Emotional Intelligence Plays a Basic Role in Establishing

Table of Content

Intellectual intelligence was perceived by many educators as a predictor of success in children’s lives. However, it has been established that despite a child having the intellectual abilities to succeed at higher educational institutions, he may experience difficulty dealing with emotional issues, having poor relationships, and being ineffective in his decision-making (Goleman, 1995.) Thus, it was recognized that children need more than the intellectual abilities to thrive in today’s world. EI plays a basic role in establishing, maintaining and having quality interpersonal relations. Some studies have found empirical data that support the relationship between EI and adequate interpersonal relations ( Brackett et al.2006; Extremera and Fernandez- Berrocal, 2004; Lopes, Salovey, Cote, Beers, 2005.)

A wide range of findings from the fields of psychotherapy (Barlow, 1985); training programs (Marrow, Jarrett, Rupinski, 1981) and executive education (Boyatzis, Cowen, & Kolb, 1995) all provide evidence for people’s ability to improve their social and emotional competence with sustained effort and a systematic program. In addition, new findings in the emerging field of affective neuroscience have begun to demonstrate that the brain circuitry of emotion exhibits a fair degree of plasticity, even in adulthood (Davidson, Jackson, & Kalin, 2000).

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A two-year (1996-1998) University of Wisconsin study by researcher Stephen Elliott of two Springfield, Massachusetts, schools — one that used a social and emotional learning program called Responsive Classroom and one that did not — found significant social and academic dividends for the students in the Responsive Classroom program. The program is based on six components: a morning meeting, classroom organization, rules and logical consequences, guided discovery, academic choice, and assessment and reporting. Responsive Classroom teachers reported an increase in such student social skills as using time appropriately, initiating conversations with peers, and getting along with people who are different. They also reported a decrease in such problem behaviors as interrupting, excessive fidgeting or moving, and feeling anxious among other children. The control group reported much less improvement in those areas. Over the two-year period, the Responsive Classroom group also showed significantly greater growth on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. In 1999, fourth-grade test scores at the school using Responsive Classroom, Kensington Avenue School, were the most improved in the state.

Psychological health can be considered as the combination of positive emotions and functioning with optimal effectiveness in the individual and social life (Deci& Ryan, 2008; Huppert, 2009). Various protective factors such as familial support, parental care, social exposure and education play a vital role in the development of psychological capacities such as self-worth, social competence etc. (Mead, 1934; Gecas&Seff, 1990). Good psychological health creates an effective and successful passage for persons from their childhood to adulthood (Parker & Benson, 2004; Resnick et al., 2004; Hair et al., 2005). It provides a secure pursuit of mental well-being that enables the individuals to lead a fulfilling life by forming and maintaining relationships, studying, working or pursuing leisure interests and making day-to-day healthy decisions about various demands of life (Van Wel,Linssen&Abma, 2000). On the contrary, impaired psychological health disrupts their functioning at individual, household and societal levels and also affects the emotional, physical and social processes of their lives (Kakar, 1979; Saraswathi& Rai, 1997).

Researchers (Amato & Keith, 1991; Falci, 2006) believed that adolescents living in the intact families with their parents are found to have a better scholastic achievement, conduct, psychological adjustment, self-esteem and social competence which lower their psychological distress. Whereas adversities such as lack of parental and familial support due to death or separation from parents initiate a major change in the lives of children(Minde, 1988) and can also interrupt their healthy psychological functioning(Peterson and Zill, 1986; Emery, 1988; Amato & Booth, 1996). In the same context, various studies found that often, orphan adolescents are seen to be as more vulnerable to various psychological, emotional and behavioral problems, e.g. social isolation, adjustment problems, delinquency, aggression, personality disorders, depression, stress etc. (Goodyer et. al, 1985; Larson & Ham, 1993; Liu et. al, 2000)

It has been observed that orphans are more likely to experience negative situations due to parental loss and family separation; it enables them to be independent in dealing with their stressors which significantly develop their healthy personal characteristics (Bonanno et al., 2002; Bonanno, 2004; Shannon et al., 2007). Further, this helps the orphans to become more emotionally stable and stronger to cope with their concerns and to perform their day-to-day activities on their own as compared to non-orphans. They use effective and healthy coping strategies reflecting their cognitive skills and confidence for solving various problems (Compas et al., 1991) and avoid risky behaviors such as violence, substance use etc. (SAMHSA, 2007).

