Recognize Emotions

Poverty, household chaos, and interparental aggression predict childrens ability to recognize and modulate negative emotions.

The article under analysis is Poverty, Household Chaos, and Interparental Aggression Predict Childrens Ability to Recognize and Modulate Negative Emotions. This study is about the influence that the relationships in the family have on the children`s ability to identify emotions. The article proves that there is a direct connection between the level of stress and conflict at home and children`s emotional responses.


The study contains a few key assumptions. Among them, the following are distinguished:

  • High level of violence and conflict among parents may lead to changes in neurobiological, cognitive, and behavioral spheres of the individual.
  • If a child observes constant physical aggression, it leads to his lower ability to recognize emotions. In case a child hears constant verbal aggression, it leads to his higher ability to recognize emotions.
  • Lack of money in the family decreases a child`s ability to distinguish emotions.
  • Disorganization leads to having lower emotional knowledge.

The indicated key assumptions were based on the study of more than a thousand children with their families in eastern North Carolina and central Pennsylvania. The researchers observed and analyzed data about the childs reactions and the factors that could influence them, either stability or non-stability ones.

The analysis of the indicated key assumptions proves that not all of the claims are viable.

The first assumption is not supported by any information in the article or, at least, it is not mentioned how these results were collected.

The second assumption is grounded on a research based on regular visits to the families. However, researchers did not have a possibility to constantly observe children`s responses to changes at home constantly. They could just gather the information about what has changed during the period of time, which passed since their previous visit. It is not necessary that changes in children

s behavior and ability to recognize emotions correlated in time with changes in the environment. What is more, a noise level during the researcher`s visit was surely different from the one when the family is alone. The same can be said about cleanliness and number of people at home. This way, the researchers themselves could have influenced the results of the conducted study.

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There is an alternative point of view on the parameters taken into account by the researchers. In the article called Chaotic Homes and Childrens Disruptive Behavior the authors prove that the home environment may not only be a cause of children`s emotional and behavioral problems, but may also be a result of children`s behavior. Therefore, children themselves could create a household chaos. Among the examples provided there are the following: a loudly working television because of a child's refusal to turn the volume down or high level of noise at home because of childrens not following advice to play noisy games outdoors.

The third assumption is that poverty influences children`s abilities to recognize emotions. This claim was grounded on the same research. What is important, this study was conducted in eastern North Carolina and central Pennsylvania; these are the areas where a level of poverty is very high. This fact does not speak for the validity of the data, because the researchers have included only families who live in a poor region for their study. However, the assumption is partly confirmed in the other studies on the subject. In the article called How Poverty and Depression Impact a Child`s Social and Emotional Competence the authors provide the results of a similar research. This one differs because a level of poverty of the family was analyzed together with the oneof mothers educational attainment. According to the results, mother`s influence over the childs ability to recognize emotions is much greater than a money-lacking situation. What is more, authors prove that the poverty has only a short-term influence on children`s emotional knowledge. After the comparison of these two articles, it is possible to state that the results regarding the effects of lack of money described in the article under research could be only partly viable, since they did not take into account other important parameters.

The next assumption regards disorganization in the family. This parameter can be more clearly defined with the help of researcher`s observations and questionnaires. The information about following or non-following the necessary routines and procedures, making plans and arrangements by the whole family is not too subjective, that is why the results of the study about how disorganization influences childrens ability to identify and control emotions are likely to be viable.

In conclusion, it is necessary to state that the article contains a serious research on the subject of what effect the household chaos, violence and conflicts have on the emotional knowledge of children who grow up in these families. The conducted research was not a short-term one; it lasted for almost five years. The information was gathered in different ways, and that made the study more grounded. However, there were certain factors, which were not taken into account during the observations. First of all, it was not considered that changes in the home environment could be partly caused by children themselves. Secondly, all the regions where the research was conducted were estimated as poor, that is why the validity of the assumption about poverty effect can be doubtful. The next thing is that a mother`s educational level was not taken into account despite the fact that it could be the cause of a low emotional knowledge results perceived by the researchers. Even though the viability of key assumptions had certain flaws, most of the results are based on closely reasoned arguments.

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