Studies consistently show that emotional intelligence is much more important than IQ because it relates directly to happiness and success. Many highly intelligent adults struggle in day-to-day life due to a lack of emotional intelligence.
Making an effort to increase your child’s emotional intelligence is one of your most important tasks as a parent.
Avoid downplaying this important factor of happiness and success. Those with a higher level of emotional intelligence enjoy more satisfying careers and stronger, more fulfilling relationships.
Emotional intelligence has five components:
- Self-regulation of emotional states. An emotionally healthy person can manage their moods appropriately and successfully.
- The ability to motivate yourself. Staying the course in spite of doubt and distractions is an important component of emotional intelligence.
- Empathy for others. This includes the ability to recognize emotions and feelings in others and choose an appropriate course of action.
- Navigating relationships. This aspect deals with conflict resolution, treating others appropriately, and receiving the same in return.
- Self-awareness. It’s important to be able to recognize your own thoughts and emotions dispassionately to make wise choices.
These five qualities are important in all aspects of life. Just as a child learns to read or do multiplication, it’s important to learn how to manage and recognize emotion in oneself and others.
These strategies can help you increase the emotional intelligence of your child:
1. Teach your child about their emotions by recognizing and labeling them.
Who doesn’t like to have their perspective recognized? Doing so will validate the way your child feels. Putting a label on the emotion provides some perspective to your child.
- “You’re very excited about Christmas.”
- “You’re sad that you can’t go out and play.”
2. Help your child to recognize how they respond to stress.
Some children cry, while others seek solitude. Your child might hit a sibling over the head with a toy. We all have our own ways of dealing with uncomfortable emotions.
- “You cry when you’re tired and frustrated.”
- “You want some alone time when you feel angry.”
Your child will start to associate certain emotions with their behaviors. This is an effective way of teaching a child to notice their emotional states.
3. Encourage your child to share their emotions.
If your child is angry, scared, or nervous, encourage them to discuss it. You might want to share circumstances when you felt the same emotion as a child.
Providing your own examples allows your child to develop a broader perspective.
Discussing their emotions with you will allow the emotions to pass. This is healthier than suppressing them.
4. Encourage problem-solving behaviors when emotions run high.
Teach your child that strong emotions are a sign of something that needs to be addressed, if possible. It’s more effective to work on a solution than it is to become more upset.
- “What’s wrong? How can we make it better?”
- “Do you know why you’re crying? What would make you stop crying?”
5. Be an example of emotional intelligence.
Children learn many of their strategies for dealing with the world by observing their parents. Be an example worthy of imitating.
There are many excellent books on emotional intelligence at your local bookstore. Learn how to enhance your own emotional intelligence. Your child and you will both benefit.
Does your child excel at school but struggle socially? Building your child’s emotional intelligence is very important. Those with high levels of emotional intelligence enjoy happier and more productive lives. Learn about emotional intelligence today and prepare your child for a bright future.