Why emotional intelligence is important for children

Establishing respect for emotion is the most important childrearing task you have as a parent.
Henriette Lamprecht
If you and your partner treat each other and the kids with emotional awareness and empathy, your children are much more likely to enjoy strong mental health; stable, satisfying relationships, and a rewarding work life.

Here are a few fundamental parenting practices that will help build your child’s emotional intelligence (EQ):

Remember that you can’t convey what you don’t exemplify. Your children learn from you - through your actions, much more than your words. If you can’t communicate your emotions through your behaviour, they won’t respect their own emotions.

Try to learn from your children. Children haven’t unlearnt EQ as you may have. They make friends easily and retain their capacity for joy because they’re naturally empathic and instinctively ready to feel their emotions fully and then let them go. So, listen and learn; you’ll raise your own EQ and establish flexibility and mutual respect into the family.

Be on the lookout for repeating history. It’s a lot easier to instill fear of feelings in children than you think, even if you try hard not to. Write a list of things your parent told you as a child - you might even jot them on a piece of paper and put it in your wallet as a way of symbolically keeping them in your memory. When you’re tired and irritable, pull out that list and notice your own feelings as you read it. This reminder should keep you from shrugging off the warning feelings that arise when you start to utter these refrains yourself.

Also, whenever you get a physical signal that you’re dismissing your child’s feelings, do what you can to observe your tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language - run to a mirror if you can. If what you find hurts you, it’s also hurting your child. Periodically recall how you felt being the object of those words and expressions. Invoking those painful experiences is a strong discouragement to repeating history.

Remember that unhappy parents raise unhappy children. If you’re exhausted and depressed by the demands of parenthood, your children will be depressed, too. You can’t sacrifice yourself and do anyone else any good, so keep yourself healthy if you hope to raise healthy children.

Be quick to apologise when you make mistakes. Let’s be realistic; you will let your guard down from time to time - we all do. Fortunately, you have a simple tool for ensuring that your errors don’t do permanent damage. It’s called an apology, and it comes in pretty handy throughout parenthood.

Emotional intelligence with adolescents

Adolescence creates difficulties for many families, because no one knows exactly how to approach the enormous changes that teenagers are going through. Children naturally pull away from you as they pass into adulthood, but you’ll be eager to see that they get there safe and whole if you disconnect from your emotions.

You’ll need all your empathy to remain understanding when hormonal upheaval turns your adorable kids into unpredictable, irritable rebels. It also takes sharp, active awareness to remain the source of security and wisdom that your teenagers will need more than ever before.

You can maintain a sense of balance even when adolescence seems to turn your world upside down, as long as you’ve cemented your emotional connection with your children throughout their younger years. Mutual respect, loving acceptance of the inevitable changes that families undergo, and a constant sense of humour will go a long way toward preventing harmful splits.

– Source: helpguide.org


High EQ tips for teenagers

• Give young teenagers a job or two that they can do well.

• Don’t get too hooked on being liked.

• Always apologise when you’ve been wrong, even in small ways.

• Above all, be generous with your love.

Did you know?

You can set an example of respect for your body, teach emotional choice, and model the behaviours you value through your actions and deeds.

Health tip

Put yourself in your teenager’s shoes.

Health precaution tip

Understand why your buttons get pushed.