Updated: Jul 1
What is emotional intelligence and how can you foster it in your child?
Put simply, Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, manage, and use your own emotions and the emotions of others.
Fostering emotional intelligence in children is crucial for their overall well-being and success in life. We, as parents, are the "Emotional Intelligence Superheroes" when we actively support and nurture our children's emotional development.
But how do we do this?
Here are five strategies to help you
1. Teach Emotional Awareness: Help your children identify their emotions. Encourage them to express their feelings and validate their experiences. Create a safe and non-judgmental environment where they feel comfortable discussing their emotions.
There are a range of emotions the get "masked by the top 4 strongest emotions : The greatest (and most primitive, since it originates from our early reptilian brain) is fear. ... Coming in at a close second is anger. ...third place goes to sorrow/sadness. ...
and the light at the end of the emotional tunnel is joy.
2. Promote Emotional Vocabulary: Expand your child's emotional vocabulary by introducing them to a wide range of emotions and their corresponding words. This helps them better articulate and communicate their feelings, leading to improved self-awareness and emotional expression. There are a range of emotions the get "masked" by the four strongest emotions :
The greatest (and most primitive, since it originates from our early reptilian brain) is fear. Coming in at a close second is anger. Sorrow/sadness takes third place.
And the light at the end of the emotional tunnel is joy. But there is a much richer vocabulary to describe the root causes of big feelings. And when we can name our emotions, it becomes easier to understand and express them.
3. Be proactive, not reactive.
Talking about intense emotions in the heat of a meltdown or argument is going to be 110% worthless. Why? When your child is in a state of high emotional arousal they aren’t going to hear or remember much (if anything) of what you’re saying.
We know that when the emotion center of the brain is highly activated we lose access to the thinking part of the brain (this is why your mind goes blank before a big presentation, although with anger it happens on an even larger scale!).Provide frequent and ongoing opportunities to talk about emotions and coping skills for anger during normal everyday life, so your child has a chance to commit these life-changing skills to memory.
4. Give them a lifeline
The most powerful way to help an angry child is for you, the parent, to stay calm yourself. Next to experiencing intense emotions, seeing a parent lose control tops the list of things that scare a child.
You are your child’s guidepost/mentor - you are the architect of your family and they’re counting on you to stay in control when they can’t. The cold hard truth? If you’re not ready to hold yourself accountable when emotions are running high, you shouldn’t expect your child to.
5. Teach through modeling
Set an example for your children to follow. Children learn best by observing the behavior of those around them. Be mindful of how you handle and express your own emotions. Model healthy ways of dealing with stress, anger, sadness, and other emotions.
Fostering emotional intelligence is an ongoing process that requires patience and consistent effort, however, by becoming emotional intelligence superheroes for your kids, you can help them navigate their emotions, build healthier relationships, and thrive in all aspects of life.
If you have questions, need advice, or simply want to have an interesting conversation, I'm here for you. Feel free to reach out and let's go down this pathway together.