How To Explain Emotional Intelligence To A Child

Over the past few years, emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is commonly referred to) has become one of the most popular topics in psychology. Some even refer to it as the “newest big thing” in psychology.

Many claim that having higher levels of EQ will make you happier and help you achieve your goals more effectively. There are now many courses, apps, and books dedicated to helping people learn how to develop their empathy, self-regulation, and motivation.

But while there are clearly benefits to developing your EQ, some experts worry that this focus on emotions can be harmful for children. They believe that too much emphasis on emotion can actually reduce someone’s overall psychological health.

This article will discuss why emotional intelligence is important, what kids need from parents, and some ways parents can try to inspire their child’s development of EQ.

Disclaimer: The content in this article should not be used to diagnose or treat any mental health condition. Only seek professional medical/psychological care if needed.

Why is emotional intelligence so important?

Emotional intelligence is very important because we live our lives mostly due to our interactions with other people. We depend on others for things like food, shelter, and safety, and they rely on us for similar things.

Without these relationships, humans would likely go extinct.

Factors that affect your emotional intelligence

how to explain emotional intelligence to a child

There are several factors that can influence your EQ as well as others’ perception of your EQ.

Some of these things include: situation, culture, gender, age, level of education, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, upbringing, life experiences, and genetics.

All of these different qualities factor into how you perceive yourself and what other people think of you. For example, someone who has been told their whole lives that they are not smart may feel very discouraged about their own ability to learn.

Other individuals in their community or area of work may also assume that because of their low IQ that they do not know anything important. This could make them feel bad about themselves and even cause self-harm or suicide.

This is why it is so important to recognize your personal strengths and weaknesses and be aware of the effects that external forces have on you.

Ways to improve your emotional intelligence

A recent study found that people who are able to recognize and understand their emotions are less likely to suffer from mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.

It also determined that being able to identify and describe one’s own feelings is linked to higher overall happiness.

So how can you teach your child about emotion? Here are some tips for doing just that.

Understand that every person has different levels of emotional intelligence. What works for someone else may not work for you, nor does it apply to everyone.

That said, you can learn something from others’ EQ and use those lessons to enhance yours.

You can also look at other areas of life like business or education where skills related to empathy and understanding abound.

Here we will focus only on teaching kids about emotional intelligence because it is an important piece in helping them lead healthy lives.

Teach your kids

how to explain emotional intelligence to a child

It is impossible to teach someone else’s EQ, but you can help them develop their own. Kids at all ages show signs of emotional intelligence – they are able to recognize emotions in others and apply what they know about emotion to themselves.

Parents play an important role in teaching children how to manage their emotions. When possible, use examples from life and refer to past experiences to demonstrate effective ways to handle feelings.

When that isn’t possible, try to identify what element of emotional understanding your child seems to be lacking and work on it with them.

For example, if your six-year-old doesn’t seem to understand why her friend may not want to spend time with her, ask whether she has ever felt like that before and what she could have done to make herself feel better.

She might also need advice on what to say to her friend when she next sees each other so she can put into practice what she learned.

Emotional literacy comes in lots of different forms, but overall, educating our children about their emotions and helping them deal effectively with them will only serve to strengthen their relationships and self-confidence.

“It's really important for parents to acknowledge their kids' strengths as well as areas for improvement,” says Amanda. “We tend to focus more on what we're good at instead of what we're working on.

Be consistent

how to explain emotional intelligence to a child

As mentioned before, it is very important to note that no matter what level of emotional intelligence you have, you will never feel like enough. You will always feel like there is more you should be doing or achieving. This can make you feel bad about yourself if you do not know how to control your emotions or they are getting the better of you.

However, this cannot help but motivate you to learn more about EQ. It may even inspire you to try developing your own skills or those of others so that you can achieve some goals.

Furthermore, other people may perceive you differently depending on their perception of you and your EQ. For example, someone who has low empathy might think you are cold and hard-hearted because you did not cry during a sad movie.

On the contrary, someone with high empathic ability could admire your strength and self-control. Just remember that whatever level of EQ you currently have, that’s all the knowledge and experience you have!

You get one chance as a human being to improve yours, which makes every day worth it. Keep practicing, and you will find yourself in a much happier place.

Make eye contact

how to explain emotional intelligence to a child

Making direct, meaningful connections with people is a universal language that everyone understands. It is also one of the most powerful ways to connect with others. When you make direct eye contacts, it shows that you are interested in them, and they can return the interest.

Direct eye contact does not necessarily mean looking someone directly in their eyes, but rather just making sure your face is visible and you are paying attention to what they are saying or doing. If you cannot make eye contact due to young age, then at least nod or say something true about what they said to show an understanding.

If possible, try to look into their eyes for a few seconds before nodding or agreeing so that it becomes more natural. This will take practice, but will eventually stick!

A good way to begin teaching children emotional intelligence (EI) is by showing them how important it is in everyday life. You can do this by asking questions like “What did you learn today?”or “Tell me about your day.” Then, have them talk about their friend who always makes them feel loved and accepted.

You could ask if they ever had a friend like that before and see if they can describe them. Perhaps they were never very friendly with each other, or the friendship was mostly one sided – only his/her friend knew about some part of him/them.

Be realistic

how to explain emotional intelligence to a child

As mentioned earlier, there is no way to teach someone else’s EQ. You can try explaining it to them, but that will only work if they already have some in place.

If you want to see true change, you have to look at the person not just for what emotions they seem to be having, but why they are having those emotions.

This could be due to something outside of their control like a stressful situation, or something within their control like an argument they got into with a friend.

There may also be times when they aren’t able to put aside their feelings, which could potentially lead to more negative experiences down the line.

Overall, I think emotional intelligence is very important. If everyone had enough of it, then we would live in a much happier world.

Share experiences

how to explain emotional intelligence to a child

It is important for kids to understand that emotions do not work like a button you press once and they are done.

Emotions are a part of us, they help motivate us, and they can be motivating or frustrating depending on what person they are attached to and how someone else reacts to them.

This could be because people don’t agree about an issue, or because something unexpected happens. We sometimes feel things more deeply than others around us.

That’s why it is so important as parents to teach your children how to deal with their own feelings and those of other people.

By learning how to manage their emotional lives, kids will grow up to be better adults.

Be authentic

how to explain emotional intelligence to a child

As mentioned earlier, emotional intelligence is an internal process that does not necessarily show up in your behavior every moment of every day. Therefore, it can be difficult to recognize when you are showing low levels of EI or if you have low perception of your own level of EI.

Furthermore, because this ability is made up of many different components, some people may feel insecure about their knowledge or experience with certain skills.

This could lead to lower EQ scores even though someone might know how to do something like understanding emotions or self-regulation.

So, as a teacher, parent, colleague, friend — anyone who comes into contact with children and adolescents daily — it’s important to be aware of your own feelings and tendencies, as well as those of others.

It also means being able to identify what parts of the job require emotional skill and helping them learn these skills so they don’t suffer due to lack of training in another area.

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