The Process of Emotional Development

The ability to listen when someone else speaks or manage feelings during an intense moment are examples of critical social-emotional skills. Social-emotional skills enable people to understand themselves and others and develop valuable interpersonal relationships. Notably, socio skills are acquired through a process of emotional development. The process of emotional development proceeds from dependence through interdependence and ends with independence. 

Emotional development begins with dependence. In this stage, all aspects of wellbeing such as success, happiness, and self-worth are gotten from other people. People become emotionally attached to their caregivers in childhood, usually parents. Their role is the provision of almost all resources that are needed for both survival and wellbeing. Besides, children acquire skills and behaviour from their caregivers of people with whom they are emotionally connected. (Housman 3). As children grow, they begin partially depending on themselves and helping others.

When people become partially dependent and can help others, they are in the second stage – the inter-dependence stage. In this second phase, people realize that their wellbeing is intertwined with their peers’ wellbeing and significant others, such as mentors. Most relationships in this phase are transactional, meaning that besides receiving, people are also expected to give (Sels et al. 1). For instance, an employee devotes themselves to their organizational roles and feels appreciated after a promotion. As people growth through inter-dependence, they become proficient in social-emotional skills.

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The last stage is independence, where people realize that their feelings are entirely dependent on themselves. Socioemotionally independent people have already achieved proficiency in many social skills and are self-actualized (Cherry par.10). They can respond to all life situations through rationalization. For instance, an emotionally independent person would not be hurt by shaming because they understand their self-worth. Thus, emotionally independent people have proficiency in all critical social skills.

In conclusion, people attain social skills proficiency through emotional development, which proceeds in three stages – dependence, inter-dependence, and independence. It appears that after birth, children do not have significant emotional intelligence compared to adults. However, the experiences of people through dependence and inter-dependence stages determine whether they would become socioemotionally independent.




Figure 1 Flow Chart of Emotional Development

Works Cited

Cherry, Kendra. “How Self-Actualized People Frequently Have Their Needs Met”. Verywell Mind, 2019,

Housman, Donna K. “The Importance Of Emotional Competence And Self-Regulation From Birth: A Case For The Evidence-Based Emotional Cognitive Social Early Learning Approach”. International Journal Of Child Care And Education Policy, vol 11, no. 1, 2017. Springer Science And Business Media LLC, doi:10.1186/s40723-017-0038-6. Accessed 28 Feb 2021.

Sels, Laura et al. “Emotional Interdependence And Well-Being In Close Relationships”. Frontiers In Psychology, vol 7, 2016. Frontiers Media SA, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00283. Accessed 28 Feb 2021.