It is always said that parenting does not come with a manual. Parents around the globe have more questions than answers and one of the dominating questions in parenting streets is How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Kids? Every adult desires to raise kids with a good EQ. So before we navigate different sources to answer this critical question, let us start by asking a basic question: What is Emotional Intelligence?
What is emotional intelligence
Emotional Intelligence or EQ as it is known is the ability to own, regulate ,perceive and understand your emotions as well as other people’s emotions.
Why is it a big deal?
People with high EQ can manage stress easily.If you understand the catastrophic fruits produced by stress in our generation you will agree that even if this was the only benefit it is worth investing in our kid’s emotional intelligence.
EQ is the pillar of interpersonal relations. Question, who want to be around people who are not emotionally in touch with themselves? or people who cannot regulate their own emotion?. So developing your kid’s EQ will be one of the greatest treasures that you can add to their now and future relationships.
It is the tool/power you need to be able to adapt and thrive under different circumstances. The truth is we cannot promise our kids a smooth path to their destinies in life. The reality is that life will serve them some bunch of lemons in different sizes during different seasons of their lives. Emotional Intelligence is what makes one person kill himself over an incident while the next person uses the same occurrence to thrive to the highest heights.
It is crucial for general health, physical and mental. We spoke about Emotional Intelligence being beneficial for stress management. It is estimated that 90% of physical illness is caused by stress. This means that when we develop emotional intelligence we are indirectly combating stress which will have a direct impact on our physical health.
For achievement of personal goals. I have not heard of anyone who rose to the heights of their career or build an impactful business only with an IQ. EQ is what makes creators, investors, and geniuses stand out. If by chance one rises to such heights without a developed EQ, they turn to easily lose what they have worked hard for.
It is good for energy and enthusiasm. Most if not all adults who will be privileged to read this have the first-hand experience of how negative emotions can drain the life out of our bones. Most of us have experienced mornings when we didn’t want to get out of bed because of a cloud of sorrow or disappointment hovering over us. Developing our kids Emotional Intelligence will equip them with how to shake off such heavy clouds and go after their goals and dreams.
Pillars of emotional intelligence
Emotional Self Awareness
Emotional self-awareness is the ability to recognize, assess and understand your own emotions. You need to be aware of what triggers them, their depth, how they make you feel, how they impact you and the people around you. You need to be sincere to recognize their positives and their negatives.
You need to be aware of the perceptions that others form about you because of your emotions. Kids from a very young age should be taught how to label and express their emotions.
How to teach kids self awareness
Daily self-reflection – This can be done through keeping a journal or even sitting as a family to reflect on self and others daily. Different family members can give feedback on other’s feelings for that day. Complement where necessary and highlight areas to improve. I am certain that if this is done on regular basis for a long period it will produce amazing results
Teach them to express their feelings – There is nothing as frustrating as dealing with the person who cannot express their feelings because you end up misreading them and maybe taking an action that will worsen their current situations. So teaching our kids to know the difference between being sad, anxious, scared, frustrated, and more is very imperative to the action that needs to be taken to help them conquer their state.
Model it – This cannot be over-emphasized. Live it, give them a real-life experience of what emotional self-awareness looks like. Let them hear you reflect on your reactions and responses. Let them hear you positively being your own critique, of course, telling them what you did right and what you did wrong and how you intend to get better.
Encourage them to know and celebrate their strengths and weaknesses– This will save them a lot of heart and headache. When they are confident in their strengths and aware of their weakness, they will know what to say Yes or No to. This will give them perspective when approaching different situations or when faced with a problem.
You can read more about self awareness on the article Authentic Manhood.
Self-regulation is just as the word says the ability to control or regulate yourself, to understand what is the acceptable reaction/ response, aligning the reaction or the response with the current situation, of course, this will also depend on the age of the child. It is about subjecting your impulses to what you know is right and to your values. It requires that you think before you act even when you are experiencing the most disruptive emotions.
Permit me to say that the foundation to self-regulation is knowing how to label and express your emotions. When you know what you are dealing with and can seek help by expressing it to others, will be of great help.
How to Teach Kids Self Regulation
Parents should understand that kids are not born with the ability to regulate their emotions, it is a skill that must be taught with love and patience. While teaching be ready to calmly handle the big tantrums and the short tempers, how you handle such is on its own a lesson on how to self-regulate.
