One of the fundamental pillars of helping your children develop properly is knowing the issues behind their various stages of development. From birth to adolescence, you need to be aware that children face important issues.
And not just talking about physical changes, but at deeper levels, such as social development and psycho-emotional development. Therefore, as parents and caregivers, it is essential that you know and understand how your children are growing and adapting to their different stages.
Would you like to learn more about this important subject, to guide your children in the best possible way according to their phases? Then you are at the right place!
As a special educator specializing in children, I will explain here everything you need to know about the psycho-affective development of children.
In addition, I will provide you with tips on how to ensure and effectively develop their psycho-emotional and social skills. Remember that knowledge about children' s development will make a big difference in helping you avoid intervention pitfalls.
What is psycho-affective development?
Psycho-emotional development is present in the development of all human beings, since we are all, essentially, social beings. Each individual has a wide range of emotions, cognitive processes, and intra- and interpersonal relationships that mark them for the rest of their lives.
From the time we are children, this development becomes an inherent process in the social and emotional evolution of each being, when the first interactions with other people take place. Children begin to know themselves, to form their personality and to understand the social dynamics of the outside world.
We can then say that affective development is that process of maturation and formation in childhood, where children give form and meaning to their emotions and affectivity, as well as forge patterns of behavior and ways of living and interpreting their feelings, in relation to themselves and to society.
The importance of good psycho-affective development
Psycho-emotional development is the key to the formation of integral and responsible human beings with good self-esteem, self-control, confidence and competence. In addition, it will allow your children to develop adequately in school and in their future professional life.
On the other hand, psycho-affective development will give your children the emotional capacity to experience, recognize and regulate their emotions, as well as respond appropriately to stimuli and the emotions of others.
Many of these changes are accompanied by internal physiological states or, for very subjective reasons, are associated with behavioral changes due to external factors. Psychosocial development also manifests itself in your child's personality expressions and patterns.
From a young age, it is essential that you guide your children with the right guidance, taking into account their emotions and skills, so that they can become stable people who will make correct decisions and be able to assert themselves in their relationships with others.
When raising them, never neglect this dimension of their lives, for it is as important as the others! You must instill and teach your children to balance their inner world, full of emotions and feelings, with the outer social world, full of experiences and responsibilities.
The weight of social influence on psycho-affective development
Children take steps to eventually integrate into society by recognizing their own emotions. They thus become part of a socio-cultural sphere with specific norms, values, behaviors and attitudes that will govern their development, according to the learning guidelines of the family and the school.
The psycho-affective dimension encompasses all the emotional, socializing, and motivating experiences your child has with other individuals. Of course, these experiences are closely related to the pre-existing customs, beliefs and norms of social life.
Therefore, the psycho-affective development of the human being is closely linked to a society. Your children will gradually integrate into this society, actively participating in it, and according to their psyche and affections, their emotions and perceptions will develop, in accordance with their training and education.
A child who has had poor and neglected psycho-emotional development will tend to be an insecure, indecisive adult with little ability to adapt to the pressures of work or school. Even their long-term romantic relationships may be affected.
On the other hand, a child with healthy psycho-emotional development will be the opposite and will function effectively in work, school and even in interpersonal and emotional relationships. The difference is huge, and things can change, with the right guidance in the early years.
We can therefore say that your child 's psycho-affective formation is linked to society, and that society will influence your child's development in many ways, and vice versa. Such integration and correlation is something inevitable and essential that you, as a parent or guardian, must supervise.
And an important thing to keep in mind is that the psycho-affective process is a permanent one. But the decisive stage, which will mark a before and after in your child's life, will be in their childhood. This is why it is so important to raise and foster good psycho-emotional development in them.
How does psycho-affective development occur?
Currently, there are a variety of proposals and theories put forward by psychologists, psychiatrists and child specialists on how psycho-emotional development occurs in children. Let's briefly look at what some of them deal with in the following list:
John Bowlby's theory of attachment
For this specialist, the foundations of psycho-affective development begin with attachment between human beings, establishing emotional bonds with certain individuals. This begins when babies attach to their mother and father figures, then to other family members or caregivers, and finally to other people as they grow up.
