Emotional Expression
The progression of emotional expression occurs with age. In early infancy, happiness is displayed through smiles and laughter, often as a reaction to parental affection or the achievement of sensorimotor goals. Infants also begin to experience anger (as a result of not being able to control their surroundings as expected) and fear (typically as a result of being around unfamiliar adults). Angry reactions increase with age into the second year, which motivates caregivers to ease the baby’s distress. Fear, on the other hand, arises in the second half of the first year but eventually decreases. The initial rise in fear also keeps traveling babies safer when exploring their environment.
Toddlers begin to display higher-order, self-conscious emotions, such as guilt, shame, embarrassment, envy, and pride as they grow in self-awareness. These types of emotions involve injury to our sense of self and begin to appear at the end of the second year. Learning to manage these emotions comes with the support of adults, whose feedback encourages or discourages the emotions in specific settings and situations. This, again, varies widely from culture to culture. As emotional management develops, young children become increasingly sensitive to praise or blame from caregivers and emotions become associated with self-evaluation. How adults handle feedback is important to a child’s developing self-esteem.

Self-Regulation of Emotions
Over time, children must learn to control their own emotions and emotional responses, a concept known as emotional self-regulation. The ability to adjust an emotional state depends on several cognitive strategies, including attention focusing and shifting, inhibiting certain thoughts and behaviors, and making a plan to relieve stress. This regulation is influenced by both adult instruction and cultural expectations and is an important part of adapting to the physical and social environment in which a child is raised.

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