This article throws light upon the four main characteristics of childhood emotionality. The characteristics are: 1. Children’s Emotions, as Compared to Adults are Marked by Intensity 2. Children’s Emotions are Brief and Transitory 3. Children’s Emotions are Expressed more Frequently, than those of Adults 4. Emotional Reactions are Quite Flexible.
Characteristic # 1. Children’s Emotions, as Compared to Adults are Marked by Intensity:
Children’s emotions, as compared to adults are marked by intensity even if the situation provoking emotional reactions is very trivial. It is difficult for children to moderate their emotional expression, whatever it may be fear, anger and joy.
As they start growing, they begin to exercise restraint over their emotions in relation to the magnitude of the situation. They learn to control or restrain or modify the emotional expression as a result, of learning, punishment, criticism, reasoning or others approval or disapproval.
Characteristic # 2. Children’s Emotions are Brief and Transitory:
A child’s emotions may last only a few minutes and then end all of a sudden. The emotional reactions of adults are generally long drawn-out. When the intensity of emotional response subsides, the emotion remains in the form of ‘moods’ or emotional states drawn over a period of time and expressed slowly.
The child begins to show ‘moodiness’, expressed in ‘sulking’ and ‘bad humour’ around the fourth year. This reaches its peak during adolescence. The transitory nature of children’s emotions lies in a rapid shift from one emotion to another, from anger to smiles, or from laughter to tears.
Characteristic # 3. Children’s Emotions are Expressed more Frequently, than those of Adults:
In Dr. Krishnan’s words, “In a day a child may run though a larger gamut of emotions than a grow-up.” As he grows older, he gains in his ability to make adjustments to situations that call for the emotional reactions. He learns to meet these situations by reactions other than emotional. This result in a gradual decrease in the frequency of emotional responses.
Characteristic # 4. Emotional Reactions are Quite Flexible:
In the sense that children of the same age react in different ways to similar situations. Age modifies the strength of emotion. Some emotions grow stronger and others grow weaker. Much depends on the strength of needs, drives, motives and goals. Whether a child will be aroused emotionally or not, and how much he will be aroused depends on what he has at stake in the light of his needs, drives, motives and goals – i.e., frustration or blocking of needs.