Personality and Emotional Development

Social and emotional development is important as the child grows up. It defines how children relate with others, regard themselves, develop a sense of self-worth and develop the capability to communicate their feelings and emotions. Maurice (2003) notes that social emotional learning imparts particular set of skills which, coupled to academic knowledge, ensure the children grow up into morally upright and responsible individuals. Social emotional learning should, therefore, be a basic part of the academic education. The families, communities and schools should strive to create an environment that develops and responds to the social, emotional and developmental needs of children.

Several skills and personal capabilities are essential for the positive social development of an individual’s life. Three of those skills are capability to reason, the capability to commiserate and the capability to communicate (Maurice, 2003). These skills or capabilities are learnt as a person passes through the different stages of life and they are dependent on the background and kind of communications that surround the individual. The family environment is one of the surrounding that has a critical role to play in the development of these skills and capabilities. The family is an important source of guidance and teaches the child a lot during the early years of a child all through to adolescence since children in such age groups spend substantial amount of their time in the family setting. The quality of the family environment determines the kind of social and emotional skills the child learns.

Positive family environment encourages development of positive social-emotional skills while a negative one imparts negative behaviors on the children. A family environment ought to have certain qualities in order to contribute to development of positive social skills. Such qualities include family members being responsible and caring, family being guided by ethical principles and standards based on acceptable morals such as religious beliefs and showing empathy to others and solving problems creatively (Maurice, 2003). Conversely, some qualities inhibit the development of positive social skills. Such include families with problem of drug abuse, abusive and/or violent family members(Maurice, 2003). The environment created by the negative family interactions most likely imparts negative social skills on the children. For instance, according to Erik Erikson’s developmental stages, conducting an activity such as toilet training in a shaming manner, during the early stages of a child’s development (up to 3 years), would lead to the child developing low self-esteem thus negatively influencing his or her social skills (Atalay, 2007).

Classroom environment is another crucial setting that significantly affects the development of social-emotional skills. Studies indicate students can learn social and emotional skills from exemplary behaviors demonstrated in the classroom by the teachers and peers (Matson, 2009). Some qualities of the school and classroom environment that help to develop positive skills among the students are a challenging and encouraging environment, but not a threatening environment. The environment should be a place where the learners feel applauded, appreciated and cared about and viewed as equals. A classroom environment should also have guidelines and rules that abet positive behavior such as empathy, discipline, assisting others and cooperation. Conversely, according to Matson (2009) a quality of a classroom environment that could hinder the development of positive skills is one in which the teachers only push their goals that are contrary to achievement of social goals of the students. According to Erikson’s developmental stages, a classroom environment that does not promote the sense of equality among the students would result into the development of low self-esteem in students who feel inferior to their peers (Atalay, 2007).

In conclusion, social and emotional development is a very important part of effective education. It helps to nurture responsible and socially upright individuals that academic instruction cannot achieve single handedly. The family and classroom environments are some of the settings that play a critical role in determining the development of positive social skills. Negative family and school environments hinder the development of social skills whereas positive qualities in these environments, such as a challenging and encouraging setting and cooperation and showing empathy promotes the development of positive social skills.

References

Atalay, M. (2007). Psychology of crisis: An overall account of the psychology of Erikson, Ekev Academic Review, 11(33), 15-34.

Matson, J. L. (2009). Social behavior and skills in children. New York: Springer, LLC.

Maurice, J. E. (2003). Academic and social learning. Brussels, Belgium: International Academy of Education.

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