In today’s challenging world, the conventional concepts of intelligence are no longer enough to thrive in life. Through years of extensive research and exploration of human behavior, the light has been thrown on the importance of emotional intelligence. This concept is relatively new as compared to other fields of study in psychology, but none the less is gaining more relevance among health care professionals and the general masses.
Daniel Goleman, a pioneer in the field of emotional intelligence, defined it in the context of the following 5 components –
3. Social skill
Although these concepts were given as parts of leadership skills, they are none the less applicable to children as well. He emphasized on the fact that these skills can be learned, developed and nurtured. To instill the above mentioned qualities the parents needs to be a proactive part of the child’s journey.
Emotional Intelligence must run parallel with mental intelligence and other developmental parameters when raising a child. To nurture emotional intelligence in children various techniques can be used, such as –
Teach them to how to introspect
Introspection is one of the most important parts of self-awareness.One must learn how to recognize their triggers. Triggers are those situational factors that evoke negative emotions in the child. For example, not being able to play in the classroom might cause frustration in the child, in this situation self-regulation, comes becomes important. To develop that understanding of what frustrated the child and how to handle it will come along with introspection skills. Child behavior specialists teach techniques of behavioral control when faced with negative emotions. But first, two things need to be identified by the therapist – what triggered the child and why these skills of identification are later taught to the child so they can handle themselves independently.
This is a classic technique of cognitive behavioral therapy, one of the most clinically researched and widely used Psychotherapies. This technique involves maintaining a diary where one writes down their emotions everyday. It becomes a helpful tool for building self-awareness. Developing a habit of journaling since childhood is a very healthy practice. It allows the child to have a safe space for emotional release. The parent and the child together can do journaling at the end of each day, this can be a good way of spending time together.
A child must be taught how to develop self-acceptance in life. Through all situations, one must be able to unconditionally accept what they are feeling. Without the acceptance of one’s emotions, it is difficult to achieve a healthy balance. You can encourage the child to feel okay about their emotions, no matter what the situation may be.
Acknowledge & respect your child’s perspective
Each time your child reaches out to you to share their emotions and experiences, be an active and accepting listener. Sometimes a child’s initiative to share their lives, are overlooked because the relevance of their experiences are underestimated. Being an active listener, allows the child to feel emotionally secure about themselves. When a parent shows to the child that their emotions are acknowledged, an example of acceptance is set, indirectly.
Teach the child how to handle challenges
Ups and downs are a constant part of life. When faced with a challenge, even adults react in a way that was taught to them in childhood. Hence, early childhood learning plays a key role in emotional intelligence. When challenges arise, negative emotions are evoked because unexpected situations come up, this is a completely natural phenomenon. The first step of dealing with challenges automatically involves teaching the child how to settle these negative emotions. Many techniques can be used for this, for example, deep breathing during anxiety or frustration brings a sense of relief. One needs to under what works for them, it becomes a parent’s responsibility to teach their child healthy coping mechanisms when things are going wrong. Child behavior therapists extensively work upon building healthy coping mechanisms because they are the building blocks of a highly emotionally intelligent child.
Don’t forget to acknowledge your own negative emotions
Children learn through observation and parents are the most important role models. A parent sets an example of how to deal with emotions in front of their children without even realizing it. For example, if a parent is frustrated with their jobs and they end up having an episode of rage in front of the child, negative learning is imparted immediately. Even if a parent avoids their own emotions it can be quite damaging, it is ok to show the child that even you have your own set of challenges from time to time. If a parent has healthy discussions about their own lives with family members, it has a positive impact on the child. The habit of healthy expression is immediately created.