Emotional Intelligence - Tips for Facilitating Emotional Intelligence in Kids.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a new parenting directive. Although it was considered enough to feed, clothe and raise children in our parents' day, this is no longer sufficient because our understanding of what they really need from us has changed. In this article, I'll explain the concept in detail and give you three ways to cultivate it.
What is EQ?
First coined in 1990 by Salovey and Mayer, emotional intelligence is described as a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions. According to one study, our ability to handle a variety of social situations and control impulses and emotions is four times more important than intellect in terms of building a successful work life. However, the importance of intellect cannot be underestimated. While intellect helps you get the job, emotional intelligence helps you keep it and advance up the ranks.
Since we want to raise children to be successful and fulfilled, emotional intelligence is an important aspect of this vision.
What constitutes emotional intelligence:
- Ability to persist in the face of difficulty
- Ability to monitor one's feelings
- Ability to read others' feelings
- Ability to get along with others
- Ability to resist temptation in the service of a higher goal
- Ability to take action that considers the needs of self and others
Emotionally intelligent children have a variety of social skills that have been cultivated over time. As you read over the list I've created above, notice the value in each skill.
3 Tips for Cultivating Emotional Intelligence:
- Help your child identify his feelings. This is the first step. If your child can't identify his feelings, how is he supposed to monitor them or read the feelings of others?
This is where many parents fall down because they were raised by parents who taught them to stuff or deny their feelings. Let your children have their feelings and help them to identify them. Use clarifying statements such as, "I can see that you're feeling frustrated because you're having difficulty tying your shoes. I remember how that feels. Learning to tie your shoes can be tricky, but keep practicing and you'll get it. Here let me show you a little trick I know—you might like this way a little better."
Don't tell children to suck it up. A child who is made to push down his feelings will eventually explode and lash out at others (including you) or implode and slowly destroy himself.
When you teach a child emotional intelligence skills, you teach him how to identify and acknowledge his feelings. Once he is able to do this, he will learn that there are times when the needs of a situation dictate that he act in spite of his feelings for the best interest of those involved. As you can see, taking the time to teach a child this process is very different from demanding that he suck it up. For a fun-spirited way of teaching your child how to transcend moods and feelings, see my special report below.
- Frame interactions with your child positively. When you're correcting him, discuss, don't yell. (A discussion is a conversation that takes place between two people. It is not a lecture.) Remember, your child is learning how to get along with others which is a process that takes place over time. Yelling at him models for him what emotional intelligence is NOT. When you yell at him, you are teaching him that to get his point across, he must yell at others.
Instead, get his attention and correct gently, engaging him—pointing out what he did right and consulting with him about what he could have done to take others feelings into account. Going through this process with your child helps him develop the self-reflection skills that lead to emotional intelligence.
- Give your child specific, supportive feedback about his interactions with others. Use these statements to help him discover his own identity as one who cares for himself and others. Don't tell him, show him through careful selection of your words. For instance, you can say something like, "I noticed how you helped your brother when he was feeling frustrated, even though he was being short with you. I was impressed that rather than reacting to his behavior, you responded and gave him what he needed. How does it feel to know that you can choose to act with patience in the face of someone else's anger?
If you've read this far, then you understand the importance of cultivating emotional intelligence in children. If every parent accepted the responsibility of teaching their children to navigate the depths of their emotions, the world would be a much better place.
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To learn how to cultivate emotional intelligence in your children using fun techniques which will help your children learn how to identify and then transcend moods and feelings, buy my special report. After purchase, the report will be emailed to you. Please allow 24-48 hours as we mailed them out by hand.
An unsolicited testimonial from reader, Chris Newby of Australia: "This is the clearest explanation of emotional intelligence I have ever read."
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About the author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book, Keepers of the Children. The book teaches parents how to raise children to bring their unique strengths to the table, so they can grow up to lead purposeful and fulfilling lives. Isn't this what you want for your children?
Ms. Ramirez is available for speaking engagements and conferences. To find out more, use the Contact Us link on the navigation bar to the left.
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