Self-regulation in early childhood

Self-regulation, the ability to monitor and control one’s behavior in response to social expectations, is one of the most important features of affective development. Current research in neuroscience and neurobiology shows that early experiences of interaction are memorized in the brain and affect the ability to control emotions. Interaction with parents affects the neural network. The number of neural connections that are created depends in part on the quality of stimulation the child receives, and the environment in which the child grows and gains experience. Neural connections that are not used undergo deterioration. Therefore, the first year of life is a critical period for the development of emotion regulation. The knowledge of the early emotional development and regulation helps in prevention, early detection and early treatment of disorders in young children. Children grow up in very different sociocultural environments and develop emotionally in different ways as the result of the socialization of emotions. Children learn to manage their emotional experience in culturally appropriate ways. It is impossible to understand the early emotional development separately from the parent to child relationship within which this process takes place. Foundation for the development of self-regulation is the management of physiological stimuli, emotions and attention. These basic tasks of early childhood entail very different influences and developmental processes. The reason for considering each component in the development of self-regulation is the fact that the child learns to “manage himself” and begins to gain control of behavior, emotion and cognition that are necessary for competent functioning in life.

Category: Review
Volume: Vol. 56, No 3, july - september 2012
Authors: R. Pinjatela
Reference work:

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