As parents, we wish to have the very best for our children. We strive to raise strong individuals who can lead happy lives. Alongside other skills, parents also have the responsibility of developing some skills and intelligence in their children. One might think academic intelligence. But academic intelligence is not the only intelligence that is of importance. Emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to manage and express their feelings appropriately while also respecting and being considerate of other people’s feelings.
Emotional intelligence is significant for the healthy development of children, particularly in the early years. When you raise emotional intelligence children, they not only recognize and manage their own feelings, they are able to show empathy and understand other person’s emotional state as well.
According to John Gottman’s Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, “In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships.”
The Benefits of Emotional Intelligence
Over the past few decades, various studies have taken place that has revealed emotional intelligence’s variety of long-term benefits. And they are more likely to express what they truly need to keep their cool, which means less whining, fewer power struggles, and fewer tantrums.
Here are some of the ways emotional intelligence is important:
- Better Relationships:
With emotional intelligence, children are better able to manage conflict and develop deeper connections and relationships, whether it is personal or professional lives.
- High IQ is linked with High EQ:
Children who possess higher levels of emotional intelligence tend to perform better on standardized tests. And, they get higher grades as well.
- Better Mental Health:
- EQ brings higher success:
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that a child’s emotional and social skills in kindergarten might bring lifelong success. Those children who can share, cooperate, and follow rules, at the age of five, are more likely to obtain college degrees and start their full-time professional lives at the age of 25.
If you notice, benefits of emotional intelligence make a lot of sense. A child who is able to cool down when he is angry is expected to do well in difficult circumstances. When a child learns to express his emotions in a healthy way, they can maintain stronger and healthier relationships than those kids who complain, shout, and say mean things when they are angry.
Did you know that all kids have the capacity to learn EQ skills? If you want to teach emotional intelligence to your children, here’s how you can do it:
- Show Empathy:
When your child is sad or upset, being an adult, it might be easy for you to dismiss their feelings. But if you do that, it will teach your child that her feelings are wrong and she should not feel them.
Instead of doing that, you could validate his feelings and show empathy towards his emotions. It is alright if you don’t understand their feelings but be empathic. If your child is throwing a tantrum because you are not getting them ice-cream unless they do their homework, you could tell him that you understand. Even if you don’t.
Tell them that you have to work sometimes on those days also when you don’t feel like it. Tell them that you understand and it is hard for them, too. When your child sees that you understand them and their feelings, they would also try to keep their emotions in control. Eventually, instead of crying and screaming when they are angry, they would feel much better if you make it clear and show that you fully understand that she is upset.
- Teach Coping Skills:
When children begin to understand their emotions, they also need to learn to deal with it in a healthier way. Dealing with too many feelings and emotions is difficult for children as well. Therefore, they need to learn the right coping skills. They should know how to calm themselves down and face their fears one-on-one.
Teach them particular skills. For instance, your child could learn a great deal if they learn to take deep breaths when they are angry to calm themselves. You could also help your child creating a kit that helps in regulating her feelings. It could be anything: a coloring book, a joke book, favorite toys, a cream/lotion that smells good, or even just some soothing music that would help them calm down. You could put all of the stuff in a particular bag or box. This could be of great help in emotion management.
- Label the emotions:
Children have to recognize how they are feeling. You could even help your kid by putting a name to her emotions or at least the emotion you think your child is feeling. Build their vocabulary so that they can learn to name their emotions. Use emotional words such as angry, painful, shy, or upset. At the same time, also share the words for positive emotions such as excited, hopeful, joyful, and thrilled.
- Develop Problem Solving Skills:
An integral part of building emotional intelligence involves learning the art of solving problems. After you have labeled and addressed the problems, it becomes easier to find a solution.
Whenever your child faces any problem or issue, help them in finding a solution. Let them come up with multiple solutions. Sit together and brainstorm ideas. And then choose whichever option that is the most favorable. When your child makes mistakes, observe and see what you could do differently and resolve any problems.
Instead of becoming a problem-solver, act as a coach, and guide your kid to solve a problem effectively on his own.
- Find The Right Way To Express Feelings:
There are socially appropriate ways to express emotions. So, children need to learn the right way to express their emotions. While it is alright to say that you are upset but it is not alright to throw stuff around and scream siblings and parents.
The best way to do so is teaching your child how to express feelings is by being the best example yourself. Use feeling words in your everyday conversation. And also, practice talking about them. Tell them how you feel when you see certain things and behaviors.
According to studies, emotionally intelligent parents are likely to have children with emotional intelligence.
- Emotional Intelligence Should Be A Continuous Goal:
No matter, how emotionally intelligent you think your child is, you both could improve. Childhood and adolescence are filled with ups and downs. As your child grows older, he is bound to face some problems which would challenge his skills.
So, make it a goal to build skills every day. When your child is young, make a point to talk about feelings every day. You could talk about the different characters of the books and movies you and your child have seen together. You could talk to them about real-life situations no matter whether it is what they are facing in school or it is something that you learn about. See that you make emotional intelligence an ongoing conversation.
Always use your child’s mistakes as learning experiences and opportunities to grow better. When your child acts out when he is upset and angry, take some time out to talk about it and how they can manage their emotions better the next time. With your constant guidance and support, your child could develop the mental strength and emotional intelligence they would later on need in their adult life.