How to raise an emotionally intelligent child ?
In 2014, I took a sabbatical to spend full time with my children. Almost after 14 years of corporate experience in Human Resources Management, I realized Parent also need to know many skills to become successful and confident to raise child to their fullest potential. I recollect there is series of training programs organized for a new person to onboard in the new role (irrespective of years of experience).
Then why not for a Parent? It is must, as each parent is playing a crucial role in nurturing the future leader who has infinite potential to make difference in lives of millions of people and become the ambassador to spread the abundance of Humanity on planet Earth.
I realized, Emotional intelligence (EI) is one of the skills each Parent need to acquire and exhibit in day to day activities to drive desired outcome. One of the primary goals of Parent is to make the child understand and enable to do what is best for the moment or in a particular situation.
Let us understand more about Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behaviour and relationships.
Travis Bradberry (from the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0)
Understanding one’s own & other people’s emotions, discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately. This enhances our thinking & behaviour. Once Parent understand the same, it is easy to demonstrate and teach child from the time even when child has not arrived in the world.
I remember, it was really challenging for me to help my elder son (5 years) in 2010 to define what is happening within him. He used to throw many tantrums and I used to give in to all his demands being a buzy working mom.
As defined by Mr. Bradberry, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as an ability, is much like cognitive ability (IQ), and includes the core components:
- Recognizing and identifying emotions in yourself (me as a Mother).
- Recognizing and identifying emotions in others. (child)
- Managing your own emotions. (due to many other priorities)
- Managing the emotions of others. (demands from other roles besides a mother)
I understood, I failed to recognize many of his emotional needs and labelled them as Naughty, Misbehaved child without really understanding what was his emotional need which is equally important like any other adult’s emotional drama as we see around. I started paying more attention to key areas of EI.
Do you know? The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain. - Daniel Goleman
Our day to day emotional reactions are rooted in our own experiences as a child, so exposure to a familiar stimulus will set our brains to quickly run through our memories and pull up the most common responses that we had in past.
The way we feel during any event, will vary from an individual to individual because we all have different experiences in life. Our response will also depend on our mood, our goals, values, the way we understand, process information, our beliefs, expectations, and our other competencies & ability to self-regulate.
We all are aware that, our emotional response is generally unconscious or subconscious and not under our control many times.
Emotional intelligence is all about being aware and quickly recognizing the automatic emotional response for what it is and decide how best to apply to make decision as required.
I remember, how often I used to get angry in early days of my role as a fulltime Parent (being working woman I call it as a Part time role of Mother). No offence to working ladies as I experienced myself being available part time to my son due to hectic work schedules and often travelling. However, I was the lucky mother as I had a very good support system at home being in a joint family.
I admire the way Aristotle says, Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.
I want each reader to think about how you feel when you get angry.
Do you make your wisest and most prudent decisions? Or do you struggle to think logically and even say things to your child which you regret later on most of the time, once the intense emotional outburst is over?
I have experienced, I did not make my best decisions when I was angry, and did or said some things in anger that I am not proud of as a Mother or as an Individual.
In my role as a Mother, I have found that anger has primarily encouraged me to blame my children (or myself) when things go wrong, or potentially false assumption about the situation, and lead me to pass certain judgments and punishments which were not appropriate for those tender minds of my children.
Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine our success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships.
Above quote from the well-known author and marriage expert Dr. John Gottman who shared this as a truly valuable insight, as it happens to be right!
I have observed that, as a Parent when I am open, honest, and able to be vulnerable in conversation, children do the same; enjoying a more positive environment that promotes learning, greater emotional understanding, and better management and application of emotions.
Parents are role model for young children who can be high in emotional intelligence. This reduces the possibilities of undesirable behaviours like antisocial, drug / alcohol abuse and less likely to become violent with others when they are in teenage or adolescent years.
It is obvious that emotional intelligence is a significant contributor to raise matured and successful children.
To become a successful Parent and also successful in any relationships in life, I invite each parent to identify their skills and capabilities in the areas of Emotional Intelligence.
After more than 5 years of research and mindfulness practice, I am now able to apply key facets of Emotional Intelligence in my day to day interactions in my role as a Mother, Parenting Coach and all other relationships.
I would like to summarize key areas which are explained in detailed with activities during my workshop,
“How to give the Gift of Emotional Intelligence to yourself & Child?”
- Emotional Awareness – Recognize one’s own emotions and their effects
- Self Confidence – Understanding about one’s own self-worth & capabilities to recognize child’s potential
- Self Control – Managing different disruptive impulses
- Trustworthiness – Maintaining standard of honesty & integrity
- Conscientiousness – Taking responsibility of one’s actions
- Adaptability – Handling change with flexibility
- Innovation – Being open to New ideas
- Patience – Giving time to self and child to manage tantrums / unexpected demands
- Achievement Drive – Constantly striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence
- Commitment – Alignment with the goals – Self & Family
- Initiative – Ready to act upon different opportunities
- Optimism – Pursuing goals persistently despite obstacles and setbacks
- Service Orientation – Anticipating, recognizing & meeting child’s needs with genuineness and attention
- Developing others – Sensing what child need to progress & bolstering their abilities
- Leveraging Uniqueness –Cultivate different experiences & opportunities to understand and appreciate unique talent of the child
- Political Awareness – reading child’s emotional currents and relationship with others
- Understanding Child & others – Distinguishing the feelings behind the needs and wants
- Responding - Asking Questions & Supporting to find answers for the problems instead of offering solution directly
- Influence – developing effective persuasion tactics
- Assertive Communication – Sending & receiving clear messages
- Leadership – Inspiring & guiding Self & Family
- Change Catalyst – Initiating or managing change in Self and people around
- Conflict Management – Understanding, Negotiating & resolving disagreements
- Building Bonds – Nurturing Relationships with Self, Family & Profession
- Collaboration & Cooperation – working with others as a team in collective goals
- Respect – Responding to the situation instead of reacting
Rekha Vaghela is a Relationship Counselor and Human Values Parenting Coach. She found her purpose after working for more than 13+ years in Human Resource Management. She worked for top brands like Piramal Healthcare Group and India Medtronic Pvt. Ltd. She is on a Mission to connect with people in different ways like Parents to Children, Life Partners and of course connecting to Inner self.