Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage the emotions of yourself and others. This might be the most important skill anyone could ever learn!
Emotional intelligence is considered to be a much better predictor of success and happiness than IQ. Being intelligent isn’t very helpful if you’re unable to deal with yourself and others effectively. You probably know at least one person who is highly intelligent but struggles with life.

Raise the emotional intelligence of your child:

  1. Be a good example. Your child is always watching you for clues regarding how to behave in different circumstances. Are you being a good role model? If your own emotional intelligence can use a little work, now is the time to get busy.
    ‣ Purchase three books on emotional intelligence and begin to put the ideas into action. By enhancing your own emotional intelligence, you’ll be helping yourself and your child.
    Set a good example.
  2. Encourage your child to express his emotions. People are separate from their emotions. A person might be feeling anger, but they are not literally “anger”. It’s necessary to make this distinction. When your child expresses his emotions, he can begin the processes of discovering that his emotions are separate entities.
    ‣ Help your child to label emotions when they arise. Address their emotions. “You’re feeling sad because your friend can’t play today.”
  3. Teach your child to view emotions as a message and deal with them effectively. Emotions aren’t an invitation to act out. Emotions can be acknowledged without the need for impulsive action to follow. Help your child learn to tolerate negative emotions and find solutions when appropriate.
  4. Praise your child when they show emotional intelligence. Whenever your child demonstrates self-control or other appropriate emotional behavior, point it out and compliment them for their successful effort.
  5. Share your own emotions with your child. Tell your child that you’re disappointed that your favorite TV show was cancelled or that you’re upset that your sister is ill. Explain how that emotion feels to you.
  6. Point out emotions in others. Point out the angry man in the grocery store or the happiness in a sibling. Recognizing emotions in others takes practice. Fortunately, there are people experiencing emotions everywhere. Make a game out of it.
  7. Teach your child how to calm down. Lead your child by asking appropriate questions:
    ‣ Do you think you need a few minutes of quiet time to calm down?
    ‣ Since you’re getting upset, let’s take a few deep breaths and relax until you feel calm again.
    ‣ What will help you to feel more calm and relaxed?
  8. Teach your child positive self-talk. Give your child examples of positive self-talk when negative emotions occur.
    “When you’re feeling uncertain, say to yourself, ‘I’m a big girl and I can handle this.’”

Emotional intelligence is an integral part of happiness, confidence, and success. The best way to instill emotional intelligence in your child is to demonstrate it each day. Build your own emotional intelligence and take the necessary steps to accomplish the same in your child.

Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement, and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent. – Bob Keeshan

Next Chapter: Building Social Skills in Your Child