Essay Preview: Emotional Intelligence
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Helping Your Children to be Emotionally Intelligent
by: Sara Shaw [email protected]
Seek to Understand Your Childrens Feelings
Children who dont understand their emotions and, thus, cannot verbally express themselves properly tend to be moody, irritable and disobedient. Its up to parents and teachers to look for opportunities to help children understand and express their troubling feelings. When childrens negative emotions run high, instead of becoming frustrated and irritated ourselves, we need to view these moments as an opportunity to teach children how to cope with lifes ups and downs.
Usually, when children get emotionally exercised, this is the time they need us the most. Try not to criticize (“stop being a baby or Ill send you to your room”), dismiss (“thats silly; you should not be afraid, sad, angry, etc.”) or ignore (“just forget it and go find something to do”) your childs feelings. This may result in the child feeling self-doubt, shame and more frustration than before. Its important to note that spanking a child often results in similar emotional responses. Rather, try to embrace his emotions and help foster emotional expression.
Respecting childrens negative emotions requires listening, validating and helping give words to their feelings. This, in itself, will help a child to calm down. The child not only learns to trust his feelings and build his self-confidence, he also learns to trust you. This trusting bond can be used as leverage to influence the childs behavior.
Reprimand the Misbehavior, not the Negative Emotion
Children who dont understand their negative emotions, and who arent validated by their parents or caregivers when they feel them, tend to express themselves by screaming, hitting, pushing, grabbing, etc. Its important that the child isnt reprimanded for the emotion (i.e., feeling angry) but for the misbehavior (i.e., expressing the anger by hitting).
We must teach our children appropriate outlets of emotional expression, as well as the consequences