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Emotional Development, Ages 2 to 5 Years - Topic Overview

Emotional growth is a process of developing feelings and learning how to handle them appropriately. Sadness, fear, anger, and happiness are our most common feelings. Every child has emotional needs. Meeting those needs is one of the most important things you will do as a parent or caregiver.

Between the ages of 2 and 5, children gradually learn how to manage their feelings. For example, a toddler may get mad and have a tantrum if a toy is taken away. As the child matures emotionally, he or she will learn to express anger in other ways.

Young children also begin to develop moral emotions and to feel ashamed or guilty when they do something wrong. When bad things happen, young children may feel responsible for no logical reason. Reassure your child by showing affection and love in addition to talking about feelings. Children do not always know the words to explain how they feel.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: February 22, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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