As a parent, you will not be able to encourage emotional intelligence in your children without first understanding it in detail, and your role as a guide. That is why I want us to go deeper into what makes up emotional intelligence. Besides, we should also know what kind of behavior is appropriate for this task.
What are the components of emotional intelligence?
Talking about emotional intelligence without looking into the work of Daniel Goleman would be a mistake, thus it is necessary to understand his work. According to Goleman, emotional intelligence can be understood as a type that goes beyond the rational or logical.
It is composed of five principles that work together to help us resolve conflicts. These components or principles are:
Emotional self-awareness refers to the ability to understand one’s own emotions and moods. It consists of an intellectual process in which we can relate what we feel to what we express and what others experience.
It is through it that we can analyze how our actions affect others and understand that the emotions you feel can change the world around you.
Emotional self-regulation is the ability to control impulses and emotions with assertiveness. Self-regulation is what prevents us getting carried away by our primary instincts, controlling them instead. A person lacking emotional self-regulation will tend to cause conflicts and altercations in their environment because they do not know how to control themselves.
Lack of control over emotions is dangerous because it will create a bad self-image. On the other hand, those who do have this kind of self-regulation are able to adapt to their environment and do not let emotions overflow. Thinking before speaking is a good way to summarize emotional self-regulation.
The third component of emotional intelligence is motivation, which is a psychological process composed of our ability to direct our emotional states towards a specific goal. This has to be in a positive and energetic way, as it will help to face setbacks with vigor.
Motivation helps us stay on track in our lives, to be persistent, and avoid distractions. When there is no motivation, you will notice that fatigue and boredom will set in. So will sadness and negativity.
Empathy is a very valuable quality in the world we live in. I think this because of how blind we can sometimes be to the feelings of others, and how distant we feel from our neighbor, when it should be the opposite.
Empathy contributes to emotional intelligence as the ability to put ourselves in the place of others, allowing us to interpret others’ feelings and live their emotions.
Using it, we can be more open-minded and we can also be of more help in complicated moments when we do not know how to act.
The last of the elements are social skills, which are a series of abilities that allow us to relate better to the surrounding individuals. They are recognized as being key to professional and personal development.
Without social skills, we would not be able to communicate effectively, nor know the needs of our environment. That is what we are made for, to live in community and togetherness, just as God teaches us through His word. The problem is that those who lack highly developed social skills feel nervous when interacting with others, for example.
Here, we come back to the issue of the importance for children. They are constantly being pushed to socialize in their schools from a very young age. And a child who finds it difficult to work in a team will have a more difficult time adapting in the educational system.
The first school to teach emotional intelligence is at home
Do you want your children to have high emotional intelligence? My main advice is that everything starts at home. It is not the first time I have said it, but this is the reality that I need to emphasize again and again. Children are the reflection of their parents. Therefore, it is necessary for them to see how emotional intelligence works at home.
God has placed the greatest task of creation in the hands of mothers and fathers, that of conceiving life, and guiding it along the right path. To give immeasurable love, as He Himself gives us in his infinite mercy as our creator.
So have you evaluated whether you are a good example of emotional intelligence for your children? If the answer is negative after analyzing yourself, you must understand that parents who are not emotionally intelligent will not be able to teach their children to practice it. You can’t give what you don’t have, it’s as simple as that.
You must also internalize that the emotional dynamic that parents experience is the same that their children experience. Children will handle their emotions the same way their parents do. You are the mirror in which your child will reflect, so it is a team effort. It is work that not only depends on the little ones, but also on the adults in the house.
What kind of parent are you?
The relationship between parents and children is a beautiful bond. It must be strengthened and enriched day by day. However, we agree that it will not be easy to keep it stable all the time due to its complexity. It is true especially during the development stage, a fundamental stage to solidify this sacred bond. The path of emotional growth is full of responsibility and requires constant self-education.
One of the ways to do this is to identify the type of parent you are. For this task, the American psychologist and clinician John Gottman has classified parents according to several types:
- Careless parents. They are the type of parents who belittle and ridicule their children’s negative emotions.
- Punishing parents. They are the ones who impose punishments and reprimand their children. They abound in negative feelings.
- Parents who do not set limits. These parents are in a middle. Although they accept the child’s negative emotions, they are not able to set limits on their behaviors.
- “Emotional Coach” Parents. This is the ideal. These parents identify their children’s feelings and encourage them to talk about it and try to find a solution together.
You yourself have the power to be your child’s emotional coach. But for that, you must have skills such as:
- knowing how to identify the child’s emotions,
- taking advantage of opportunities to teach them,
- listening to them with empathy and
- validating their feelings.
It is also necessary teaching them to define them. As well as establishing limits to negative feelings and giving them accessible solutions.