How To Build Emotional Intelligence In Your Child
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Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is commonly referred to) has become increasingly important in our society. It seems like every celebrity or public figure boasts about their level of EQ and how it influenced their success in life.
Some even say that having high levels of EQ makes you successful compared to people with lower levels. This claim is called the “success theory” of EQ.
The term “emotional intelligence” was first coined by Daniel Goleman back in 1989 when he published his best-selling book The New Psychology of Success. Since then, there have been many theories regarding what makes up your overall EQ. Some believe it is all related to other things such as empathy, self-awareness, and motivation, while others think it is only made up of one specific factor — something known as attentional control.
No matter which theory you choose to believe, developing your child’s EQ can be a fun way to help them succeed in school, at home, and in life. Having more EQ will make them happier and keep them that way.
There are several ways you can teach your children to develop their EQ skills. You can do this directly through conversations, games, and lessons, or indirectly through behaviors and examples they set for themselves. Either approach is fine!
This article will talk about some ways to improve your child’s EQ.
As discussed earlier, emotional intelligence is like having water in an ocean. You have it or you don’t, but whether you have much of it depends on how you are as a person.
If there was a way to improve your EQ without any changes to who you are as a person, we would tell everyone that! But there is not. Like body weight, what makes someone think they are awake during sleep will make some people struggle with it.
Something most people lack is motivation. They believe they do not have enough of something so they stop trying to achieve their goal.
That does not work when you want to lose weight or learn a new skill. So, while it may be easy to give up, you should never give up because you did not try hard enough.
Just like learning to swim, if you ever feel nervous about diving into the pool then don’t. Once you get past the initial fear, swimming becomes easier.
For kids that mean teaching them early on that it is okay to ask questions and seek answers. Even if they do not know the answer, asking can help them find one quickly.
It also means letting them fail; instead of giving up, teach them from the failure why it is important to try harder next time.
Make eye contact
When you look at someone, your brain does some interesting things. It processes the other person as a human being with thoughts and feelings, and not just as an object or a piece of furniture.
It also studies how they make eyes contact – are their eyes open or closed? Are they looking directly at you, or do they have a casual expression on their face?
This emotional connection is one of the most important ways that people communicate. If you’ve ever noticed that there is a fleeting glance between two people before they decide whether to trust each other, it's because both individuals subconsciously evaluated the other based on past experiences.
In fact, according to psychologist William James, the first time someone makes direct eye contact with you, it is “the deepest and most meaningful gaze” they will offer you.
So why should we care about emotional intelligence for kids?
Because making good decisions comes down to understanding yourself and what emotions mean, and having control over those emotions.
If you can't regulate your own emotions, then it becomes difficult to understand others' emotions — and thus, it puts a damper on your ability to form relationships.
That goes beyond feeling bad for a few minutes after something happened -- it can affect your confidence in yourself and the world around you.
Listen to your child closely
As we mentioned before, listening is one of the most important skills you can develop as a parent. If you are not able to listen to what someone has to say, then how will you know if they are telling the truth?
It also means nothing if you don’t understand their language or tone. You must be aware of what things matter to them and why they feel the way they do.
This emotional intelligence comes more naturally to some people than others, but it is something every person needs to hone.
By being aware of what makes your children feel good and bad, you will begin to help them deal with issues more effectively.
They may come to you for advice, which helps you both grow. A lot of parents think that they should tell their kids everything, but that isn’t always the best approach.
Certain things are too sensitive to share at this stage of their life, and even an ‘adult’ thing said out loud could hurt them badly.
Parents who have low levels of emotional intelligence sometimes make matters worse by arguing with their children, trying to force them into doing things that they are unwilling to do.
That only creates stress and resentment, and weakens the relationship.
Ask your child about their experience
It is very important that as a parent you ask questions to learn more about yourself as a person, how you feel about things, and what makes your child feel good or bad.
Asking these questions can be tricky at times because not all of us are like our parents.
Your children may not tell you everything, but they will probably share some parts of themselves if asked properly.
By asking them appropriate questions, you will know how to help your child work through his emotions and understand others’ emotions better.
Ask your child to share their thoughts
As we know, children at this stage of development are very vocal about how they feel. When they’re feeling angry or hurt, they often say something about it.
But what happens when they don’t? What if they seem indifferent towards you even though you tried hard to make them happy earlier in the day?
It can be difficult to determine whether they didn’t want to see you because they were upset with you, or if they just weren’t interested. Either way, it's important for parents to ask their kids why they aren't talking to them, and try to understand the reason behind their silence.
Be honest with your child
As we mentioned earlier, being able to identify and understand emotions is a powerful tool for humans. If you’re not sure what someone else is feeling, you can’t offer them help or guidance that they need.
So, how do you teach your kids about emotion? By being honest with them!
When your kid comes home from school complaining about something she did or didn’t get done, don’t start off by saying “That made her feel bad.” That will only make her feel worse.
Instead, say something like “I noticed when I came out of my room this morning that you were a little bit upset. What happened?” or “You looked kind of sad when you walked into our house today. Is there anything going on at school?”
This way, your children have a chance to talk about their feelings without you passing judgment first. They also learn one important lesson: When you're trying to help somebody, ask questions and be open.
We as parents already have so much responsibility, we do not need to add more tasks that require emotional intelligence. If you feel like your child is never showing any emotions or understanding of others’ feelings, then it may be because they are not learning how to manage their own emotions.
If you notice signs of stress or anger in your children, take a break before trying to talk to them about what they are feeling. Give them time to calm down and/or discuss things with you later if they are able to.
Avoid putting too much pressure on your kids to understand why other people might feel hurt or angry. They are still young adults and will make mistakes just like anyone else!
If your child does show some emotion, praise him or her for his or her strength and try to figure out what happened to cause that reaction.
Never assume anything – ask your child questions and listen to his or her answers.
Encourage your child
As mentioned earlier, one of the most important things you can do as a parent is to be aware of your child’s emotions. If you are not sure what something makes your child feel, ask them!
As parents we sometimes get so focused on our jobs that we forget about our kids.
We spend time at work, we run around after school activities, and we make dinner every night, all while trying to connect with our children outside of the house.
It is easy to lose sight of what goes into making your child happy. This is especially true when they are doing something that seems difficult for them.
When this happens it is very natural to become frustrated or even angry. These are normal reactions, but don’t take those feelings too seriously because they will only hurt your kid more.
Instead of responding with anger, try looking ahead and anticipating how these experiences will help your child grow. This way you can prepare and prevent any negative effects from occurring.
Parenting isn’t just about being there for your child during times of sadness, it is also helping them deal with happiness.
By teaching your child how to manage their own emotions they will be better able to handle bigger challenges later in life.