Externally, role models and the environment will also influence how children react to the world emotionally. Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory discusses micro, meso, and macro-level influences. During early childhood, the immediate, or micro, level of a child's environment consists of family and direct caregivers such as teachers and babysitters. Children with caregivers who show warmth, compassion, understanding, as well as genuine concern and help toward others will also learn to show empathy and pro-social behavior during later childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Children who witness caregivers modeling mostly angry, punitive, and cold emotional responses will struggle more to develop empathy and prosocial behavior.
According to Bronfenbrenner, on a larger level or meso-level, the culture of the local community will also have an effect on children's emotional development. The meso-level includes the characteristics of a child's neighborhood or school system, such as safety, traditions, and culture. For example, if children grow up feeling unsafe or focused primarily on meeting basic survival needs, the fear of violence or sense of insecurity will flavor children's emotional reactions and beliefs. On the contrary, if children live in a safe, supportive community, a young child will have a more positive view and emotional response to that environment.
In terms of a macro-level influence, the child's nation of residence can also affect his or her emotional development. A child growing up in a peacetime country may develop more positive emotional responses and skills than a child growing up in a war-torn country governed by martial law.