Orphaned children usually live in the more stressful and adverse environment struggling with their psychological problems and overcoming these concerns on their own. This gives rise to grow their personal coping skills (Luthar&Zigler, 1991; Mishra et al., 2008). Empirical evidences are in favor of the view that orphans focus on their positive emotions during stressful experiences which may fortify their resistance to stress (Tugade& Fredrickson, 2004; Ong et al., 2006). Thus, effective dealing with the stressful and negative situations through one’s own efforts inculcates efficient coping strategies that play a vital role in the lives of orphans and enables them to become psychologically more resilient and resourceful persons in the society.

Parents have a vital role in the emotional development of their children. Parents can help their children learn how to express their feelings through instructing, modeling, and guiding them in applying the skills of emotional management. As a parent, helping children with their feelings can both help them feel better and reduce behavior problems. Children who are able to manage their emotions often experience more positive feedback from others and are more successful in everyday life.

Orphans generally face issues like low social acceptance. Raising such a child in a family setting improves the social and emotional state of the child (Nickerson & Staff, 2006). Research showed that children who lived in institutions had significantly higher body mass indexes and scored higher in health and cognitive tests (Zela Chin, 2009). But, there were certain other studies which showed that health, emotional and cognitive functioning, and physical growth were no worse for institution-living than community-living orphans or abandoned children (OAC), and generally better than for community-living OAC cared for by persons other than a biological parent (Whetten, 2009).

The emotional development of these children was also found to be hampered by institutional life. Yarrow’s (1964) review has pointed out extreme forms of emotional responses among institutionalized children. Both excessive autoerotic activity, for example, rocking, head banging, thumb-sucking etc., and a complete absence of such activities have been reported. Similar findings have been reported by Fischer (1952). Thresiama and Gon (1980) have studied the feelings of inferiority and aggression on orphan and non-orphan children of age ranging from 10 to 17 years. They have found that the orphan children possessed more inferiority feelings and aggressive feelings, and that, the orphan children manifested more behavior problems. Another study by Singh (1970) on female orphans of 6 – 10 years old, revealed that, they were very critical, aggressive, full of anxiety and conflicts. These feelings hampered the creativity and imaginative power of the children. Other studies that have evidenced emotional disturbances among children are those of Bender (1947); Beres and Obers (1950); Lewis, 1954; Yarrow (1961); Earle and Earle (1961); Gita (1963); Herbert (1975); and Berman (l919). The emotional problems noticed are lying, stealing, taunting, bed-wetting, thumb-sucking and nightmares, disobedience, aggressive outbursts etc.

The care that children receive has powerful effects on their survival, growth and development. “Care” refers to the behaviors and practices of caregivers (mothers, siblings, fathers and child care providers) who provide food, health care, stimulation and emotional support necessary for children’s healthy survival, growth and development…Not only the practices themselves, but also the way they are performed – in terms of affection and responsiveness to the child – are critical to a child’s survival, growth and development. Engle & Lhotska (1999, p.132)

To ensure the child’s health and growth, caregivers need to be sensitive to the physical state of the young child, to be able to judge whether the child is hungry, tired, needs toileting, or is becoming sick. Responsive caregivers are able to make these judgments because they monitor the child’s movements, expressions, color, temperature, and the like. By continuously taking account of the child’s response, they are able to adjust their own actions to achieve an optimum outcome – for example, to comfort the child’s fretfulness, put the child to sleep, and encourage the child to feed when ill. Loving, mutually responsive early care is essential for the child to develop into an emotionally secure and confident individual. If the infant is treated with love and kindness, he or she feels worthy of love, and becomes capable of feeling and expressing love and kindness towards others. Emotional communication is of cardinal importance in the development of the brain. Early development can be halted or distorted by an emotionally deficient caregiving environment or by cues that are abnormal, as might occur in maltreatment.