Freud's psychodynamic theory
For Sigmund Freud, psycho-affective development begins when children are able to think, feel and express their own needs, becoming egocentric. Since then, children are formed in a psycho-affective way, in constant conflict between their desires and impulses against their moral and social conscience.
Skinner's behavioral theory
According to Frederic Skinner, the psycho-affective development of children is marked in operational terms of stimuli and responses, which influence and determine the behavior and future behavioral patterns of children. In this way, the actions of children are based on the reinforcement or correction of emotions.
Vygotsky's social constructivist theory
The theory put forward by Lev Vygotsky is that the psycho-affective development of children is closely influenced by the social function and culture in which the child must adapt. Their emotions and affections must be regulated, according to the socio-cultural conventions in which they will live, in order to develop properly.
The stages of psycho-affective development
As in the different proposals, on how psycho-affective development occurs in children, there are also different approaches on the significant changes that occur at age, in the psycho-affective process of children, at different stages or steps.
However, among specialists, the following classification is conventional:
Latency or childhood (0-1 year)
This is when children's psychosocial development begins, based on attachment, trust and distrust. Their minds are more instinctive and their capacity to react emotionally and expressively is limited by stimuli. Their impulses and needs predominate during this period.
Early childhood (2-3 years)
Children begin to show more emotions (such as shame, pride, shyness) and self-awareness. In addition, they face their limited autonomy and begin to verbalize their emotional states. Thus, they express their emotions openly to others and in advance.
Preschool (4-5 years)
At this stage, children express many more emotions and even motivations. Their self-discovery process is strengthened. They are more able to regulate their emotions, and to evaluate their feelings and inner states (their own and those of others), according to their awareness. The greater ability to communicate with others broadens their psycho-affective and pro-social development.
School children (6-12 years old)
By fully integrating into the school, in a larger social world, children increase their psycho-emotional skills to relate to others and better understand the emotions of others. Children are better able to coordinate their inner world with the responsibilities and demands of home, school and friends.
Children can also develop authentic or simulated expressive behavior, distinguishing real from fake feelings. On the other hand, they can freely experience multiple emotions towards other people and better evaluate their personal situation.
Finally, children in this phase perceive an increase in their social sensitivity, with regard to the social roles assigned to them. Their driving objectives become more socialized, they strengthen affective and social interests, while their cognitive and motor abilities increase.
Competencies that arise from psycho-affective development
Healthy psycho-emotional development in your children can lead to the formation of emotional skills, which are essential for their lives, as well as for an appropriate future and personal and social development. These skills are measured by the child's level of coping and self-efficacy.
Among the set of social-emotional and affective skills, oriented to the child 's ability to live in a social context, these will always be influenced by social experience, learning, history of interpersonal relationships, and belief and value system.
Thus, children are strongly connected to social-emotional stimulation. And it is in these more sensitive stages that you need to instill safety, foresight and responsiveness in their social environment in a positive way.
So let's look at some of the skills that emerge in the process of your children's psycho-emotional development:
- Awareness of one's own emotional state, to experience multiple emotions in a selective way.
- Ability to distinguish and understand the emotions of others in order to act in different situations, according to their importance and emotional significance.
- Ability to verbalize and express emotions, externalize inner state and act according to social roles.
- Ability to feel and generate sympathy and empathy for others, to engage with others.
- Competence to adapt and cope with negative emotions, through self-regulation of future emotional states.
- Awareness of the value of other individuals, depending on the degree of intimacy and emotional authenticity.
- Sense of emotional reciprocity, to give and receive authentic emotions with maturity.
- Emotional self-efficacy, when the child accepts a variety of emotional experiences, from different social and cultural sources, to form an emotional balance.
So, how can I promote the proper psycho-affective development of my children?
If you are a parent, caregiver, teacher and responsible for a child, it is necessary that you know, first of all, how a child's psycho-emotional development takes place. Secondly, it is essential that you have relevant strategies and knowledge to stimulate your child to achieve emotional and social maturity.
