This article throws light upon the six important social and moral qualities in child during three to five years. The qualities are: 1. Love 2. Jealousy 3. Joy 4. Curiosity 5. Anger 6. Fear.
Social and Moral: Quality # 1. Love:
Love is a Master Emotion; it is a key to the desired emotional development of a child. Many important social and moral qualities have their origin in it. Many animals, besides human beings, also have Love as a strong emotion; it affects their reactions and behaviour immensely.
Here, we shall, particularly, see how the emotion of Love develops during the third to the fifth year of childhood; in what different forms it expresses itself in reference to different persons and situations; and how it is important in the development of different social and moral qualities.
If we consider the patterning of maternal affection, we find it to be changing through three stages. The first is the Protection Stage, when the mother’s affection is total and fully caring. She looks after three functions in regard to the baby (i) Feeding, (ii) Maintaining proper body temperature of the baby, and (iii) Handling the body’s eliminative needs.
The second is the Transitional or Ambivalence Stage, when the mother wants her child to have less physical contact with her. She allows exploratory movements of the child to increase. Of course, her protective attention would be required more now.
In the beginning, the number of negative responses of the child may be quite high, but the number of the same goes on decreasing as the child grows older; his skill in avoiding punishment increases along with decrease in physical contacts with his mother.
A necessary step in the process of socialisation of all mammals is the child’s/young one’s lessening dependence on its mother. How the mother weans away the child from the latter’s habit of clinging to his mother, is a matter of skill—good mothering goes a long way in the process of the child’s development.
The child’s decreasing dependence on his mother would increase occasions for the child to make exploratory attempts into his physical and social environments. This change in the pattern of maternal love is the time which would make the child more competent in meeting the problems of his larger world.
The progression of transition depends upon many factors. The main are mother’s previous experiences with the child; mother’s status in the group; personality variables of the mother, and, the behavioural characteristics of the child. The mother remains vigilant and greatly protective, lest the child should cross the point of danger.
The third is the Stage of Maternal Separation. This stage comes through a series of developments. The stage is the result of a long series of interactions between mother and the infant—it happens to be the cumulative effect of these series. This stage may be considered to be the final stage so far as the emotional development of the child, in its relations with its mother, is concerned.
The child has, now, developed his emotional attachment with other members of his family, as well as with his peers and schoolmates. The love, which was previously only filial, has become divergent. Such sort of emotional divergence is must for the child to grow into a social being.
If a nursery level child, continues to be emotionally attached with the same fierce intensity, to his mother, the child cannot be considered to be emotionally normal. However, a sudden separation from his mother, which generally happens on the successive birth of a child before the older child is four years old, harms the emotional growth of the child, thus separated suddenly. The same thing will happen in case of sudden demise of the child’s mother.
In such a condition, the male parent needs to fill the vacuum to the greatest possible extent. The father (or some elderly sibling) will have to mother the child with an intense maternal affection, otherwise the adverse impact may become a life-long syndrome.
Maternal love loses its previous intensity, as the child advances in its exploratory expeditions, towards other attractive objects and places. “The age-mates become more and more rewarding companions”. The mother ceases to be “The sole affectional object of the maturing infant”.
The peer’s affectional tie, nevertheless, cannot supplant motherly affection, but they serve as additional ties (Fig. 11.4). The peer’s affectional ties are essential to satisfy the new needs which are now dominant for the growing child. The juvenile also seeks satisfaction for his needs in the company of his peers. The peer affectional system also progresses under a certain pattern, and, through a number of developmental series.
Social and Moral: Quality # 2. Jealousy:
A persistent strong feeling against someone, is jealousy. Jealousy is such a self-centred feeling which does not let others possess what the jealous person so dearly wants to keep to himself only. What is thus desired to be possessed, may be a person or a thing.
A jealous person feels very envious of the other, who, he is afraid, is possessing that person or thing, or is likely to deprive him of the possession of what he desires to keep to himself only.
