Developing Your Child's Emotional Intelligence
Help Develop Your Child's Emotional Intelligence
Studies consistently show that Emotional Intelligence (EI) is much more important than IQ because it relates directly to happiness and success. Some highly intelligent adults struggle in day-to-day life due to their inability to understand and control their emotions. Emotional Intelligence has everything to do with your child’s social and emotional development.
It is important to understand EI as a key factor in living a life of joy, success, and fulfillment, and as parents these are the things we want for our children. To understand EI, it begins with learning what is emotional intelligence. A person’s EI is defined as the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions. It encompasses the following five characteristics and abilities:
1. Self-awareness: The ability to recognize what you are feeling, to understand your habitual
emotional responses to events and to recognize how your emotions affect your behavior and performance. When you are self-aware, you see yourself as others see you, and have a good sense of your own abilities and current limitations.
2. Managing emotions: The ability to stay focused and think clearly even when experiencing powerful emotions. Being able to manage your own emotional state is essential for taking responsibility for your actions and can save you from hasty decisions that you later regret.
3. Motivating oneself: The ability to use your deepest emotions to move and guide you toward your goals. This ability enables you to take the initiative and to persevere in the face of obstacles and setbacks.
4. Empathy: The ability to sense, understand and respond to what other people are feeling. Self-awareness is essential to having empathy with others. If you are not aware of your own emotions, you will not be able to read the emotions of others.
5. Social skill: The ability to manage, influence and inspire emotions in others. Being able to handle emotions in relationships and being able to influence and inspire others are essential foundation skills for successful teamwork and leadership.
The earlier these qualities are nurtured in children the more likely they are to manage and recognize emotions in oneself and others. Each of these qualities are necessary for a meaningful and successful life.
It is important to start teaching your child about emotional intelligence from birth. It may seem strange to talk about emotional intelligence and babies, but babies have emotions and these strategies can help develop children's EI early in life.
1. Acknowledge, name, and validate your child’s emotions. Children first learn about their emotions when they are given names to identify them. This helps to develop their awareness about feelings. For example, you might say, “I see you are sad, it’s okay to cry”, “You are excited”, “You are smiling”.
2. Teach your child how to express their emotions. Just as adults who are not aware how they respond to stress, so are children. You can help them by pointing out their reactions. “It’s okay to be angry, but you can’t hit someone”. When they are having tantrums you could say, “Use your words to tell me what you want”.
3. Teach your child how to cope with their feelings. Help your child develop calming techniques when they experience big emotions. Breathing, counting, listening to music are all great ways to help your child to manage their emotions.
4. Role modeling emotional intelligence is the best and most effective way to help your child develop EI characteristics. Children will do what you show them more often, rather than what you tell them to do. It takes practice to master emotions and develop empathy.
I hope you find this article helpful!