We all want to give our children the absolute best start in life, and that includes how we teach them. According to the Robyn Taylor Child Development Centre (robyntaylor.com.au), addressing a child’s emotional needs is just as important as their academic ones for proper development.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
This is a bit of a new concept in today’s parenting world. Emotional intelligence is really just the awareness of one’s own emotions as well as the feelings of others. To be more specific, there are 3 areas involved:
- Understanding and recognizing emotions, both your own and in others
- Being able to use your own emotions in a positive or constructive way
- Managing your own emotions, and to help others do the same
Though these things are not as concrete as more academic subjects, they should not be ignored. But if you are not familiar with the idea of teaching emotional intelligence, it can be a confusing idea to grasp.
How to Teach Emotional Intelligence
So how do you go about teaching this to your growing child? There are many parenting methods or techniques you can work with to help your child with their emotional intelligence.
- Try to see things from their perspective and let them know you understand
- Let your kids express their emotions in their own way
- Listen when they talk about their feelings
- Teach them to solve problems, so emotional issues can be resolved
- Use playtime to show positive emotional responses in various scenarios
- Be a good role model yourself when handling emotions, both your own and with others
By letting kid’s feel their feelings and to learn the proper responses, rather than forcing them to feel we think they should, they can develop their own inner emotional intelligence. Your acceptance of those emotions can provide vital validation so that your children grow up to accept their feelings as valuable, and they will then see other people’s emotions as valuable too. That’s how empathy develops. And with empathy, grows a healthier way of dealing with other people in relationships.
The problem solving aspect is very important because it helps a child build coping skills. Being sad or frustrated is unpleasant and one of the best ways to eliminate the feelings is to work on the problem that causes them, and to find a positive solution whenever possible. That provides a sense of power so that your feelings don’t end up controlling situations or growing to unmanageable size.
Lastly, it’s vital that you present a well-adjust sense of emotional intelligence yourself. Your kids will always learn from what they see in their parents, or other caregivers if that’s the case.
If this is the first time you’re hearing about emotional intelligence, don’t start to panic that you’re not teaching it. Many of these ideas are already part of healthy parenting anyway. Now that you are aware of a few new ideas, try to implement them in your own family.