Do you ever feel as if you and your family are on a daily emotional roller coaster ride?
If you do that’s probably because to a greater or lesser degree we all are. Every day, minute-by-minute our emotions change, we can sometimes experience as many as 400-500 emotions in any given day.
Affecting every area of our lives our emotions have a big impact on our mental and physical health, our ability to learn, to concentrate and to make wise choices. It’s a good idea then to learn to use our emotions intelligently from an early age.
Good examples of this are when your child’s feeling anxious or worried about exams and it can be very hard for them to knuckle down to endless practice papers; or when they are feeling isolated or lonely because of a friendship issue at school and they find it difficult to concentrate on focussed revision and homework.
Our emotions have a way of hijacking our heads as they take over our thoughts and become our primary concern.
So how do we help our children to overcome tricky times?
If you were to ask any parent what they most want for their child the answer would most certainly and understandably be that they want their child to be happy.
We all want happy, content, easygoing children, children who find life a breeze and face every day with a positive spring in their step.
However, life throws us all many different challenges and uncomfortable distressing and hard emotions are a part of our contract with living a valuable life.
Making habits out of feeling frustrated, anxious or sad can be disempowering and prevent us from doing what we’re capable of.
How well we navigate the tough times determines how happy and successful we are in the short term and long term too.
As loving parents, our instinct is to jump to the rescue when difficulties arise for our children.
We want to prevent them from experiencing hardship and suffering as it’s tough to watch them struggle on their own and much easier to step in, remove the obstacles – if we can – and make it all better.
BUT, it has to be said that times of perceived failure and discomfort are often the greatest learning opportunities for our children if we let them be.
This is where Emotional Intelligence comes in. Helping your child develop their Emotional Intelligence from an early age is important for their long term happiness and wellbeing; it is also a key life skill and an important part of the workplace now and in the future.
Our Emotional Intelligence is made up of many different components, the main ones recognised by a majority of those that ‘know’ conclude that to be emotionally intelligent you need to be:
- Self-aware – do you know your feelings? Do you know when you need help and what your triggers are?
- Self-regulated – can you keep your feelings in check before they become disruptive?
- Self-motivated – can you self-motivate for interest and curiosity? Do you bounce back when setbacks occur?
- Empathetic – are you able to read the emotions of others and act appropriately?
- Social skills- can you negotiate and empathise with others to get the best out of almost any situation?
Emotional Intelligence measures a person’s social competences, their ability to interact and work well within a team, their ability to persevere even when times get rough.
Guiding and teaching children to grow their emotional intelligence skills from when they are young will provide them with the essential qualities that they need to have well-balanced lives.
These skills will help them to manage difficult situations, establish strong lasting relationships and develop empathy and understanding towards themselves and others throughout their lives.
So, the next time your daughter or son is struggling with an uncomfortable emotion start developing their Emotional Intelligence by asking them the following questions:
- How are you feeling?
- Can you name the feeling?
- Do you know what’s made you feel this way – what was the trigger?
- What can you do to help yourself to regulate the feeling and to move forward to a more comfortable place?
Over time, and with your support and patience, your children will develop their emotional intelligence and learn to understand themselves and others better in order to make the best out of almost any situation!
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