One who is envious, cannot tolerate even the successes and achievements of the other that he is envious of. Successes and achievements of such a person, would rather, enrage the envious person. The one who is envious of the other, cannot tolerate the well-being of the latter.
Jealousy is a burning feeling, and a jealous person cannot live with peace with himself; he may always be thinking of causing some harm to the other or others that he is feeling envious of. Now, we shall deal with jealousy in reference to a child ranging from three to five years of age.
It is the age when a modern child, generally, happens to be in a nursery. We shall see here what are the reasons which may cause jealousy in a kid of that age.
A nursery school child has to experience a sudden separation from his mother for a quite long period every day. To adjust to this changed situation is not so easy for a child. If the environment of the school is not appealing or affectionate, the separation of the child from his mother may prove all the more shocking.
In addition to this, if a teacher in a nursery school praises one student too much, loves one too much, or seems to be loving one particular student too much, it may become a cause for envy for some other student or students. And, such an envious child may try to tease or harass one so greatly praised by their teacher.
A teacher may encourage a student who does good things, or does good at his school work, or rather, a teacher should praise such a student because such behaviour of a teacher proves to be a big reward for the student thus appreciated, and would make such a student do more efforts to do still better. Cheering up by a teacher happens to be highly reinforcing.
However, the teacher’s praise for one should not appear to be a humiliation for the other or others. While uttering the words “Good”, “Well done”, “Quite good”, “Excellently done” or so on, he or she should not abuse any other student or students with the words such as “Stupid”, “Foolish”, “Donkey” etc.
The teacher, instead of humiliating others, or putting them to shame, should try to teach them with patience and with a sincere feeling for their well-being that they should also emulate the example of a good student.
Sometimes, parents’ unwise praise for one of their children, spoils relationship among the siblings. One sibling grows envious of the other because of such a behaviour of the parents. The behaviour of a teacher or of a parent with a child should not be such as to provoke anger of others against such a child.
The students who are lagging behind or are weak mentally, should be treated with more sympathy and patience. Treating them harshly, may make them envious of the one who is fast, and, is the subject of praise by one or more teachers.
A child who is grown up enough to understand that in some respects, he is less benignly bestowed upon by Nature than others, he does not appear to be so handsome or cute, is not so bodily healthy or stout; is not so quick in learning a thing etc., he may grow envious of such a lucky one who is benevolently bestowed upon in all these respects; and more so if on account of these, he is more endearingly treated.
The only solution in such a situation is that, his natural short comings, in no way, should lead others to treat him with less affection or care. One, who is discriminated against, is very much likely to grow vengeance against the one, against whom he is discriminated. In many cases, the behaviour of others, happens to be responsible for the engendering of a feeling of envy, and for its rousing to the level of emotion.
The child should always feel that no one is being loved more than he is. Impartiality must appear in the behaviour of the teacher, and in that of the other elders, too. If recognition is to be given to the better performance of someone, and he is to be praised for the same, it should be done in such a way that none else feels humiliated or teased because of that.
The teacher should rather involve other students in applauding someone for good performance.
Social and Moral: Quality # 3. Joy:
Joy is the antithesis of anxiety and fear. No one likes to be in a situation of fear or anxiety. On the other hand, one likes to be immersed in a situation of joy. In other words, everyone likes to feel happy and seek ways of getting pleasure; joy is the result of an entertaining situation. Joy is such a heightening feeling, a recreating feeling that we see adults expending a good amount of money for a situation of joy.
The first main event that curtails the joy of a child is that of weaning. It is with great difficulty, that the child has to be adjusted to the changed situation. The second situation, to which the child can adjust, only with much difficulty, is the one when he is separated from his mother, for his nursery school.
Only the very affectionate behaviour of the teachers there can help the child in adjusting to the changed situation. For the first time the child is separated from his home, for such a long period. For the first time, he has to face so many new persons to adjust to. It is a very difficult situation that the child has been put into.