The younger the child when placed and the longer he/she remains in the institution, the more negative the effects on cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development. Children who are institutionalized at an early age often demonstrate delays in emotional, social, and physical development. Institutionalization places children at great risk for certain diseases. Institutional care may affect a child’s ability to make smooth transitions from one developmental stage to another throughout his/her life. Children brought up in institutions may suffer from severe behavior and emotional problems, such as aggressive or antisocial behavior, have less knowledge and understanding of the world, and become adults with psychiatric impairments. Finally, children raised in institutions are at risk for learning problems-such as poor reading ability and have more difficulty with critical thinking, establishing cause-and-effect, and impulsivity.

In a study done by Kamal Ballan at Damascus University in 2011, the researcher examined the behavioral and emotional disorders of children living in different Syrian orphanages. The sample consisted of 270 orphans . The researcher found out that various behavioral and emotional disorders were found in children living in orphanages such as aggressiveness, distraction, anxiety, depression, difficulty in sleeping, lack of cooperation, feeling of inferiority,…

A study was done by Fawzy and Foad on the emotional and developmental status of orphanage children. The sample included 294 children in four orphanages in Sharqia Governorate. The researchers tested children for depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and developmental disorder, and they found out that children living in orphanages suffered from emotional and developmental disorders based on the given results: 45% was accounted for anxiety, 21% was accounted for depression, 23% was accounted for low self-esteem and 61% was accounted for developmental disorder.

In a study done by Fatima Al Zahraa Khamween in Algeria, the researcher focused on the importance of emotional communication between orphans and caregivers since such a communication will develop orphans’ self-esteem and independence. Neglect and physical as well as emotional abuse are main causes of emotional deprivation in orphans; thus, those children need much care, love and motivation to develop their self-esteem.

Another study was done by Kevin Browne in Uk, 2009. The researcher studied the risk of harm to young children in institutional care. He reported that children living in institutions without parents performed poorly on intelligence tests and were slow learners with specific difficulties in language and social development, in comparison to children with foster parents. In addition, they had problems concentrating and forming emotional relationships, and were often described as attention-seeking. The lack of an emotional attachment to a mother figure during early childhood was attributed as the cause of these problems, which were considered to be long-lasting. Institutional care can also have a detrimental

effect on children’s ability to form relationships throughout life. The lack of a warm and continuous relationship with a sensitive caregiver can produce children who are desperate for adult attention and affection.

Abd Alrahman AlAttas in Saudi Arabia in 2012 studied the level of peacefulness and psychological loneliness in orphans living with their families and compared this level to that of orphans living at the Orphans Care Center of Makkah. He found out that orphans living with their relatives have more psychological peacefulness than those living alone at the center.

Many authors as (Spitz, 1945; Goldfarb, 1945; Yarrow, 1964; and Provence and Lipton 1962) highlighted the negative effects of institutional life on orphans. These effects include: low caretaker-child ratio, multiple care-takers, constant change of caretakers, lack of adequate material facilities such as space, dress etc., group routine characterized by over conformity with little scope for flexibility, routinized care with no adaptation to individual needs, lack of psychological interaction and reciprocal relation with adults and absence of specialized care. Few authors as Harold (1941) found institutional care as advantageous. The positive effects include regularity of personal habits, regularity of meals and the adequate supply of well- balanced diet, required medical attention, opportunities for vocational and pre-vocational work experiences and opportunity of learning to live together in group life.

According to a study done by IRC (2004-2005) in Lebanon, Reda Hamada said that out of almost 24,000 children who are living in orphanages, around 1,000 are actual orphans, the majority of whom have lost only one parent, and the remaining 23,000 have been placed there due to poverty by their parents and are therefore receiving institutional care as an alternative to family care.

In Lebanon, there are about 16 main care institutions which are distributed across Lebanon. Most of these institutions provide orphans with attention, care, compassion, love, and support, but no studies have shown orphaned learners’ emotional states, and no other studies have highlighted managers’ styles in the Lebanese orphanages. Hence this research is important since it will help us identify the style(s) managers use in their orphanages and how it affects orphaned learners’ emotional intelligence.

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