Emotional Intelligence is Important
Updated: May 5, 2019
”I hate you” “I’m never talking to you again!” “You’re mean!” When emotions run high, things are said that people normally wouldn’t say.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to express and manage your emotions (self-regulation), interpret others emotions and respond accordingly. Even three year olds show self-regulation strategies to avoid disturbing things, for example, covering their eyes when they’re scared or their ears when they hear a loud noise. It’s not until age 10 that children consistently use more complex strategies for emotional self-regulation.
These strategies can be broken down into two basic categories:
those that attempt to solve the problem.
those that attempt to tolerate the emotion.
EQ Predicts Success In Life
One study tested school-aged children on self-control and followed up with the children in their 30’s. They found children with self-control predicted success better than IQ, socioeconomic status, and family environment. They were also healthier, made more money, and were less likely to have criminal records or trouble with alcohol.
Because emotional intelligence is such a strong predictor of success, researchers have looked at how caregivers can encourage its development.
It's About How Parents Respond To A Child’s Emotions
In an effort to understand how emotional intelligence develops, Dr. John Gottman found that parents respond to children’s emotions one of four possible ways:
1. Dismissing parents see children’s emotions as unimportant and attempt to eliminate them quickly, often through the use of distraction.
2. Disapproving parents see negative emotions as something to be squashed, usually through punishment.
3. Laissez-faire parents accept all emotions from child, but don’t help the child solve problems or put limits on inappropriate behaviours.
4. Emotion coaching parents value negative emotions, are not impatient with a child’s expression of them, and use emotional experiences as an opportunity for bonding by offering guidance through labelling emotions and problem-solving the issue at hand.
Dr. Gottman’s research shows children of parents who emotion coach are physically and mentally healthier, do better in school, and get along better with friends.
Why Emotions Serve A Purpose
The first step of emotional intelligence is awareness and understanding of emotions. We have to understand and accept before we can control and express our emotions. Emotions are not an inconvenience, but rather serve a distinct purpose and motivate behaviour.
Sadness is an emotion that is capable of slowing us down, both mentally and physically. This can allow us the opportunity to reflect on the source of our emotional upset and take a closer look at the cause of it. In contrast anger speeds things up, mobilizing intense energy and sending blood to our hands and feet. It can gear us up for a fight or to get away from something quickly. Anger cues us that our rights have been violated and helps us mobilize to protect against future threats.
Our emotions are to be respected and reflected upon. This includes our children’s intense emotions at seemingly non-intense situations. My granddaughter experiences intense anger when she is not able to do something she had previously accomplished, such as buckling her car seat independently.
In their recent policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised parents not use technology as a way to calm or pacify negative emotions in their child. Specifically, they expressed “concern that using media as strategy to calm could lead to problems with limit setting or the inability of children to develop their own emotion regulation.”
Basically, children need the experience of feeling these emotions and practice tolerating them to develop self-control and emotional intelligence.
APA is unique in that we incorporate emotional intelligence into our tutoring giving our students strategies to navigate their emotions in and out of the classroom.
Want to know more about how emotional intelligence is important to learning? We are excited to be offering a free Workshop, "Building Emotionally Intelligent and Resilient Families" on March 23, 2019 at the Hillcrest Church gymnasium in Medicine Hat, Alberta, from 9:00am - 11:30am where you can learn how to apply Emotional Intelligence methods with your own family. Come join us! Parents must register. For more information or to register, Contact Us or register at eventbrite (parent equip blitz)
Also join us for a session on “Developing skills to restore calm and help your kids thrive”, April 10 from 6:30pm - 8:00pm at Hillcrest Church Medicine Hat, AB. For more information or to register, Contact Us.