It is also important to remember beyond the lessons we will teach, self-regulation is mainly dependent on the development of the brain, hence a ten-year-old will respond better to the same issue than a five-year-old. .Practical ways I have used to help my kids conquer strong emotions:
- Big tight hug ( not saying much)
- Deeeeeep breaths ( We do them together)
- We count backward from 100, introducing a little bit of playfulness as they get better or as they fumble ( by the time we get to one they we are now playing almost forgot what has taken place.
- Encourage them to do mantras even if it is silently i.e. I am in complete control of my emotions, I have the power to choose my response in this situation.
- Avoid getting them cranky. Allow enough sleep time, Feed them nutritious foods, provide them with a system and a structure, let them know what to expect and when ( I should acknowledge that I have failed dismally on the latter and that account for most meltdowns in my house, working on getting better daily).
Empathy is the ability to feel another person’s feelings, commonly phrased as ‘ putting yourself in someone’s shoes, intentionally allowing yourself to feel what they feel. I am certain we cannot teach emotional intelligence without teaching empathy.
How to teach kids empathy.
This a very important question and like many other things, empathy cannot be taught without modeling it. Put the other way around the best and most effective way to teach empathy is by being exemplary.
Start by putting yourself in your baby’s shoes when they experience those big disruptive feelings. Remember that due to your developed mind, you might perceive their reaction as an overreaction but for them is a real big deal. So before you dismiss their emotions remember that to them those emotions are real and valid and also remember that you are on a mission to teach empathy so do exactly that empathize. Calm them down and take time to help them reflect on how they are feeling.
Secondly, be on a mission to switch his empathy mode on. This can be done by discussing other people’s feelings together, making them aware of how other people feel, it can be from a movie you are watching together, could be their sibling or it can even be you. Discuss what could have caused the feelings, use different words to explore what the next person might be feeling, and together think of possible strategies to can overcome such feelings.
In a situation where the person studied is a younger sibling, you can give the older sibling a chance to try and help the younger to process and conquer their meltdown.
So much of what is happening in our adult life, both the positive and the negative can be directly traced to our ability to understand and control how we feel. If we teach everything else but fail to teach them to master their own emotions, then their lack of emotional control will destroy all that we taught and invested in them.
I have seen the most beautiful, handsome, intelligent, and talented young adults crumble under pressure, some resorting to drugs all because they could not handle or cope with their own emotions.
My appeal to all parents is to let us not overlook this important aspect of our children’s development. Again let us intentional about them.
Check this article on How to teach kids Mindfulness. Mindfulness is another great tool that can be used for emotional regulation. You will love it .
20 thoughts on “How to raise emotionally intelligent kids : Emotionally Stable adults is our goal”
You have raised a very important topic. often time we worry a lot about our children’s IQ and we forget about the EQ but to me that is more important. I for one grew u with a very high IQ. I got all the presents for being top in almost all the lessons for grade one until last. But my EQ level was very low. i could not manage stress well and had no friends. Even now it is hard for me to blend in a new environment. As a result, I have purposed in my heart to raise kids with a very strong EQ. Thank you for raising this topic. it is what we all need to learn
Thank you for stopping by The Incredible Boy
I am glad that from personal experience you fully understand the importance of raising kids with a well developed EQ.
Keep being Intentional about raising those kids to be emotionally stable adults.
Raising emotional intelligent kids is a very important topic and aspect of life, that you have addressed here. Boys get told from a young age, that boys don’t cry. Many therefore end up not talking about their feelings and emotions. So we need to encourage our kids from a young age to share their feelings, whether they are good or bad ones.
As a mother I certainly strive to raise my two boys to be balanced and emotionally mature, and I do hope I succeed.
Thank you for stopping by The Incredible Boy Line
Keep being Intentional about raising emotionally well balanced boys. Our world need them.
I really liked your section about how to teach our kids empathy. I most of the time look at adults around me and one of the most important things they lack is empathy. This generates so many problems. And it has occurred to me that if we focus on our kids, chances of succeeding to insert this very important aspect would be higher.
Thank you Ann for stopping by The Incredible Boy
We really cannot teach kids Emotional Intelligence without teaching Empathy .
Hi, I’m glad I stopped by this article. My daughter is three years old, and I have to do a lot about her education. This article about emotional intelligence is a great helper for me. I learned a lot, and I will turn back to keep notes about the steps to follow and apply with my daughter every day. I agree when you say that we must learn to our kids that life is a bunch of lemons. Knowing our kids better and being in their shoe will help us as parents, to do the best on this topic and every other educational step.
