Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child,
who doesn't need to 'suck it up' when he feels sad

Raising an emotionally intelligent child means understanding and caring for his feelings, teaching him how to deal with negative or positive emotions. Emotional Intelligence, believe me or not, is even more important than his IQ.

Raising an emotionally Intelligent child

Understanding an emotional intelligence

I am sure you have met in your life somebody who was very educated, super intelligent yet you could not make a decent 1 minute conversation with that person. Not because you are not smart enough, but because that person wasn’t social.

So you wonder, how could he be so smart, achieve academic success but doesn't know how to communicate and relate to different life situations. This is where IQ is different from EQ (emotional intelligence quotation). 

IQ (Intelligence Quotient)EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient)
IQ determined according to intellectual, analytical, logical, rational, verbal, visual, mathematical abilities. It checks how fat you understand new things; focus on tasks and exercises; retain and recall objective information; engage in a reasoning process; manipulate numbers; think abstractly, as well as analytically; and solve problems by the application of prior knowledge.EQ is an ability to be aware of, understand, and manage both your own as well as other people's emotions in order to adapt to life's demands and pressures. It is like abillity to blend in, be adoptive, to be able to read and predict situations and to connect with other people but still take charge of your own life.

We often wonder how our kids will turn out. What will they be as professionals, as social activists or as parents?

Many parents think that the higher IQ they will have the more they will achieve in life. But actually it’s the emotional intelligence that will play an important role in your child’s happy adult life.

To have an idea on how will your child be as an adult you could look at things like:

  • how is he getting along with other children,
  • how does he make new friends,
  • how is he socially,
  • how is he able to express and control his feelings?

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What is emotional coaching?

According to researcher John Gottman, who wrote a book “Raising an emotionally intelligent child, The heart of Parenting”, emotion-coaching helps raising happy, well-adjusted, adoptive, sensitive and resilient kids.

In fact, it is not enough to be just caring, loving parent. Children have so many emotions every day (even every minute) that they are not familiar with and more importantly they don’t know how to deal with them. They need us to guide them through all the world of unknown feelings.  We need to be their emotion coaches. 

  • Good parenting requires more than intellect.                                         
  • Good Parenting involves emotion.

Emotional coaching means:

  • Being aware of a child’s emotions.

Understand that your child’s feelings are okay whatever they are and no one should be criticized for feeling frustrated or sad. In fact, these emotions are very important and parent should pay close attention to it: watch for cues, like facial gestures, the changes of behavior, body language. By tuning in with your child’s feelings you will be able to predict his feelings and avoid unwanted actions in the future. 

  • Listening with empathy and relating to his story from your personal perspective.

“I understand, you are upset because daddy had to go to work today. I used to be very sad too when my daddy used to leave the house. I loved playing “hide and seek” with him all day. What do you like to do with your daddy? Is there anything you and I can do to make you feel better?

  • Helping a child to build an emotional vocabulary. Describe emotions in words a child understands.

Imagine yourself learning a new language. You are frustrated but you can’t say it. It is a bad feeling, isn’t? The same is with kids. They are feeling so much, but yet they cannot name their emotions. Being able to name the emotion might help a child to calm down and have less anxiety about his current feeling.

The more feeling words your child knows, the better he can explain his emotions.

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emotional vocabulary

Play this game and learn new words and feelings together with your child. Simply print, cut the circle and the arrow out, pin it together and have fun turning and acting out different emotions.

  • Encouraging child to think how to solve problems and deal with upsetting situations.

It is important to let children brainstorm their little but very creative minds. You will be surprised to hear that they have so much more creative solutions than you do.

“I see you are mad because Adem stepped on you sand castle, but you cannot hit him. Instead, what else could you do when you are mad?”

Suggest him to “push the mad out of his tummy”. This heavy breathing will calm him down and will take his mind away. If he is still mad, encourage using strong voice (not yelling) to explain how mad he is.

Kids need to know that it is perfectly OK to feel mad, sad, frustrated, angry, as long as they find the proper way to show it.

  • Being a good example

Kids mimic parents constantly. Unfortunately, they learn from us when we are at our worst.

Do your best to stay calm at all situations. Your reaction to child’s misbehavior is crucial to how they will respond to unwanted situation.

You are selfish Let’s try to take turns. Other kids feel sad when you take that toy away
You are wrong I think this game is played with different rules. Let’s see if we can play it right
You make me crazy It makes me upset when you slam the doors
You are bad I think what you did is wrong. You hurt her feelings. What should you do to make her feel better?

  • Turning bad behavior into learning adventure

Is your child horrified every time you have to take him to the doctor?

Prepare him for that by talking with him about the visit, ask him what is he afraid of, explain why is it important to go see the doctor (read books about doctors, watch fun informational videos about importance of health) Also, don’t forget to relate to your personal experience. You could tell him your fears and how you face them.

Being clear and consistent about what actions are appropriate and what are not. Children who know the rules and the consequences that happen when the rules are broken, are less likely to misbehave.

Parents should set limits on acts, but not on emotions or desires.

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The benefits of raising an emotionally intelligent child

According to Gottman, children with higher emotional intelligence:

  • deal better with their feelings,
  • calm down faster and recover better from stressful situations,
  • are more understanding and sensitive to other people,
  • make strong, long lasting friendships and intimate relationships,
  • become more confident and successful professionals,
  • are physically healthier,
  • do better in school,
  • have fewer behavior issues, less violence incidents,
  • have less negative feelings and more positive feelings.

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The book “Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting” is a great resource for parents, who want to learn more about child’s emotional intelligence.

As we learn a lot from books, kids do too. SO read as much as you can. Books about feelings, emotions are excellent for kids to learn how to care for others, how to express their feelings the right way, how to respond to bad emotions.  

As you read the books together always take your time to stop and explain various situations in your child’s life to relate more personally.

Actually, my daughter always responded best when she could relate to some story that we read in the book.

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