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Emotional Intelligence Of A Child – Why And Ways To Strengthen It

Kids and emotions are entwined; while parents may want to do the best for their kids’ financially, but emotional investment plays an equally important role. The ability to understand, manage, and use emotions is known as emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is called EQ or EI, a higher EQ can predict success in social intelligence and emotional conditions. EQ develops with time and age.

Developing emotional intelligence:

Kids, like adults, also need to identify and acknowledge their feelings, and this is not an easy task. The first step to developing emotional intelligence is acknowledging emotions. Emotional acknowledgment is a long process that takes practice and patience. Getting it right always is not guaranteed, even when you have learned it all. It is continuous improvement; a journey on which the earlier you embark, the better. This continuous process works best when started at a young age before the ups and downs of adolescence show up.

Emotional intelligence determines our ability to manage our feelings and relationships. Good social skills are associated with high EQ levels. … However, if I must choose, I believe EQ is slightly more important than IQ because it develops one’s ability to judge and react to people around them.

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It is the responsibility of parents and teachers who develop, help, and mold kids to build their emotions from the start, making them emotionally smart. Parents are the first teachers and they equip their ward with tools to develop successful relations and sustain them. For example, your child’s first friend is where you need to pay special attention, help them nurture, value, and continue with it, so your kid learns to live up with relations outside of the family.

Everyone wishes their kids to be a champ, and not a chump when they are put through the tests of life. Sports and competition in the outside world are where emotions matter the most.

The emotional landscape is an unfamiliar terrain and parents need to confront and tread with utmost care. They need to hold the hands of their children and walk the steep learning curve of emotional intelligence step-by-step. 

Below are few tips to help you navigate through different stages of emotional intelligence better and let your kids explore the world of emotions in a brighter, better way.

The #1 way professionals with high IQs destroy their careers is by having low emotional intelligence (or “EQ” for short). – Victor Cheng, Ex- McKinsey & Company

5 Tips for raising an emotionally intelligent child:

1. Listen but avoid judgment

Children usually fume out their feelings when they are lost or directionless. As parents, listen to their feelings, sometimes ranting too. This will help you know and understand their pain, problems and difficulties. Often when the feelings are fumed, a child feels lighter and can think clearly. Hear them out but do not give an immediate fix to their issues, instead try and be as compassionate as possible. Show them you understand and you care. Being understood gives a sense of belonging and security building emotional security. Secure kids are emotionally smarter as well as stable.

When you have the IQ to make good intellectual decisions and the EQ to build relationships with those around you, the sky is the limit. – Inc.com

2. Manage and absorb their frustrations

Children tend to get impacted by external stimuli very often and their behavior is then ruled by these disappointments and feelings. As kids, it is difficult to identify and separate actions from feelings. To kids’, actions are a subset of the main set of all their feelings. It is okay to absorb their feelings and frustrations only sometimes and give them some time, space and ground to vent and pacify themselves. Avoid being an emotional translator to them all the time. A big part of emotional intelligence is being able to understand and absorb situations. When kids see you absorb their emotions, they would learn the same when they step out of the house. 

3. Emotions can be unpleasant

Emotions in our society are usually judged, some are tagged as positive emotions and few others are tagged negative emotions. Positive emotions are happy, energized and guilt free but negative ones are sad, brooding and makes one feel guilty. Avoid such emotional categorization and judgements.

Remember, emotions that do not fit your positive or negative bucket may still be very important to your child and as parents, start accepting their emotions by being less judgemental. Just do not encourage them by absorbing to a point that kids feel hurting someone is also an acceptable emotion, draw clear lines of demarcations on acceptability scales. This is important to build social intelligence. Acceptance in society and your comfort in it depend a lot on your social intelligence

4. Help them articulate their emotions

Help them understand their emotions; teach them the right set of words/vocab to express it so nothing derails. Adopt an informed parenting approach

5. Recognize and then regulate

EQ is built over time and needs to run as a culture in your family. This also needs to be in your family’s DNA, so it is well regulated by every member of the family. It needs to be in the family for the child to relate with everyone and not just their parents.

3 thoughts on “Emotional Intelligence Of A Child – Why And Ways To Strengthen It

  • July 23, 2020 at 4:36 pm
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    Really helpful post for parents. As most of us are focused about our child’s physical and mental growth, emotional intelligence is less of our concern. Where as EI is very important for everyone to face the challenges of life. To help a child from early stage for recognizing and expressing their feelings is the best thing we can do as parents. Thank you for this insightful article.

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