Thank you for sharing your experience about learning empathy for our kids and how to raise kids to control their emotions and being healthy physically and mentally.
I have to learn a lot from you
Thank you Alketa for stopping by The Incredible Boy.
Im glad you found the article helpful.
Everything you have mentioned is very important for raising children who will become emotionally intelligent adults. I have one still left at home. And I already do pretty much everything you have suggested. My son does have a hard time telling me some things, but I am a single mom and he will confide in male friends of mine, so it works out.
Thank you for stopping by The incredible Boy. Keep doing what you are doing to get him to tell you everything.
Encourage your child to take responsibility for his actions by making him aware of both the consequences of his actions and other people’s feelings about those consequences – to help him develop emotional intelligence.
Have a safe private discussion with your child about tough or touchy topics at least once a week in order to have an open dialogue about potentially difficult subjects – such as divorce, death, illness, and nightmares, if applicable. It is also important that parents let children know they are there when needed and understand what he or she is going through emotionally.
Thank you for stopping by The Incredible boy
I agree fully with you fully on creating the habit of discussing a tough and touch subject. It can help a great deal .
Now this website caught my eye, because of the title. As a parent myself, you are right, there is zer omanual and every child is different.
Reading through it, it could almost be my late mum talking here, because the same values you talk about, hugging and being aware of your strengths and who you are, si what she taught me and my brother to have. Apparently we were the best behaved kids in school, which my late mum put down to being able to express ourselves at home!
I couldn’t agree more with the post and I did thoroughly enjoy reading it.
Myself my wife try to pass on own upbringings and values to our kids, which sometime works and sometimes doesn’t
Teaching kids about emotional intelligence is vital. It helps them become more empathetic and helpful to others.
There’s so much emphasis on children developing their IQ; I wish we can also have that energy towards their EI. For instance, kids should be allowed to work as a team in class, study how they relate, and use that to emphasize why it’s good to care for others’ emotions and well-being as well as theirs.
Thank you for the excellent post.
Such an interesting subject and one so important to!! To understand and be able to control our emotions is crucial for a happy personal development. I totally agree with you that as parents we should teach and guide our kids to be emotionally stable. That will help them a tone once they are adults. It will help them know how to cope with stressful situations. Thank you for sharing all these valuable informations, tips and advice!
This post was incredibly timely. I do not have my own kids yet, but I teach children how to swim every day. I have been doing it for fifteen years, and it is not just a job, it is a passion of mine.
I am always quick to tell parents, swim lessons are not an activity, like a dance class or soccer practice. Swim lessons should be treated as a necessity until the child has developed the skills to save himself if he were to fall into the water with no one around. (at the very least!)
So today, I was working with a kid I have been teaching this summer. He is a very nervous child and today was the toughest of all lessons yet. He cried the whole time. He did what he was supposed to and I tried to implement some deep breathing techniques, but I would have benefited from reading this article for some more suggestions beforehand.
Next time I see him I will be using some of your suggestions.
I loved this article and I think it is not only important for parents to implement, but also teachers, swim instructors, babysitters, and anyone working with young kids. I mean, who knows, one of them may be one of our bosses one day!
Give it twenty years. 🙂
Thank you for stopping by The Incredible Boy.
I a glad you found value that you can practically implement.
As a mum with 4 children, I can certainly understand the importance of EQ. Taking each other’s feelings into account is something that comes up a lot in this house. We know the importance of teaching children to share their feelings in order to make them better-adjusted adults. it would be easier if there was some kind of manual but there isn’t so all we can do is the best that we can.
I got some great tips from your post that I will refer back to. Thank you. Lisa.
I never knew it was that hard to raise emotionally strong kids. I know education is the most important thing in addition to parental support and love. Being hard and emotionally abusive to your kid is awful. Having a strong bond will increase your bond with the kid. I would also like to share my favorite bible verse “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” — Deuteronomy 31:6.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share this article with us. I like that developed EQ is at the root of what any successful person can achieve in this life. I’d like to teach this to my child so that he can grow up to be an emotionally stable adult.
I will make sure to put into action your practical ways that you have used to help your kids conquer strong emotions, and I’m hoping that this will benefit my son as well.