By doing so, you will ensure that your child can manage and express emotions appropriately, build positive relationships and meaningful connections with others, and grow into a functional and stable adult. This requires focused education, professional help and unconditional love.
For this reason, and to encourage responsive care, which is the key to your child 's healthy growth and development with themselves and others, here are some tips for promoting good psycho-emotional development in your children:
Teach them to verbalize what they are feeling
Part of a healthy psycho-emotional process is to teach your children the ability to express (without fear of reprimand or punishment) how they feel and think in different situations. Whether they are happy or sad, encourage them to talk about their emotions without shame.
This way, you avoid your children developing grief or inferiority complexes, while ensuring that they develop a strong personality. Don't restrict their freedom to express their inner world, as this will help you understand them better.
Another important point for your children to have emotional balance is that you instill in them the seed of empathy for others. In this way, you will increase their emotional intelligence by encouraging them to think about how others would feel and how they should act.
You can take advantage of any situation, from everyday events, such as when your children lose a toy, to more sensitive and complex circumstances, such as school activities or living spaces with other children, so that they learn to show solidarity.
Allows you to explore new emotions
From the moment they are born, your children are exposed to an infinite number of new circumstances, from which they can experience many things. Don't limit them to positive and negative experiences in the family, at school or with their friends.
There is no better mentor than the experience itself, and through it they will learn new feelings, sensations, social interactions and multiple circumstances, which will help them adapt to new environments, as well as regulate their own emotions, in relation to others.
In addition, through intrapersonal and interpersonal exploration, your children will learn to recognize the sociocultural restrictions and limitations around them, which they will have to learn to manage and live with. You can also educate them yourself about what is and is not okay to feel or express.
Show them affection and instill responsibility
Don't skimp on ways to show affection: hugs, games, homework help, talking and reading. Let your child know that he or she is loved and wanted, that he or she is important and that you are satisfied with his or her accomplishments.
And at the same time, don't hesitate to set rules, standards and patterns of behavior, so he can regulate his emotions and learn to balance his inner world with the responsibilities of the outer world. Be flexible but concise with your boundaries between what is allowed and what is not.
Give your child the opportunity to interact with other peers
One of the most effective ways to achieve good psycho-emotional development is to allow your child to interact, play and live with other children his or her age. Help your child explore the world and the people around him by encouraging generous and kind behavior with each other.
Acknowledge your child's feelings and show them yours
Another way to facilitate psycho-emotional recognition in your children is to be expressive with them. Let your child see and notice when you are happy, sad or angry. In this way, they will learn to distinguish the characteristic expressions and gestures of each mood and be able to imitate them.
In the same way, you can tell how positive or negative your child is feeling. If necessary, teach your child to channel his or her emotions and express them appropriately. You can encourage your child to talk about his or her feelings and the situations that bring those feelings about.
Create emotional moments and social opportunities
For your child to grow in the psycho-emotional realm, give them the opportunity to create scenarios so they can experience new emotions, and feel good about themselves, while going through the process of self-awareness. This can be a movie, a visit to the zoo or a family outing to the beach.
Any meaningful experience is welcome, so that your child can recognize and regulate his or her emotions. In addition, exposure to social settings (such as birthday parties or school trips) will help your child discern how to behave and interact confidently with others.
With these tips and recommendations, you will be able to promote healthy and effective psycho-emotional development so that your children can become emotionally stable and functional adults in the future. The key is to inform, show affection and instill the necessary guidelines.
Remember that your advice and instructions are essential for your little one to mature properly. And if you still have concerns, or if you want to know more about how to develop a good psycho-emotional process for your child, don't hesitate to consult the professionals!
At the Clinique de l'Enfant, I provide you with the best personalized advice, conferences, concrete and practical training.
Our renowned clinic works with homes, daycare centers, schools and others. We serve the municipalities of St-Martin, St-Georges, Notre-Dame-des-Pins, Beauceville, St-Benoît, St-Éphrem, Sainte-Marie, St-Joseph, Vallée-Jonction, St-Prosper, St-Côme and others, upon request.
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