants or, do what he is inclined to do. And, when the child finds that anger helps him in being allowed to have his own way, he begins to show anger at the slightest opposition to his will.
Good enough collected data regarding the behaviour of, as many as 1,878 children, when they were angry. His subjects were ranging from the age of 7 months to 8 years. This was a one month long study. The findings of Good enough provide a clue as to what sort of elderly responses suggest to the child that angry behaviour is an effective means to achieve what is desired.
Over-indulgent parents are more likely to yield to the motor or verbal resistance of their children made out of anger. Fourteen per cent of such resistances are rewarded. Sex-discrimination was found in this regard also—56 per cent of the outbursts of the male babies ranging in age between one to two months, are likely to be encouraged, but not those of the female babies to the same extent.
In case of children under two, the general causes which evoke anger are:
(i) Regarding clothing,
(ii) Toilet training,
(iii) Making the child sleep,
(iv) Regarding feeding,
(v) Restricting the child from doing what it is badly inclined to,
(vi) Failing in making others behave as it desires and
(vii) Other reasons.
(i) Regarding clothing:
A child under two, sometimes does not let itself be wrapped with some quilt, blanket or cover, and gets more angry when it is done forcibly. It is only later, when the child is between two and five that it insists on putting on some particular clothes only.
A child under two rarely does so. It is also very rare, for a child under two, to try to take off some head-covering or footwear, and, when restricted from doing so, to burst out with anger.
Parents and other elders should acquiesce to the demand of the children, if it does not involve any harm. If children’s demands are generally neglected or refused, they would grow irritable and become more problematic. However, this impression should also not be created that through their insistence or obstinancy, they would get everything done as they desire.
(ii) Toilet training:
Toilet training is the main occasion when the child gets angry. Parents, generally, try that their two year or so old child should always give some hint when it is to defecate or urinate; should do the same only at a time when it is not very inconvenient to the mother.
But such a toilet training could be too harsh for the tender baby whose sphincters’ control is still not so developed. So, the training will have to be given patiently and judiciously.
Even when the child defecates, or empties its bladder, no annoyance should be expressed on the part of the parent on account that the same is being done at an improper time, or with more frequency than usual. Such behaviour of the elders, upsets the child, it gets initiated because of this. Rebuking the child for a thing over which it cannot exercise any control, will only make it tizzy.
If the child has to experience such behaviour often, it would harm its emotional build-up. The elders would find the child to have grown aggressive. The parent will have to see that the evacuation of the wastes is done without unnecessary disturbances; nor any attempt is made on her/his part to induce the child for evacuation when the system is not prepared for the same.
(iii) Making the child sleep:
Sometimes, parents or elders of the child, try to make him sleep when he is not sleepy at all. This creates tension for the child. The child becomes emotionally upset. If the feelings of the miffed child, are often suppressed through such an attempt, it may lead to serious distortion of the child’s behaviour.
Later on, this may be one of the reasons for thumb sucking, stammering or stuttering. The parents should know the amount of biological need of sleep age-wise; and, should make the child sleep only when it is felt that now the child is getting sleepy.
The child should have an adequate stint of sleep each time, and, with no disturbance whatsoever. Undisturbed, adequate sleep is quite essential for both physical growth and proper emotional development. The mother’s common experience also testifies the fact that the child happens to be very peevish when it has not had its full stint of sleep.
(iv) Regarding feeding:
Especially a working mother may not be able to respond timely to the child’s demand for feeding, which it makes through crying. It so much angers the child that it would not take nipple or the bottle into its mouth, as a protest against the delayed response of the mother.
And, if adequate feeding is not made, or if it is not to the liking and need of the child, this would also make the child annoyed. Causing annoyance, thus, repeatedly, would interfere with the emotional development of the child. The child would grow not only emaciated but peevish, too.
However, due gaps ought to be maintained between two feedings. And, while breast-feeding the child, the mood of the mother should be quite cheerful. If a natural maternal affection is meted out to the child, the effect would be very wholesome in the emotional build-up of the child.
(v) Restricting the child:
(From doing something that the child is badly inclined to). I have often seen my granddaughter, Manvi, getting infuriated when my wife would snatch a thing from her hand, the thing being such that could either hurt or harm her or be broken or destroyed.
A child does not happen to be cognitively matured enough as to understand what to do and what not; what thing is fit for him to play with and what is not suitable for him to play with (Fig. 10.4). So it would always like to have its own way and behave quite obstinately. Such an obstreperous child should be tackled psychologically.
