Psychological Development Across the Lifespan

School Age Children (6–11)

How do children develop emotionally during the school-age years?

Cognitive and emotional development move forward together. With their increased cognitive capacities, children have a growing understanding of emotions in both themselves and others. School-age children understand that people are motivated by their internal states rather than by situations alone. Children this age also master the concept of mixed feelings, that people can have more than one emotion at a time. Children advance in their ability to regulate their own emotions, to tolerate frustration, to delay gratification, and to distract themselves from distress. Their capacity for empathy is heightened. They understand that people suffer not only from momentary frustrations, but also from longstanding life circumstances. Thus, they can appreciate the concept of charity, which is beyond the grasp of a preschool child. Their self-conscious emotions also advance, heightening their social capacities, but also opening up new areas of psychological vulnerability.


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