Emotional intelligence is the measure of an individual’s abilities to recognize and manage their emotions, and studies are consistently showing us that emotional intelligence is much more important than IQ because it relates directly to a person’s happiness and success throughout their life. Many highly intelligent people struggle in their daily life due to a lack of emotional intelligence.
As a parent one of your most important tasks is to help increase your child’s emotional intelligence.
To do this parents need to be aware of and avoid downplaying this important factor of happiness and success in their child’s life. Children with a higher level of emotional intelligence grow up to be adults who enjoy more satisfying careers and stronger, more fulfilling relationships.
Emotional intelligence has five components:
1. Self-regulation of their emotional states. An emotionally healthy person can manage their moods appropriately and successfully.
Learning how to do this helps your child to do several things. It helps them to think before acting in situations and gives them the tools necessary to cheer themselves up after disappointments in their lives.
2. The ability to motivate themselves. Staying the course in spite of disappointment, doubt, and distractions is an important component of emotional intelligence.
Self-motivation includes a drive to continue to improve and achieve our goals and the ability to take initiative, to act on opportunities that present themselves, and to do this with optimism and resiliency.
3. Learning to have empathy for others. This includes the ability to recognize emotions and feelings in others and choose how to appropriately act towards them.
Without empathy, it is difficult to sustain meaningful relationships in life. So by developing empathy, children are learning to accurately assess another’s needs in social situations, which is a tool that will help them in a wide variety of situations throughout their lives.
Life Coach Tony Robbins says, “Improving emotional intelligence transforms your relationships. Being attuned to your own feelings makes you more aware of other people’s emotions, which enhances your capacity for healthy relationships.”
4. Navigating relationships. This aspect deals with conflict resolution, treating others appropriately, and receiving the same in return.
From a young age, children learn about navigating their relationships by watching their parents and older siblings. So one way we can help children learn how to effectively navigate their own relationships is by modeling good communication skills, using conflict resolution when we are upset, and by treating others with kindness.
5. Self-awareness. It’s important to be able to recognize your own thoughts and emotions in an unemotional and rational manner in order to make wise choices.
“Emotional self-awareness is the ability to understand your own emotions and their effects on your performance. You know what you are feeling and why – and how it helps or hurts what you are trying to do.” – Daniel Goleman
These five qualities are important to learn to apply in all aspects of life. Just as a child learns to read or do multiplication, it’s important to learn how to manage and recognize emotion in oneself and others.
Here are some strategies that can help you increase the emotional intelligence of your child:
1. Teach your child about his emotions by recognizing and labeling them. Who doesn’t like to have their perspective recognized? Doing so will validate the way your child feels. Putting a label on the emotion provides some perspective to your child.
“You’re very excited about your birthday.”
“You’re sad that you can’t go out and play with your friends.”
2. Help your child to recognize how they respond to stress. Sometimes children cry while others may seek solitude. Your child might hit a sibling on the the head with a toy. We all have our own ways of dealing with uncomfortable emotions.
“You cry when you’re frustrated.”
"You want to be left alone when you feel angry or upset.”
Your child will start to associate certain emotions with their behaviors. This is an effective way of teaching a child to notice their emotional states.
3. Encourage your child to share their emotions. If your child is angry, scared, or nervous, encourage him to discuss it.
Discussing their emotions with you will allow the emotions to pass. This is healthier than suppressing them.
4. Encourage problem-solving behaviors when their emotions run high. Teach your child that strong emotions are a sign of something that needs to be addressed. It’s more effective to work on a solution than it is to become more upset.
“What’s wrong? How can we make it better?”
“Do you know why you’re upset?”
Building your child’s emotional intelligence is very important to their success throughout their life. Those children with high levels of emotional intelligence enjoy happier and more productive lives. Learn about emotional intelligence today and prepare your child for a bright future.