In this modern era driven by constant technology advancement and a materialistic world, staying grounded and grateful becomes a challenge. With peer pressure and limitless exposure to various media, emotional intelligence (EQ) is the key to raising a socially responsible child. Nothing beats the solid confidence of understanding the real meaning of life and success.
According to psychologist John Gottman, a child with a high EQ is better able to cope with his feelings, can detach himself from emotional high-wire acts, understands and relates well with others, and can form strong friendships more easily than a child with a lower EQ.
We share with you some tips to raising emotionally intelligent kids:
1. Listen with empathy
Whenever your child expresses his feelings to you, acknowledge him and reflect what he’s shared back to him. Then, use examples from your own life to show him your comprehension of his feelings. This tells him that these feelings are normal, and that they will pass.
2. Validate your child’s emotions
Instead of sweeping your child’s tantrum under the carpet by saying “There’s no need to be so upset!” or “Quiet now or…”, acknowledge his feelings and reactions. Say “Yes, it must be upsetting because you want the toy now” or “It’s really frustrating when you can’t climb the table and be like a superhero”. Tell them it’s normal to experience that and coach them what to do with those feelings.
3. Allow your child’s burst of emotions
Don’t try to distract him from his feelings. For examples, don’t shame him when he hurts himself by saying “It’s nothing!” “Big boys don’t cry”. Acknowledge, empathise and let him show you what happened. Allow him some time to process. Soon, he will be ready to move on.
4. Turn tantrums and conflicts into coaching tools
Talking through emotions works the same way for children as it does for most adults. If your child is upset, talk with him about why he’s feeling that way, work out some options on managing it and guide him through them.
5. Model emotional intelligence
Monkey see, monkey do. Their behavior is a reflection of yours. Stay in touch with your own feelings. Manage your anger calmly. By acknowledging you’re upset without acting harsh, you are showing your child that even difficult feelings can be managed.
How else can we cultivate healthy emotions among our children? Do feel free to share your tips!