If the old belief “Spare the rod and spoil the child”, is the rule in the school; and if the school has no broader target to achieve than the 3 Rs, then there would be no scope for joy there.
What is badly needed is the parental affection on the part of the teachers to compensate the loss of affection of the mother, and of other elderly members of the family. The situation would be grim if sincere motherly affection is lacking in the teachers of the nursery.
A school has to provide a joyful ambience for its students. No development of any sort is possible unless the children are free from fear or anxiety. A feeling of joy is very essential for development, may it be physical, cognitive or emotional development.
A child, shocked or traumatized because of a sudden deprivation of the affectionate homely environment, or, is otherwise frightful because of the harsh treatment of a teacher, can hardly adjust himself to the school, and no learning can take place. The first motto of every school should, therefore, be to keep the child in a happy mood.
The first need for the joy of the child is that he should be able to indulge in such games or activities, liking for which is so natural to him because of his age and circumstances. In the book of Jean Piaget titled as Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood, it has been shown that initially, a play is only for the sensory-motor development of the child, but later, it gets significance because of its representational value or imitation.
Where a child is restricted from such a play, he would grow unhappy. Both at home and at his nursery, the child should get adequate occasions for play. Nothing can fill a child with more joy than a playful activity.
The school, which compels little kids to remain passive while the teacher is busy teaching some lesson to the class, deprives the kids of a feeling of joy. And, so long as the children are sitting passively with a long face, no learning can take place. No development is possible. A child enjoys activities. It is through activities that he should be taught his lesson. Way to development lies through joyful activities (Fig. 11.5).
Children should never get the impression that the elders are too busy to listen to them. It is with great, sincere interest and patience that the elders should listen to the children. The behaviour of the elders towards young children should not make the latter feel that they are considered of no importance by the elders.
The elders should not only listen to them but they should, also, talk with them, play and enjoy games with them—if not often, at least some times.
The parents should see to the physical and emotional needs of the infant. The satisfaction of these needs should be timely and adequate. Only then, the children can remain in such a mood that they can cry and bubble with joy, play frolicsome games and may otherwise be prompted by an emotional explosion of joy.
Social and Moral: Quality # 4. Curiosity:
We have dealt with three important emotions above. Now, we are dealing with curiosity, as an emotion. Before coming to the psychological phenomenon of curiosity, it would be proper to rethink what is an emotion and how does it differ from a need or a drive.
Now, a need is a want, a physical or psychological state which makes us feel that something is lacking, and, such a feeling makes one behave in a way that the need may be fulfilled. If the behaviour thus, initiated by a need, is surcharged by an intensely aroused feeling, such a state of feeling is called an emotion.
Thus, we can say that need initiates an action, drive is the impetus for that action; motive is that which maintains the continuity of that action; and it is the action itself, which indicates the presence of the related emotion. If there is no action or reaction to some external stimulus or to some inner need or urge, presence of an emotion cannot be perceived.
Curiosity is a desire to know about something or someone. This desire in its extreme form, with high intensity, grows into an emotion. Then, it makes its subject behave in a strong manner, sometimes in a rash manner, to have an access to the object of curiosity.
In such a state of intense curiosity, it is very difficult for its subject to resist himself from behaving in such a manner that his curiosity may be satisfied. Nor, it is easy for others to dissuade or desist him from such behaviour.
And if, by force, such an intensely curious child is restrained from such a behaviour, which alone can lead to the satisfaction of his curiosity, he would get angry, and behave in an aggressive way to remove the hurdle.
If he fails in removing the hurdle, or the hurdle appears to be too big for him to remove, he may become frustrated. Both the conditions are not good for a desirable emotional growth of the child. And, the period of his growth, from 3 to 5 years, is such when the intensity of curiosity happens to be very high.
The elders and the teachers should, rather, treat the phenomenon of the curiosity of the children at their disposal, in such a way that this endowment of Nature may prove highly beneficial to the children in the process of development, especially, in that of cognitive and emotional fields.