1. Let the child take a thing or do something, if there is no harm involved in doing so.
2. If harm is involved, let his attention be diverted by presenting some more attractive alternative for him.
The reasoning has still not developed in your child, so do not get yourself annoyed at its unreasonable demand and recalcitrance, only diversion to some more attractive thing may be a solution. If the elders grow rough to a recalcitrant child, it would make the child more obstinate—”20 per cent of their outbursts” are due to verbal or physical restraints put in the way of their carrying out their desired activity.
(vi) Failing in making others behave as it desires:
Many a time, a child gets angry because he desires someone behave in a particular way, and failing to make the other do the same, becomes the cause of his annoyance. The baby may want another child not to touch it, likewise, he may want the other child sit on a particular place, in a particular manner. The child, many a time, attempts to direct the behaviour of other children or adults.
The latter may not follow, or, for any reason, would not do accordingly. The child even may not tolerate his mother sharing out her affection with child even if he is sibling. The child even may not tolerate the other child touching his mother or anyone or anything which is very dear to it.
Sometimes, a child is annoyed because of visitors coming to his house. Even, many adults living in the same house may be a cause for the child to get upset. The reason for the behavioural change in the child, under such social circumstances, is that the child would get less care.
(vii) Other reasons:
Other reasons making the child angry, may include ill-health or some physical ailment—innate or developed later on. As has already been described, some children may be easily excitable because of prenatal genetic or bio-chemical reasons. Such children need a careful and affectionate nurturing.
And, to do this, the parents or elders, looking after the children, will have to be very patient or tolerant. Nevertheless, it is not the case that over-indulgent and permissive guardians only can keep such children in a proper mood. Sometimes, children have to be restricted, or refused a thing, not in a harsh manner but quite judiciously.
A small child cannot feel anxious for achieving some future goals. It is only his bitter experience of the past, that he has perceived which the child happens anxious to avoid. A child remains anxious to avoid the situation causing unpleasant experience.
Hence, he may try to avoid the person responsible for such an experience; the place where the unpleasant incident occurred; things which were involved therein. The child, as he grows older, becomes more and more anxious to avoid something which may result in the withdrawal of love or care of those who are very much affectionate towards him.
The point for constant anxiety for a child happens to be to resist from a behaviour which may invoke displeasure of one who is so fond of him. Such is the sense of insecurity in the child, that he is constantly anxious not to lose the love and affection of his caretaker. Therefore, he tries to behave in a manner that pleases them.
If the past experience of a child reminds him that his call for feeding was not immediately responded to, he would cry more loudly, feeling anxious for the avoidance of the re-occurrences of a similar situation. The same thing is true with regard to the occasion when the child is in need of any physical thing, or, is to empty its bowels, or, has emptied its bladder.
The needs of the child, both physical and mental, are only very few. Yet the child, along with the development of his power to perceive, grows more and more anxious to avoid the re-occurrence of an unpleasant experience related to any of his needs.
A feeling of security and affection is among his important needs (Fig. 10.5). A child would anxiously resist himself from indulging in such a behaviour, which may engender a feeling of insecurity or may cause the withdrawal of affection towards him.
A child would exclaim out of glee when his nurturer fondles him, or makes him feel excessively happy (Fig. 10.6). Playing with favorite toys also makes a child cheerful. In a child, the emotion of joy is manifested through jumping, shouting, singing, and so on.
A smiling face is a sure sign of the feeling of joy; and it is only the human being who has been bestowed upon by nature with this mode of expression of joy. Other beings, too, have the emotion of joy which they express only through jumping or running to and fro, or through other kinds of frolicsome gestures.
The emotion of joy is good for our health. It boosts the process of physical growth, and brings about wholesome biochemical changes, as it stimulates such hormonal products which are helpful in the process of growth and development. One feels relieved of mental tension after going through the experience of joy.
The antithesis of anxiety is joy. The feeling of joy is possible only during the time when one is altogether free of a feeling of anxiety. The feeling of joy lightens the mind, relieves it of all tensions or worries thus improving the working capacity of the mind itself. A feeling becomes an emotion, when it is aroused to the level of high intensity.
Generally, a young child is not much obsessed with worries or tensions. So, to make him cry out of joy, is not so difficult to achieve, as it may prove to be in case of a grown up. As the child is passing through a period of rapid growth, arousal of joy proves quite stimulating in the process of growth and development.
Let the child indulge in such plays and activities which it very much likes. It is only during such times that a child may be jumping out of a strong feeling of joy. An environment, where a child is not often led to playful activities or gestures of joy, cannot be considered to be wholesome for the growth and development of the child.
