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Characteristics of Emotional Development during Childhood and Adolescence



We give below briefly characteristics of emotional development from the age of five to the as of seventeen based on several studies.

Emotional Development during Childhood

Childhood is a unique stage of development  with a view to emotional development. In childhood emotions are expressed more or less like social expression. The child begins to control the expression of emotions. The intensity of the impulses begins to decrease.

Characteristics of Emotional Development during Childhood

1. Lack of Intensity of Emotions

In childhood emotions lose their intensity. They are not as aggressive as infancy. As a result of the beginning of socialization, the child tries to suppress emotions or expresses them in a graceful manner. He does not reveal to parents, teachers and to other big personalities such emotions as are considered undesirable.

2. Jealousy

In Childhood, the children develop a sense of envy and hatred for some reason or the other, and may be found in the boys and girls teasing their brothers and sisters or colleagues, making false allegations, slandering or mocking. The child is often jealous when he has lost any right or finds others in a better position than himself.

3. Fear

In childhood, a child has a sense of fear, this fear is somewhat different from that of an infant stage. In this stage fear is associated with things to come. The fear of not getting good grades in exams, not doing homework, or being unable to answer the question in class.

4. Frustration

In childhood, the child suffers from a feeling of hopelessness. Discipline rules framed by the family, society and the school act as impediments to the will of the children. Children may develop feelings of hopelessness as their desire has not been fulfilled.

5. Forceful Curiosity

In childhood, boy and girl have a strong curiosity. He seeks to gain knowledge of why and how by asking questions about the why and how of things that he comes in contact with.

6. Anger

The main cause of anger is despair. When things are interrupted or needlessly criticized, the child becomes angry. In childhood, the momentum of anger becomes strong. The child expresses his anger in silence, sadden, or even by quarrelling with his brothers and sisters or even by picking & throwing up things.

7. Joy

Profligacy is an exhilarating expression. When a pleasant or joyful situation arises, the child experiences the vivacity of joy. Interesting foods or the desired sports material may cause the child to be amused.

8. Affection

Like proformance, affection is also a pleasant emotion. The child expresses his feeling of affection towards persons or things he wishes to live with or help. He shows his affection for the things and persons in whom he finds pleasure.


Five to Eight Years


Children of five to eight years in age:

1. Are actually frightened by certain events or by the associational recalled by such events.

2. Are alternately aggressive and sympathetic

3. Boys quarrel and use more physical force than girls.

4. Girls show more fear than boys.

5. Show fear of being alone.

6. Show fear of imaginary creatures, witches, bogies

7. Some children find satisfaction in fanciful companions.

8. Show show fear of criminal characters, funeral matters, characters from stories and pictures, remote animals, blood, death, fainting people.

9. Want love and affection from adults.


Nine to Eleven Years


1. Are embarrassed in showing affection toward parents in front of peers.Children of nine to eleven years in age.

2. Are influenced by parental praise

3. Are self-conscious about sexual development.

4. Assune a feeling of martyrdom with siblings

5. Enjoy being recognised as participants in making family plans.

6. Find satisfaction if participating in community activity

7. Gain satisfaction from their ability to achieve.

9. Seek love objects outside their families, "hero worship'.8. May have sudden 'crushes'.

10. Show fewer fears than children of six to eight years in age.


11. Show more loyalty to their team and peers.

12. Strongly concerned over group recognition.

13. Draw conclusions from what they see.

14. Like active games, follow the leader, flying kites

15. Make collections of almost anything.

16. Prefer books and radio programmes of adventure, comedy and drama.



Twelve to Fourteen Years.


Children of twelve to fourteen years in age:

1. Are less responsible due to fear of failure.

2. Are unstable and restless.

3. Assert themselves better as individuals.

4. Are troubled when they manifest effeminate characteristics.

5. Indicate anxiety and conflict over appearance of secondary sex characteristics.

6. Indicate feelings of persecutions.

7. Evidence strong superstitions

8. Feel inadequate if maturation differs from group average.

9. Feel keen pressure to succeed and may even use dishonest methods to win recognition


10. Have new interest in their own bodies and personalities.

11. Resort to fantasies.

12. Show concern over "future

13. Spend more time alone.

14. Start to devaluate parents and turn to other adults.


Fifteen to Seventeen Years


Children of fifteen to seventeen years in age:

1. Develop an interest in opposite sex.

2. Boys use physical means of retaliation when angry.

3. Common sources of anxiety are feelings of guilt and inadequacy

4. Develop convictions for ideals.

5. Develop firmer and deeper friendships.

6. Develop understanding of own sex toles.

7. Fall in and out of love.

8. Girls resort to excessive talking, crying, and restless behaviour when angry.


9. Group social life begins to mould feelings.

10. Have difficulty in playing fair with themselves and others.

11. May try to escape pressures for success.

12. Overwork and perfectionism often indicate emotional difficulty.

13. Prejudices and antagonisms become intensified.

14. Prevailing mood is one of insecurity.

15. Tend to be overactive to assure themselves of personal worth.

16. Worry that physical changes are not normal.