Emotional Intelligence is a very new, very progressive subset of human intelligence that is worthy of taking note of when raising a child. There’re entire schools of psychology that have sprung up around this one concept. Basically, emotional intelligence is a broader and more encompassing superset of anger management. Rather than being just about how people handle their negative emotions such as anger, hatred, or envy, it also encompasses positive emotions as well, such as happiness, gratitude, and appreciation. Teaching your child emotional intelligence from an early age is a critical step in raising them to be functional adults that are valuable to society. Below, we’ve outlined the main maxims of emotional intelligence in child-rearing, so that you can take positive, assertive steps towards raising a child who is emotionally intelligent:
1. Realize that your child has their own perspective and empathize with it
One humongous mistake that parents often make when raising their children is they assume that because they’re older than their children and, consequently, more experienced in life that they’ve got their children all figured out, and that they can reason like a book. Oftentimes, an upset, tantrum-throwing child is greeted with harsh reprimand- being told that their actions are “wrong” and that they should get a better grip on their emotions. While this might be a good piece of advice to give to a coworker, it is absolutely horrible advice to give to a toddler. Even when you can’t directly intervene in whatever is causing your child to throw a tantrum, simply emphasizing with them may provide you with the key you need to make things right.
2. Allow Your Child to Express their Emotions
Children often have considerable difficulty differentiating between their emotions and their selves. Even some adults have trouble telling the two apart. Instead of trying to deny or minimize the emotions that are being expressed by your child, give them room to express themselves and their emotions in a positive fashion. Telling children off for expressing fear or regret won’t stop them from having these feelings. As any human being knows, simply telling somebody to “stop being angry,” will often have the exact opposite effect. In fact, telling your children off for expressing their emotions can cause them to bottle things up, and make things worse in the end. Before your know it, these repressed feelings can express themselves in the most negative of fashions, such as physical violence, nightmares, or nervous tics.
3. Give your Child Room to be Heard
Taking things a step further than simply giving your child room for expression, you should also listen to your child’s feelings. Children need to be heard when they express their feelings, positive or negative, like anyone else. Your child could be six months old, or they could be 17 years old, it still doesn’t change the fact that they often need someone to listen to their doubts, fears, and insecurities without them judging or reprimanding them for their points of view.