How childhood emotional regulation affects adults

As with attachment, our ability to regulate our emotion begins at a very early age. If parents are attentive and responsive to a child’s emotions, they can teach, from a very young age, how children should behave. The very best way a child learns is by watching their parents, siblings, and other humans they interact with. More often than not, if a parent cannot regulate their own emotions, they are incapable of helping their children do the same.

One place we see this very aparent is in families in the lower SES. A cycle of poverty begins, and continues on, not letting families escape. These families, typically, are struggling to make ends meet. Whether there is one parent, or two caring for the child, or children plays a large role in things, but is not the end. Often parents in lower SES catagories find it hard to fulfill Maslow’s most basic needs of Food, Clothing and Shelter, for themselves and their children. If these basic needs cannot be met, than those heigher up, of friendship, respect, and self esteem, all associated with emotional regulation, cannot be realized.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why this cycle continues. We know that emotional regulation affects most of how we interact with other people. A person who is better able to handle stress and their own emotions is better able to deal with a job that requires it of them.  Many of those who are in lower SES are there mostly because they cannot keep a job for very long, move up in their current job, or find a better job. The job market is tough, and often getting a job is based more on who you know, and how you get along with people, than what you know. Someone who was not taught to regulate emotions as a child would have a hard time controlling them as they got older, and even less as an adult.

This is one definite reason for us to help our children in their emotional regulation. Very few things affect a child and how they can get along in this world like their emotions.

Melissa Call


~ by Melissa on October 17, 2009.

One Response to “How childhood emotional regulation affects adults”

  1. i absolutley agree, it is so sad that the cycle continues just as the abuse cycle continues. the problem too is that people dont have the resources to get help. their are programs to help but people in those situations dont even know about the programs.

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