Enhancing your child’s emotional intelligence(EQ)
The development of social and emotional abilities in
children are also designated as a revolution in child psychology.
The emotions are good, and we react physically upon them.
This reactions are produced by biochemical elements, generated by our
brains. For example, fear helps us protect ourselves against harm and warns
us about the dangers. Rage helps us overcome obstacles, and achieve our
goals, and so on. But in modern life, we face up to emotional challenges
that Nature hasn’t anticipated, and that creates conflict.
We can teach our kids the emotional and social abilities,
that will enable them to handle the emotional stress of modern times, in a
hurried and hectic lifestyle, that has made kids become prone to
irritability and anger. We can help the identify these feelings and control
In the social
aspect, we can also teach them to make and keep intimate relationships, to
overcome new situations that may distress them- such us parent’s divorce,
death of a close relative, changes of school, neighborhood, friends, etc.-
as well as to overcome the problems of child growth itself.
For further guidance see “What’s your style of
education?” in Family
Development of your child’s emotional skills
What we have to teach our children and how.
Education at the right moment
First, we have to consider the age of our child, but
above all, his developmental stage. That is, we won’t take any steps further
in his education by teaching him something new -or giving him, for instance
a toy- if he hasn’t completed the previous developmental stage. It will only
bore him. The exact opposite: a child with a set of toys, the use of which
he has already mastered, will also get bored.
Self-esteem and respect
To have high self-esteem, kids need their parents’
emotional support. It’s not only about praising an academic achievement, but
also about participating actively, putting aside some time for them. Praise
them and support them whenever their conduct is correct, but not without a
reason (like flattering). Recognize something they’ve achieved through
effort and dedication, based upon specific accomplishments, that is, you
wouldn’t say “you’re so smart, you’re the best”, because it sounds like
flattering and the kid can feel it. Instead you would say something like, “
Maria, it’s great how you’ve put away your toys”.
It’s also important to support them when they fail.
Honestly, showing interest about it, but without trying to control or meddle
because, in order to let the child’s self-esteem develop, he has to feel
respected. It’s good to observe him and let him make mistakes, and rectify
them by himself, because that’s how he is going to learn.
Unlike we may think, rules, as well as demands and goals clearly defined,
are something necessary for our children. They need to know what to expect,
they need parents to “draw the line” clearly, to set up the limits between
what’s good and bad, and it’s within this limits that the kids can make
themselves responsible for their own decisions, depending on their age.
Children rebel, turn against the rules for many different reasons, but more
often than not, they just want to know what the limit is.
teachers and educators, are clear about what benefits a child and what is
potentially harmful for him, we can be firm in our statements, we can firmly
tell him: “Darling, you’re not going to do that again” when his
behavior is beyond the socially accepted limits. Not always is appropriate
reasoning with kids, not at all times. For instance, if she’s in the middle
of a tantrum, what will help her the most is seeing assurance and affection
in her parents, not reasoning.
rules have to be consistent and coherent, previously thought up, and have to
benefit the child. And, though it might be tough, parents have to be firm
and consistent with the rules, every time the child tests them.
TV and computer
Many parents have discovered a very inexpensive nanny: the television!
In front of a TV set, kids get used to observe passively; they don’t develop
their social abilities, they “don’t do anything” creative during the passive
time they sit in front of that device. Most TV programs do nothing else but
letting the kids pass their time. We recommend you that you spend some time
playing and talking your kids, and if they insist on watching a particular
program, find out why they like it, then talk to them and tell them your
opinion about it.
The role a child
plays watching TV or playing computer games is not always the same, though.
Sometimes his role is active, not passive, learning things that develop his
intelligence and creativity. There are quite some highly creative programs,
where kids will make compositions or tell stories. Even then, this didactic
way of entertainment lacks social communication, therefore it is not
recommended that kids spend too much time involved in it. Time has to be
reasonably distributed among diverse activities, such us outings, games with
peers, with parents, relatives, etc.
Laughs and joy in the family
Optimism is an
ability that can be learned, it’s one of the best gifts you could give a
We all know the
anecdote about two people sitting in front of a half-full glass. The
optimist says, “the glass is almost full”. The pessimist says, “the glass is
almost empty”. The habit of seeing the positive side of events, and always
expect the best results is a great advantage for those who are in it.
Pessimists think they are being realistic, but in fact,
it all depends on our attributions, that is, the way a person interprets the
events that take place around him. In our daily life, we distinguish between
two kinds of causes.
.Internal cause, in which we feel responsible for the
incident and we blame our personality or personal skills or lack therefore.
. And external cause, in which we blame it to the
environment or to any particular circumstances, beyond our reach...
For instance: Is our Child’s academic underachievement
due to his lack of intellectual skills or motivation? (internal cause). Or
is he a victim of an inadequate education system, or of unprofessional
teachers? (external cause).
