Situations evoke different feelings in people, and even the same situation can cause people to react differently.
When people know what is causing them to feel a certain way, they are able to learn from it and know what to expect in similar future situations.
Many choices in the future depend on the anticipation of the way they feel in the future situation.
A child’s readiness to go to school, make new friends or try new activities is based on their expectations of how they will feel when facing the situation.
Children become more self-aware when they understand how different situations can impact them and others to feel differently. Children who understand the situational cues that provoke them to feel a certain way are able to anticipate earlier to manage their emotions.
They can learn to voice out that the upcoming or current situation is stressful, ask to be excused from it, calm themselves down while regaining control of their feelings, before returning back to the situation.
This process provides them with an opportunity to think more about the situation and their feelings, develop constructive ways to deal with it, and this develop them to regulate their emotions and manage situations in a calmer mental state.
Additionally, knowing about situations that distress others creates opportunities for children to practice empathy towards others.
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- Harris, P. L. (1985). What children know about the situations that provoke emotion. In The socialization of emotions (pp. 161-185). Boston: Springer.