Emotional intelligence is something that many parents are concerned with these days, but what exactly is it?
It may be something that can help your child as they grow up and face challenges in their daily life.
Are you wanting to raise a resilient and emotionally intelligent child? To learn about how to teach emotional intelligence, keep reading.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
The big idea behind emotional intelligence is that you are better able to understand and identify your emotions, which makes it easier to react to them and problem-solve.
Not all adults are great with emotional intelligence.
If you have a fear of driving, for example, you may not realize you’re scared when you drive. You may just associate the act of driving with something negative and don’t explore the feeling any deeper than that. If you want to learn how hypnosis can help, you may be able to learn more about your emotions going forward.
You may have more success with managing your emotions if you have high emotional intelligence and this is why many parents want to help with their children’s emotional intelligence.
For some adults, it can be hard to understand that children’s emotions are just as valid as our own. While their problems may seem quite small to us, they are big to them.
Responding to Children’s Emotions
There are four main styles of responding to a child’s emotions that parents will use. Each of these ways will impact the child’s overall emotional intelligence as they develop and grow.
If you’re this type of parent, you will accept that your child has emotions and understand that their emotions are real. Past that, however, you don’t help the child solve problems that stem from their emotions or put limits on their emotional-driven behaviors.
If you’re this type of parent, you see your child’s negative emotions as being unimportant or fake. You may attempt to get rid of them fast and try to distract your child with something else instead of letting them feel their feeling.
If you’re this type of parent, you may accept positive emotions, but not accept negative emotions. You may try to punish your children when they exhibit negative emotions in an attempt to make that emotion go away.
Emotion Coaching Parents
If you’re this type of parent, you will value all of your child’s emotions, even the negative ones. You are not impatient when your child is expressing any emotion they feel.
How to Teach Emotional Intelligence
If you’re a parent that wants to help their children gain more emotional intelligence, the good news is that you can start at any point.
Here are a few simple things you may want to try with your children to teach emotional intelligence.
Children learn to categorize things when they are very young, but the key to being aware of something is to embody the experience.
Emotions are often what connect us to experiences. When you remember something, you probably remember how you felt when it was happening.
Learning about the way that we embody the feeling (or literally feel it in our bodies) will help children make sense of their world and their emotions.
Children have less cognitive development than adults and they are more emotional than us as a result. As a parent, you need to provide a mirror for your child to understand their feelings.
For example, you can say “I can see that you feel sad” rather than start immediately giving advice or helping to fix the problem. This helps the child be aware of their emotion and develop their own self-reflection.
When a parent can tell that their child is feeling something, what do they notice first? Typically, it is not what the child says, but is instead what they look like on the outside.
Their posture or facial expression is usually a dead giveaway. A child might say “I’m angry” and has a huge smile on their face. Would you believe they are angry or that they are happy?
As a parent, it is a good idea to connect the feeling the child has with what they say and do. If a child says “I hate you!” after you set a limit, it is important for them to understand they are saying that out of anger or frustration. This will allow them to connect that emotional experience and embodiment with that specific feeling in the future.
Arguing with the child that they are wrong is not a good idea because it makes the child think that what they are saying warrants a discussion and might be correct (even though it is just something they are saying out of emotion).
Instead, stay with the feeling they have and help them understand that these feelings are perfectly okay, but they still have to stay within your rules or limits.
Everyone has problems that sometimes make our daily life hard, but they can be framed in a way that goes beyond negative feelings.
You can help your child engage the obstacles that come along as something that makes them stronger and gives them experience. This helps a child learn from the process and create better problem-solving strategies for their negative emotions.
To do this, the child must first acknowledge the problem, their emotion, and the message their emotion brings. Saying “this isn’t what I wanted to happen” and then making space away from the emotion is a good first step.
After that, start the problem-solving process. Help the child think of creative solutions by saying things like “I wonder…” or “Do you think that might help?” but don’t give advice too quickly.
Try out these solutions with your child and when one of them works, talk about the problem-solving process with your child and praise them for doing a great job. This will set the tone for the next time an obstacle arises.
Resiliency is built by facing challenges and learning to deal with them and an emotionally resilient child will have an easier time handling negative emotions.
Start Teaching Children Emotional Intelligence
Now that you know how to teach emotional intelligence, it’s time to get started with your own children. Create a lasting bond with your child while teaching them this valuable life skill at the same time!
Do you want some more parenting tips? Be sure to check out the rest of our website to get some more advice.