I have lost count of the number of parents who have called me concerned about their children’s erratic behavior. From little ones who are aggressive with their schoolmates, to withdrawn little ones who have a hard time relating to others. As their representative you will feel it is your responsibility to help them overcome these actions, so you will be looking for reasons to blame or punishments to give to correct them.
Even so, have you ever wondered if your child is capable of handling their own emotions? The complexity of human relationships begins very early in life; therefore, the lack of emotional intelligence will result in the inability to control or manage the projection of emotions to others.
Emotional intelligence is simply as important as other types of intelligence, because it will help you to know yourself and others as you grow up. By encouraging it in children, they will see how their learning will improve, they will be able to resolve conflicts more easily and it will encourage a better personal and social well-being.
If you feel that you invest a lot of effort making your child comply with their homework, get good grades or behave the way you want them to, keep in mind that their proper development will not only be focused on academic intelligence. It’s time for me to help you find out what emotional intelligence is. Let’s start.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is a set of skills for the correct management of emotions. For example, motivation, empathy, enthusiasm or self-control. These skills can be acquired from birth or learned throughout life. That is why both adults and children are able to develop them.
It was in 1990 when this concept was first used by the American psychologists Peter Salovey & John Mayer . It is later transferred to a book of the same name by author Daniel Goleman.
Unlike what you may believe, emotional intelligence does not consist in altering the ability to generate emotions according to perceived stimuli. On the contrary, it is about the reactions you have to them. You may be surprised by this, but the reactions that emotions provoke are many times greater than the emotion itself.
That is why an emotionally intelligent person will have the following notions in the way he/she acts:
- They have a deep knowledge of their emotions: Those who develop it are able to analyze their emotions and interpret them. They just don’t only feel them.
- They do not repress their feelings: Sincerity and authenticity regarding their feelings will show. They can also express their feelings clearly.
- They show a balance in their emotions: It’s all about balance, and how they are able to identify between the bad and the good. They are always looking for helpful solutions.
With all the above that I have told you, it is logical to want our children to have this kind of intelligence. However, first it is fundamental that as parents we are able to educate ourselves and follow the path that has been established by our God.
What are emotions?
In a technical way, emotions are psychophysiological reactions that we have to adapt to the environment we are in. In other words, our brain has the great capacity to modify our cognitions to have behaviors that make us survive depending on the situation. Basically, emotions are adaptive functions of our organism.
At the same time this function has physiological components (an involuntary reaction such as accelerated breathing), cognitive components (a subjective experience) and behavioral components (the change of behavior such as movements or gestures of the face).
According to Paul Ekman, There are six basic or primary emotions, these are:
- Fear: Associated with nervousness, restlessness and anxiety.
- Anger: Associated with hostility, indignation and rage.
- Joy: Associated with pleasure, amusement and ecstasy.
- Surprise: Associated with discovery, expectation and dynamism.
- Disgust: Associated with disgust or rejection.
- Sadness: Associated with isolation or decreased energy.
Why is emotional intelligence important?
If your child is not good at math, for example, but instead of asking for your help, he or she screams and gets frustrated easily, you will notice the importance of emotional intelligence. Because children who have it are able to solve problems by managing their emotions wisely.
But getting your children to have it is not really something you can measure. There are no tests such as the intelligence quotient (IQ) to know if they have it, but their vitality in child development is very remarkable. A child who is emotionally intelligent will be able to respond favorably to the environment around him. Likewise, he/she will be able to establish better relationships with other children and adults.
I even consider that encouraging emotional intelligence is ideal especially for those children who have difficulty concentrating or learning. Because with it they will be able to improve their learning skills, and develop in this way.
As a parent you need to put yourself in your child’s position at every difficult moment. So just imagine that you have learning and attention difficulties, so you can’t easily solve tasks that are easy for your other classmates. Children with these kinds of complications often feel embarrassed and intimidated by learning. But by stimulating their emotional intelligence, you can prepare them for new challenges.
You should also consider that the fact that a child presents problems with Emotional Intelligence could be a sign that he will have learning or attention difficulties in the future. This is the reason is that children with ADHD tend to develop their social skills later and have difficulty interpreting situations accurately.
If your child fits this description or you feel identified with what I have told you, do not feel that there is no solution. It is quite the opposite actually because Emotional Intelligence can be modified for each child.