It is thought that who we are as children, we ultimately become as adults. Thus, as parents, you want to foster and nurture children’s emotional quotient at an early age. Focus is not just placed on a child’s academic intelligence, but more importantly on emotional intelligence.
What is emotional quotient?
Also known as emotional intelligence, it is the ability to be aware of oneself, manage one’s emotions, express empathy, motivate oneself, and build good social skills. These are the skills that one can learn and would be very useful throughout a person’s life.
Having emotional intelligence is beneficial in many ways. Children with high EQ perform better in school and also possess equally high IQ. They also find it easy to make friends, cultivate these friendships, and resolve conflicts. There have been studies where children who are identified to have high EQ tend to succeed later in life when they become adults.
These emotionally intelligent children, as they grow, are more adjusted emotionally and mentally than their peers. They are able to communicate their feelings and are considerate about the feelings of others. They can calm down when they are upset and are able to cope with frustrations. But how does a parent help their children to develop strong EQ?
A parent can encourage his or her child to identify what their feelings are as they experience it. Teaching the child the names of these emotions will help. Guiding them when they feel “happy”, “angry”, “sad”, or “excited” will give them the idea and match the meaning of these emotions. It will be valuable to help them build their vocabulary of emotions.
Children can also be taught to show empathy. A parent can demonstrate this by acknowledging and validating the child’s feelings. For example, if a child is throwing a tantrum because he or she is being denied a privilege, the parent can validate these feelings by saying, “I also get frustrated when I don’t get what I want”. When the child sees that the parent understands his or her exasperation, he or she will more likely start quitting the bad behaviour.
Parents modelling the appropriate behaviour will also be beneficial. Children watch their parents all the time, and they copy their habits and practices. Thus, parents will need to be able to model socially appropriate behaviour so that their children can express their feelings without being overbearing or offending others. Parents are firstly the main role models for their children.
Parents should also teach their children how to cope and deal with discouragements or disappointments. They need to learn how to calm down when upset, lift themselves up when they feel sad, or be courageous in face of something they fear. Parents can help them with several “calming down” techniques, such as taking deep breaths, holding a favourite toy or item, listening to pleasant music, or adding soothing scents to the room.
Children can also learn how to handle and solve problems on their own, especially on conflicts that involve their siblings. After they have correctly identified their feelings, they can then explore how to fix the problems that may be associated with it. The parent can act as a coach to guide them on what to do next. The child can be asked on the top five possible solutions to a problem, with the main intention of brainstorming and getting creative with ideas. He or she can continuously practice problem-solving and learn to become independent.
Being consistent in teaching and helping your child to develop a high emotional quotient will be key for their success later in life.
Carrie Benedet is an emotional intelligence specialist who can provide more guidance on improving your child’s emotional quotient. Send her a message today for inquiries.