Our children are our future; educating them to connect with their emotions and develop social skills and emotional intelligence is invaluable to their development. Raising our children to reach their highest potential should be our top priority; I've devoted a chapter on this topic in my book, The Power of Emotion.
THE POWER OF EMOTION | CHAPTER 30 | OVERVIEW
Emotional Intelligence Is The Greatest Gift We Can Give Children
If we want children to thrive, the simple answer is to develop their emotional intelligence. Without question, emotional intelligence is a significant part of their development.
EQ vs IQ
Parents frequently focus on developing their children's intellect rather than emotional intelligence. How many grew up with their parents constantly telling them to do their homework and get better grades? Perhaps, even suggesting they won't amount to anything without a good education. I heard that, and many of my friends did as well.
What about the development of their social skills? Making friends and getting along with others was expected but often not taught. Sadly many school districts don't even have emotional intelligence training as part of the curriculum.
Did you know emotional intelligence is known as "the other kind of smart" and the number one predictor of personal and professional success? It's time to concentrate on our children's emotional intelligence as part of their overall development.
Managing Emotions Can be Difficult for Everyone, Not Just Children
I'm fortunate to have a background in child development and experience working with children and developing their emotional intelligence. My career began in Early Childhood Education, specializing in children with disabilities. Many times I observed parents struggling with their children during emotional meltdowns. Sometimes, the children worked with their emotions, but often, neither the children nor the parents could manage them. It was never pleasant to watch, and everyone involved was exhausted when the situation ended.
Children are no different than adults; their emotions can be hijacked, triggering them to act out or misbehave. It doesn't take long for children's moods to change, affecting their behaviour, sometimes for no apparent reason. When that occurs, they need support to calm down and manage their emotions. For some children, something as basic as redirection is all they need. I demonstrate many practical strategies in my new book, The Power of Emotion.
Strategies to Manage Children in Conflict
It is impossible for children to manage their emotions all the time. They learn to regulate emotional responses as they mature and gain life experience. The more empathetic you are towards your child, the better. Taking time to sit and listen to them to acknowledge their feelings and challenges without judging them is a great start. Once a child is calm, you can teach them coping strategies.
Do the following:
- Help your child feel loved and safe
- Speak softly to them to calm them
- Get down to their level
- Focus only on them
- Give eye contact to demonstrate you are listening to them
Don't do this:
- Scold or punish them during their emotional upheaval
- Worry about what others around you think or say
Managing emotions is challenging for everyone. It's a skill many of us work on regularly. Children will become more experienced in navigating emotional situations with practice, support and consistency. Over time, they will build their emotional awareness.
Nurturing children's intellectual skills is very important, but equally important is their emotional intelligence. As children learn to identify, regulate and manage their emotional responses, they will build strong relationships with others, live a more fulfilling life, and make this world a better place. You will find some interesting information regarding this in my book, The Power of Emotion.
This article was originally published on December 7, 2021, and has been updated (June 2023).
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