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1. Discuss three areas of emotional development that you learned from this book chapter. Why are these areas important to your work with adults?
SOURCE: Buckley, B., & Buckley, B. (2003). Children’s Communication Skills : From Birth to Five Years. Florence, US: Routledge.
Sample post: First 6 months, emotional development begins with sound. In particular, the child pays attention to the parents voice, especially the mothers voice. They are highly distractible; yet seek to know where sounds are being made and by whom. Children are particularly attuned to listening for familiar sounds of their caregivers and are soothed by friendly, familiar voices’ (Buckley & Buckley, 2003). Infants that hear a pleasant, familiar sound are more likely to listen and respond through looking and smiling. They are also prone to be selective toward sounds by focusing on the parent figure or other more quieter sounds that are nearer to them (2003). Emotionally, this information reflects how a child learns to manage sensory input, and therefore their emotional reactions or responses to stimuli. Children naturally want to move toward being soothed and to feeling safe and comforted.
As infancy grows, the baby can participate in shared focus with an adult, learning through the eyes of the adult their perspective and understanding of the world. As Buckley & Buckley (2003) note, this is ‘extremely important in enabling the baby to build up links between words and their meanings’ (p.25). Emotionally, words and their meanings are first communicated energetically through emotion; therefore, the baby learns to connote words and meanings with the emotional energy that is present, influencing their perspective and informing their understanding of what is safe and what isn’t safe.
As a baby’s understanding of the world grows, they are able to understand the uses of things around them, giving them a stronger grasp of the world. They also learn that just because things are not seen, they are not gone. This aspect of emotional development helps children become more secure in their environment, increasing their grasp, confidence and know-how of objects and the world around them. They learn that when their primary care-givers are away, they are likely to return; with greater understanding of what is, babies can become less emotionally reactive or fearful of certain things.
In the first years, babies naturally communicate and respond reflexively, in response to internal and external stimuli, to meet their needs through emotions; however, they also learn to intentionally communication their needs (2003). A child learns that when they respond in a particular way, they are likely to get a particular response, influencing change or effecting people in their environment. This communication is often preverbal. Babies learn emotions are a viable means to communicate with the world around them and to get their needs met through not having to say words but through observing the communication that happens through voice intonation and facial expressions (2003). As they learn words, they become more verbal in asking for their needs and what they want and in communicating their likes and dislikes.
These areas are important in working with adults as adults are sometimes like children. Especially, when adults are not taking care of themselves, stuck or feeling lost, they may have parts of themselves that are child-like which act out or which may need to be met emotionally first before they can come back to being their adult-self. Oftentimes, when adults are triggered they revert back to childlike ways, reacting emotionally and defensively in the ways they learned were effective to them as children. Adults, like children, also learn to communicate and get their needs met throughout their life through nonverbal gestures and expressions and continue to react or respond through emotional expressions, intonation, and play throughout adulthood. Therapists need to understand that adults are also emotional beings and that emotions do not disappear simply because they are adults. Therapists should not expect adults to be free of emotion or even to be emotionally intelligent, as many adults are not. Throughout our socialization, emotional intelligence is still not emphasized as a worthy subject to learn in schools; yet, emotions are important to understand in order to have healthy relationships and effective communication. Through understanding that we learn about emotions and how to communicate first through non-verbal means, through sound and their expressed meaning, and through other people’s reactions or responses, we can have more compassion and greater understanding of the important role emotions play in our lives. We can also understand how communication can become misunderstood or misinterpreted. Our understanding of objective reality does not come without emotion. As we learn objects as useful to us or when they are connoted as negative or dangerous, we learn to regard them as such; as adults, our understanding of objects are largely guided by our emotional understanding of them and often determines our responses.
2. There is a lot to reflect on in the readings and video Changing Times (2017) with regards to identity development. Reflect on your own lived experiences, clinical experience, or parental experience in addition to the research.
What were the major contributing protective and risk factors that influenced your adolescence? (Only share what you feel comfortable sharing.)
In your opinion, how are things similar and different for adolescents now?
SOURCES: Capuzzi, D., & Gross, D. R. (Eds.). (2019). Youth at risk : A prevention resource for counselors, teachers, and parents. American Counseling Association.
Crocetti, E. (2017). Identity Formation in Adolescence: The Dynamic of Forming and Consolidating Identity Commitments. Child Development Perspectives, 11(2), 145–150. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12226