Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Child’s Journey to Emotional Maturity Part.VII

 This new found ability to create abstract ideas has its roots in the child’s earlier discovery that objects have specific functions and perform certain tasks. The child saw that this lesson held true for people as well. Mother gives her food, puts on her clothes and can be counted on to hand her a toy; father reads books and drives her in the car. Mother and father also play a major role within the child’s world of feelings. They laugh with her, and respond to her love, and comfort her when she is upset and by now the child is thoroughly familiar with the physical characteristics of her parents; after all, she first began to study their faces when she was about a month old.

 Gradually the child brings all these separate impressions together. She links observations about the way her parents look and behave to the feelings and expectations they stir in her. In doing so, she creates a single mental image of her mother and of her father. The toddler has formed an idea that she can use.
 This valuable emotional tool increases her self sufficiency. Until this point, the child responded to emotions strictly on a behavioral level. As a very young infant she calmed herself by focusing on familiar sensations; later, when she was upset, she flailed out at what disturbed her, or she started to cry. But at this toddler stage, the child is starting to approach the world conceptually as well. She can comfort herself conjuring a mental picture of a person she trusts and loves, or of pleasurable objects and experiences. Her feelings are translated into a mental image that tempers and guides her emotional expression. The child is beginning to understand how feelings and actions should mix and work together.