The optimistic person expects the best, but also takes
over the responsibility to make things happen. And starts by being realistic
if he’s the one causing the negative outcome.
In this case, he would expect the education system and
the professors to work successfully, but if it’s not like this, he considers
it to be a specific and isolated problem. He would also be realistic in the
event of an underachievement or lack of motivation, and would also regard it
as a specific and isolated problem.
This way of viewing problems and incidents helps create a
relaxed and content environment at home.
Encouraging them to care about others. Their
reaction to others is developed in little kids during their first 6 years of
life. In this developmental stage, according to Piaget, is when the kids are
capable of seeing things from somebody else’s perspective.
reach this age, they have what Martin Hoffman calls “global empathy”, that
is, newborn babies can cry when they hear somebody crying, but they aren’t
capable of distinguishing between them and their world. Between its first
and second month, a baby can already distinguish between her, the others,
and her environment, but she can’t put herself in somebody else’s place. It
requires a cognitive and neurological maturity that the child won’t acquire
until his 6 years of age. For a more comprehensive explanation, see
child evolutionary stages.
this age, the kid has already witnessed our kindness and consideration
towards others, now is the ideal moment to start promoting it, since her
intelligence is ready to comprehend it easily, learn good manners, be
responsible and respect others. We can teach them that our own wants and
needs are limited by the wants and needs of others.
How are they going to solve their problems?
This point is
closely linked to the previous one, since we can teach more adequately and
successfully our kid to solve her own problems, if we take into
consideration her developmental stage. In too many occasions, we run to the
rescue, to help her solve her problems, although it’s not necessary. They
don’t get the chance to think by themselves and act by themselves, even if
they make mistakes. Encourage them to solve problems, this experience will
help them down the road, when they will be able to see all the different
aspects of one issue and solve highly complex problems, all by themselves.
depends more on previous experience than on intelligence, and that also
applies to adults. Every successful resolution means important know-how to
solve future problems.
ancient way of teaching is walking one’s talk, and that’s also valid today.
If they see that, when we face an everyday problem, we stop to analyze it in
a logical way, assessing and pondering the different alternatives, it will
without doubt help her a lot.
When they grow
up, we’ll be able to teach them the importance of stopping to think things
over carefully, identify and define a problem, gather the needed information
and consider the various alternatives in order to find a well though-up
How to make friends
their social skills, kids need to learn and recognize social situations, her
own needs, as well as others’, and respond correctly.
important because peer’s refusal in childhood contributes to academic
failure or learning deficiencies.
skills can be taught, starting by practicing at home, making sure you’re a
role model for your child, showing interest in him, encouraging him to
express his thoughts and feelings and communicating yours to him, too. This
way, your kid will have the opportunity to develop his skills to communicate
with his equals.
Many kids, even
if they are very talkative, have difficulties expressing their needs or
desires to others, and also to understand the desires and needs of others.
particularly important when kids change schools or are relocated, and want
to make new friends. We can teach him observation and gradual approach
techniques, to each of his classmates and peers. For instance, he would talk
about play yard or recess, then he would show his interest about his
friend’s likes and finally, he would do an effort to communicate his own
likes and dislikes.
they’ll learn to transmit his wishes clearly, inquire about others, show
empathy, express affection and approval and offer help when appropriate.
How do we take care of their emotions?
subjective affective states. They make us, for instance, feel happy or
enraged. But they’re also biological responses, since our body gets into an
“activating mode”, something that wouldn’t otherwise happen, had there not
been any emotion. Breathing rhythm accelerates, muscles become tense, and
our heart beats faster. Rage sets us up for a fight, fear sets us up to run
away. They’re also social phenomena, since they produce characteristic
facial and body expressions.
the function of leading a kid to his development, they enable him to become
a happy grownup, but if this development is not on the right track, it can
make him suffer personal and social problems.
about feelings with our children is the best way to teach them to understand
and communicate their emotions, and the emotions of others. This, in turn,
will facilitate their social interaction. It’s important for them to know
how to express themselves with words, whenever they feel happy or sad,
anguished, preoccupied, enthusiastic, angry, etc. Realizing what is
happening to them is vital for him to achieve emotional control and to know
how to listen and understand others.
respect, boys have been more unfairly treated than girls. Many men have been
instilled to disguise and hide their feelings…remember the old expression,
“men don’t cry”. Due to this repressive social education, it’s very hard for
many men to talk about feelings with their spouses, partners or friends. But
if we talk about anger and rage management it’s the other way round:
expression of rage and anger has been allowed to boys, but not to girls, and
that’s also had a negative impact on men, therefore, let’s help them control
Let’s try to
improve and enhance our boys’ as well as our girls’ EQ (Emotional Quotient),
so that they can grow into more happier and successful people.