Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Emotional Competence and Emotion Socialization in Preschoolers: The Viewpoint of Preschool Teachers

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Emotional Competence and Emotion Socialization in Preschoolers: The Viewpoint of Preschool Teachers

Article excerpt

Emotional competence based on the emotional intelligence model is defined as the interaction of emotion and cognition (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). The integrated model approach which explains emotional intelligence in terms of social behaviors and personality characteristics (Bar-On, 2000; Goleman, 1995) is a significant study area related to earlychildhood literature (Michalson & Lewis, 1985). Many research studies (Denham et al., 2003; Eisenberg, Cumberland, & Spinrad, 1998) state that emotional competence is a critical component of emotional development in constituting successful relationships in social contexts, and emotional competence takes place in the center of social relationships.

Parke (1994) emphasizes emotional competence remarking that successful interactions of children with others depend on understanding emotional situations and giving appropriate reactions to emotional stimulants. Studies about early childhood point to the concept of emotional competence, the skills and behaviors of children related to emotions like the expression, awareness, labeling, and understanding of emotion from emotional facial expressions and contextual clues (Denham, 1998; Saarni, 1999). In addition, studies emphasize the necessity of using emotional competence to predict positive acquisitions like adaptation to school, developing a positive attitude, academic success, attachment, prosocial behaviors, and friendly relations (Eisenberg & Spinrad, 2004; Garner & Estep, 2001). Socialization attempts by adults, especially from parents, affect the emotional competence of children. These attempts from parents and specific behaviors directed towards the emotions of children are described as emotion socialization behaviors; they include parental beliefs, goals, and values related to a child's emotional experiences, expressions of emotion, and emotion regulations (Eisenberg et al., 1998). Further describing the emotion socialization behaviors of parents can be specialized as parents differentiating the emotions of a child and directing their child to manage their emotions. Emotion socialization mechanisms based on social learning mechanisms (Halberstadt, 1991) are explained within the framework of being a model (how do parents show or not show their own emotions), giving guidance about emotions (awareness of parents about their own emotions as well as their child's, talking to a child about emotions), and how the parents react towards the emotions of children (rewards and punishments) (Denham, 1998; Gottman, Katz, & Hooven, 1996).

Within the context of emotion socialization, parents use methods in daily life like discussing emotions with their child and showing reactions towards the emotions of children. Parents' discussion of emotions with children is an important opportunity for teaching emotions to children (Brown & Dunn, 1992). In this way, children label emotions and can understand the reasons and results of emotions (Denham & Auerbach, 1995), as well as provide themselves and others with an understanding of emotion (Denham, Cook, & Zoller, 1992). Parents can give problem-focused responses (the help given to a child for solving problems in an emotionally difficult situation), emotion-focused responses (giving relaxing and soothing responses when a child is restless) and emotion-encouraging responses (encouraging children to express their emotion) to the emotions their children show. These responses are described as directly supporting emotion socialization methods. When a mother minimizes the degree of a child's emotional reaction is known as "minimization reactions," verbal or physical punishment for when a child expresses their emotions is "punitive reactions," and these socializing methods are indirectly supportive (Fabes, Poulin, Eisenberg, & Madden- Derdich, 2002). Directly supportive emotionsocialization methods which have an adaptive function in the development of child include creating a reliable emotional environment for children, assisting children in understanding emotions, being a model to a child through appropriate emotional reactions, and appreciating a child's own emotion-regulation efforts (Garner, Dunsmore, & Southam-Gerow, 2008). …

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