The satisfaction of curiosity means learning, the successful exploration of surroundings—both physical and social (Fig. 11.6). The elders and teachers should, rather, encourage such explorations, and, provide the needful facilities for the same. They are to work as facilitators in the explorations of their children.
Curiosity when ignored, or way to its satisfaction is thwarted, leads to the development of other emotions, such as anger or grief. Anger and grief, as frequent emotions, have their adverse effect on the emotional growth of the child.
Hence, it is in the interest of the desirable emotional development of the child, to provide not only for the proper satisfaction of the emotion of curiosity but to provide such an environment also for the child, where he may grow more curious to know about a lot many new things. And, these things should be such, that the knowledge of which, may prove an important addition to the existing repertoire of the child.
Social and Moral: Quality # 5. Anger:
Anger shows the strong opposition of a person to an event or situation. It indicates the situation to be hardly tolerable. A strong opposition to a situation which is unjust, or otherwise harmful, is must for survival. However, when we speak of anger, in reference to a child who is not older than five years, then it means irritability, which makes the behaviour of a child aggressive.
If a child becomes habitual to resorting to such behaviour, it would be an indicator of an undesirable emotional growth. To avoid the development of such a situation, the first thing that the elders need to do, is to acquiesce to such of the child’s demands where no harm is involved.
It is still too early to expect reasonable thinking from a child. Sometimes, he may insist on taking a particular thing, or on doing something, to agree to which, may cause some avoidable pains or trouble to the elders. Even then, it is in the interest of the proper emotional growth of the child to let him have his own way, provided no harm is involved therein.
There may be many internal causes for the child’s irritability. The child may be hungry, or may be feeling thirsty. He may be feeling uneasy because of inadequate protection against inclement weather; or, the room of the child may not be properly ventilated.
The child may not have had a full stint of his sleep, or some ailment may be a reason for the child’s uneasiness. A state of frequent irritability would be provoking the child to anger, and, thus upsetting the process of his emotional growth.
The behaviour of the mother, and in case of a child ranging between three and five, that of the other elders and teachers, should be such that the child should not feel ignored, or as not getting full- affectionate nurturance. (“Nurturance”—Murray has used it in his book Exploration in Personality).
If the elders of the family are too busy to listen to the childlike chats of their ward; are unable to play with the child; the teacher, himself, is annoyed because of the childish manners of the kids, and scolds or roughs them often, then the children too would grow miffed, and, anger would be an overwhelming emotion [Figs. 11.7 (a), (b)].
Getting angry at trifles, is such a characteristic weakness of personality, that it would prove a great hurdle in the progress of a person.
Social and Moral: Quality # 6. Fear:
In a study, a group of 10-year-old students were asked to record the most important event of their life. One-third of the events, thus recorded, were related to the experience of fear. In some cases, fear was the result of such events as being bitten by a dog (or by some insect etc.); being hit by something, or of such parental warnings as “Stay away from fires”; “watch out for some poisonous or harmful animal or insect”.
Some cases recorded were just of the symbolic nature. Jersild and Markey found 20 per cent of the children’s fears to be imaginary—related to imaginary creatures, to darkness or being alone.
Dunlop GM has classified fears into four categories:
1. Realistic fears are the fears related to actual events, or are related to such events which could have happened.
2. Fears related to events which have very remote chances of occurring, are included in this category. The examples are a child is looking at a lion in some zoo, and harbours the fear of being devoured by the same; is sitting safe on a step of a ladder but entertains the fear of falling down from the same, and so on.
3. Unrealistic fears make the third category. Fears of ghosts, witches etc. are the examples. Unrealistic fears are based on non-existed causes.
4. In the fourth category are the fears evoked because of a mysterious situation; evoked in regard to something not known. Such fears are always imaginary. A child who is alone, or is in the darkness, generally, falls a prey to such a fear. Due to family environment, even little children, younger than five, become afraid of gods and goddesses. They become fearful as they are often reminded of the ire of such supernatural powers. Fear of sin and fear of the ensuing punishment should also be included in this category.
