Academic journal article Journal of Psychosocial Research

Emotional Intelligence and Anger in Only Children and Children with Siblings

Academic journal article Journal of Psychosocial Research

Emotional Intelligence and Anger in Only Children and Children with Siblings

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

A sibling is a brother or a sister i.e. any person who shares at least one of the same parents. There are different types of siblings such as full siblings, half siblings and step siblings. Siblings are an important part of a child's life, both because children may spend at least as much time with their siblings as with their mothers and more time with siblings than with their fathers.

Only children are people who grow up without siblings. They have been stereotyped as "selfish," "lonely," and "maladjusted." Early in the twentieth century, the emerging discipline of psychology portrayed only children as inevitably pathological (For e.g. attention seeking, selfish, throwing tantrums, etc). However, the maturing discipline of psychology no longer views only children as inevitably pathological (Falbo and Poston, 1993). One of the concerns about only children is that their lack of sibling relationships might lead them to have less desirable personalities than those who grew up with siblings. As a result, the only child is stigmatized. When asked to describe personality characteristics of an only child, many people will respond negatively, indicating the presupposition that only children are spoiled brats. Adler believed that only children are deficient. He also believed that because only children have no rivals for their parent's affection, they may be pampered and spoiled by their parents. (Falbo and Poston, 1993).

However, when any differences in intelligence and personality between only children and those with siblings are found, only children have outperformed their peers in achievement motivation and intelligence (Blake, 1989), self-esteem, relations with parents (Polit and Falbo, 1987), and social competence (Falbo and Polit, 1986). Thus findings of studies about only children are equivocal.

The present study dealt with two personality variables in particular: i)Emotional intelligence, and ii)Anger.

Salovey and Mayer's academic definition says that, EI is "the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions" (1990, p. 189). Based on this definition, Hein defined EI as "the innate potential to feel, use, communicate, recognize, remember, describe, identify, learn from, manage, understand and explain emotions" (Hein, 2009, p2). This definition differs from Mayer and Salovey's definition as it emphasizes EI as an innate ability. According to this definition, each baby is born with a specific and unique potential for these components of emotional intelligence, namely, emotional sensitivity, emotional memory, emotional processing ability and emotional learning ability.

Medical dictionary defines anger "as an emotional state that may range in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Anger has physical effects including raising the heart rate and blood pressure and the levels of adrenaline and noradrenalin" (http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=33843).

Anger in children is a sometimes mysterious and usually stressful experience for parents. It may be the most challenging and intimidating emotion because of its tremendous potential for destructiveness. Because of its intensity, mishandled anger can create anxiety, fear, low self-esteem, and despair in children. Mainly teenage children are affected by anger. They feel hurt when the parents or teachers express anger and might slip into depression.

Emotional intelligence is important for a child not only to understand himself, but also to understand the feelings and emotions of others. A child with a high emotional quotient will become more poised and responsible. On the other hand, a child with a low emotional intelligence will easily lose emotional control and feel helpless.

The present study was undertaken to compare children with sibling and those without siblings on emotional intelligence, and expression and control of anger. …

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