So, the guardians need to see that their ward is not deprived of the occasions which can make him joyful, in a natural way.
Jealousy is a strong feeling, which makes one intolerant, sharing one’s dear possessions, with anybody else. This type of jealousy is possessive in nature, and, can be found in most children. A child, under two, can hardly tolerate someone else, even to touch its mother. It cannot tolerate anyone taking or even touching a thing of its liking or a thing of its possession.
Envy may also be important characteristics of jealousy. When the child feels that his younger sibling is getting more of the motherly affection, he would grow severely envious of his younger sibling, and may even desire to harm the younger sibling.
Also, when the child sees someone else in possession of something, or something being given to him, which is quite attractive for the child himself, then the child would grow envious of the one who possesses such an article. Under the strong impact of envy, one would not like anything of the other person, especially, anything indicative of good-luck, would make him more envious.
A feeling of jealousy cannot be said to be something unnatural. It is, rather, a natural phenomenon. When aroused to a level of great intensity, it may lead one to some unnatural behaviour. Hence, the guardian or guardians need to be on guard, that child does not grow strongly jealous of anyone else. If effective measures are not timely taken to cure the child of jealousy, the child may grow into a jealous person by nature.
The behaviour of such a child would be quite unsocial. He cannot even tolerate the presence of one, he is strongly envious of. He would withdraw from the company of others, and may be so distorted or frustrated in nature, when finding that he is unable to do anything against the object of his envy, that he would not be able to appreciate anything good of anyone else.
Such a person would not be co-operative. On the contrary, an envious person may cause harm to others, even to one not directly related to the object of his envy.
The most important prevention against the development of this emotion is that, in no case, the child should feel that he is less preferred to others in any matter whatsoever. Generally, when a new baby is born, the mother would, naturally, not be able to give as much exclusive attention to the older child as before. As a result, the older child may get the impression that he is being discriminated against.
For this, he holds the new baby responsible. The older sibling thinks that the affection which was reserved only for him has been snatched by his younger sibling. The older child grows bitterly envious of the younger baby.
To avoid the development of such a situation, the measures that may be effective are as follows:
(i) A new child should not be born till the youngest sibling is less than 4 years old.
(ii) The mother’s treatment should make the older child feel that her affection has, in no way, been reduced because of the new born baby.
(a) The mother should still devote adequate time fondling and playing with him.
(b) When the younger one has grown old enough to play with toys and others, it is essential that, whatever item is purchased for him to play, or to wear, or to eat or drink, should also be purchased for the older sibling as well.
(iii) The mother should make the older child play with the younger one; of course, she should be vigilant lest any harm should be caused, wittingly or unwittingly, to the youngest baby.
(iv) The mother should make the older child feel that the baby is his or her own brother or sister. For this, the mother should make the older sibling sit beside the younger one; play with him; talk to him; kiss him; fondle him. In this way, intimacy would increase, would grow stronger.
Love may, very well, be called a master feeling. The reason being, love is a very strong feeling or emotion and also many other feelings get their strength from it, as it is a primary source of energy. It is the feeling of love which unites the mother to her child; and the father and the mother of the child are bound together because of the feeling of love.
In the first case, it is the parental affection, while in the second, it is erotic—though Sigmund Freud and the other psychoanalysts do not find any difference between the two, so far the origin of them is concerned. According to them, both are erotic though the form of their expression may differ.
Love is such a strong emotion which makes one tolerant to all sorts of difficulties. One may be prepared to undergo the most difficult troubles, make the greatest sacrifice for the sake of one’s subject of love. A strong feeling of love that each mother has for her child is a very important factor for the proper emotional development of the child.
A child who has not had the affectionate care of his mother, as prompted by the emotion of love, cannot have a proper socialisation. His personality would remain dwarfed in respect of many traits of character. Love is the antithesis of jealousy which breeds hatred, and leads to repulsion.
Love leads to the union of the two, having mutual concern for the well-being of each other. Love binds not only two or more persons, but it can unite the entire people of a land into a bond of one single nationality. The wider the field of the effect of love, the better it would be for the welfare of humanity.
Here, we are concerned with a baby up to two years of age, so the effect of the feeling of love ought to be considered in that reference only. First, it is the mother in whom the love of a baby remains concentrated. As the child grows older, his attachment with other members of the family also develops.
It is love that is the base for such an attachment. And, when the child is still older, he develops contacts with other children of his age. The field of his love also goes on widening. Thus, love is a very strong binding force. The home environment, and later the environment of the nursery school, should be such which help in the generation or development of a strong feeling of love.