Fear is not always harmful. Fear makes one run away or protect oneself from something which may cause harm to the person. Thus, fear is an emotion which is essential for the survival of the living beings. A child becomes fearful of something or someone which, in the past, has caused pain or trouble or harm of some sort, to him.
The painful experiences of the past would make the child avoid similar situations which were responsible for the bitter experiences. My granddaughter, Twishi, had once fallen down from a wooden horse she would not ride it, in spite of all our assurances for her safety. If a dog, even once has run after a child, he would grow afraid not only of that particular dog but of all dogs.
Generalisation of a cause of fear, in many cases, would prove a big hurdle in the normal working of a child. So, through teaching the needful related facts, the child needs to be freed from unreasonable fears. He will have to be taught that it is not always the case that one falls down from a staircase or from a wooden horse, and so on. Nor, is every dog fierce and would cause harm.
The child needs to be taught, that in most of the events leading to bitter, fearful experiences, the fault was that of the child himself. Teaching a child how to behave for full safety is an important part of informal education. While lighting a match stick, a child may have realised that it could burn someone; but for that we cannot let our child grow fearful of a match stick even when he is grown up enough to use it.
A young child roughed by a nursery teacher, may generalize the experience, and, grow afraid of all teachers. Examples are there that because of such a sort of generalisation the child fails to pursue his education, and, the entire direction of his life is changed.
Fear is a persisting emotion, obsession with it, leaves one non-attentive to other important issues. A child fearful in the class would fail to pay attention to the lesson of the class. Hence, it is not advisable for a teacher or parents or elders, to adopt fear as a strategy to make the child calm and obedient.
It is because of the detrimental effects of fear, that corporal punishment is considered un-psychological. Do not coerce a child to work evoking fear, rather, make the work so interesting that the child is automatically attracted to it, and, continues to attend his lesson with longer span of attention.
Parents who are very strict, harsh and howling would cause the greatest harm to the emotional growth of the child. Only a reasonable strictness of affectionately caring parents can help in desirable emotional growth.
Parents of the first category may leave the child terrified, timid or shy for the entire life. Even when such a child has grown up, he would be feeling shy of the company of others, and, would be of a withdrawing nature.
A young child may feel fearful of someone or something very big and ugly, very fast moving and producing very loud sound. It is only with age that many childish fears become extinct. However, if during childhood, fear had been regularly used by the parents and elderly siblings to silence the child, the child would grow into a timid adult.
So, it is in the interest of the proper development of the child that his unrealistic fears, ought to be removed by way of convincing him that there exists no cause for such fears.
Long illness or hospitalization affects adversely, not only the physical growth but also the emotional development of the child. Not knowing exactly what he is suffering from, he grows fearful “……….he may take it to be some punishment, especially, if parents have related it to some shortcoming of the child.
He may revert to earlier social and emotional behaviour; he may react rebelliously; he may enjoy being sick because of the care he receives.”
Sometimes, such a situation may prove helpful in the development or emotional maturity. It can be possible only if the child’s relationship with his parents is full of warmth, and, rational, too; the elders, looking after him, have understanding and resourcefulness of the desired level; and the child himself is not emotionally unstable.
If all these favourable factors are present, the experience of illness, and for that matter, of any trouble or mishap, may have its constructive effect in the development of emotions … the child may develop more patience and fortitude in the face of adversities.
Of course, this is applicable in case of children who are nearing adolescence. But, if a child is not progressing normally in motor activities as he grows in age, it would also have its adverse effect on the emotional growth of the child. During early childhood, one should have learnt walking, started taking solid food, talking, controlling elimination, relating oneself to others, and so on.
A school-going child should be able to adjust to his school; should learn reading and writing; should learn to get along with his age-mates; should be independent in many of the routine activities. If a child lacks in all these matters even after getting adequate time to adjust himself, or learn, he will start suffering from a feeling of frustration.