Developing emotional intelligence in children is very important, since it is one of the skills that will help them to develop personally, have healthy personal relationships and be successful in life.
When there are emotional maladjustments, the behavior of children and adolescents is altered, affects family, school and social coexistence and also their psychological well-being.
Emotional Intelligence in Children
These imbalances appear when the child does not recognize their emotions adequately, does not express them or does it in an inappropriate way or interprets erroneously the behaviors or emotions of others, for example. For all this, building an adequate emotional intelligence in our children can help them to be emotionally healthier.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive and properly assess emotions. It also involves the ability to generate feelings when they facilitate thinking, the ability to understand emotions and to regulate them properly promoting personal and intellectual growth.
For Daniel Goleman, the greatest promoter of emotional intelligence, this is defined as the ability of a person to manage a series of skills and attitudes.
Among them we can find awareness about oneself, the ability to identify, understand and express emotions. The ability to control impulses and delay gratifications and the ability to handle ourselves adequately in interpersonal relationships.
If we ask people what intelligence is, most people end up giving a definition of general or abstract intelligence, to the ability to reason, to deduce, to the ability to solve problems, etc.
Classically, this ability has been associated with academic success. And the origin of this intelligence goes back to the last century when the first tests to measure the ability of the individual to operate on information consisting of numbers, letters, etc. appear.
Then new conceptions arise and other types of intelligences appear. It is with the emergence of Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences that two intelligences, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence, appear together for the first time , which together have formed what we call emotional intelligence.
What are the benefits of emotional intelligence?
People with emotional intelligence have some characteristics such as:
– They are more likely to feel satisfied and comfortable with themselves
– They are more empathetic people
– They are more cheerful and optimistic people
– Assume their responsibilities to a greater degree
– They are more altruistic and supportive people
– They are more open people who express their feelings and communicate effectively with others
– People with greater self-motivation to undertake and achieve the goals that have been proposed
– They are people who know each other better and who have more self-esteem
– They are people with better interpersonal relationships, which establish more productive relationships and greater capacity to resolve conflicts
– They are people more focused on the present, who enjoy the now and do not stagnate in the past or in the future
– They are people who manage their emotions better and help others manage theirs
Children and adolescents with emotional intelligence have better physical and psychological health, they know how to better manage their emotional problems.
Some studies report that they have fewer physical symptoms, less levels of anxiety and depression, less suicidal ideation, fewer somatizations and less stress, in addition to using positive coping strategies when solving problems.
We are constantly living emotions, our own and those of others. Children are present in all these emotional exchanges and school is one of the places where more emotional experiences are going to live during the first years of their life.
For all this it is very important to model adequately in the detection and expression of emotions, because emotional intelligence is learned!
17 tips to build emotional intelligence in children
1. Help him get to know himself better and name what he feels
Self-knowledge or knowledge of oneself is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. Not because it is the most important, but because without it, the others can hardly be given.
To develop an adequate emotional awareness, where the person is aware of their own internal states, their emotions, their resources, the effects that emotions have on it, it is important to name them.
In order to properly manage your emotions, you must first recognize them properly, and this is the best knowledge of yourself.
If we say that emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize our own emotions and others, respecting them, it is necessary, in the first place, to know our own.
Self-awareness is one of the basic pillars of intrapersonal intelligence, one of the intelligences proposed by Gardner in his theory of multiple intelligences.
To achieve this, name everything you feel. Each time a certain situation appears where your child is feeling an emotion, even if he expresses it inappropriately, he acts.
Instead of trying to eliminate and minimize the negative emotion, part of it to name it and explain to your child what he feels and why. In this way you will be working self-awareness.
2. Work on emotional literacy
One of the most appropriate tips to build emotional intelligence in children, is that you attend to emotional literacy.
Emotional literacy is to ensure that children have a broad and fluent vocabulary about emotions is a basic issue throughout their development stage.
Knowing how to name the emotions we feel is the first step in recognizing and accepting them.
Many times children do not know what emotion they are feeling. Nor can they identify the physical part ?? nor emotional? of each emotion.
For example, if your child is sad because he wanted to put on a sweatshirt that is dirty and can not put it on and has broken into tears, work with that emotion.
For example, you can take the opportunity to tell her that she is sad, that is why she has tears, that you understand that she is sad because she likes that shirt very much and would like to wear it?
3. Validate your emotions
Although it may not seem important what your child feels on certain occasions, for him it is important, so you must take it into account.
Taking the previous example, validate your child’s emotions. In that case, in which your child breaks to mourn because he wants to put on a sweatshirt that is dirty, do not tell him, do not cry about it, it’s silly, you have this shirt that is exactly like the other ??
It is important that you recognize their emotions, that you tell them that you understand their emotion and that you help them find a solution.
Many times, since we do not like children to suffer, we try to directly eliminate negative emotions (when they cry, when they are angry).
We distract them with other things (a toy, with television, etc.). Everything is good for them to stop crying, for example.
At other times, some people tell them that “crying is small”? or phrases like ?? that is nonsense ?.
It is important that you bear in mind that everything your child thinks and feels must take it into account, respect it and make it work. It is important for you to grow up with strong self-esteem and to feel that it is important.
4. Address your self-esteem
Self-esteem is an essential aspect of the child’s personality, which is developing throughout childhood.
If a person accepts himself, he will be able to advance and mature and continue to perform personally.
The child and the adult that will need to have a positive self-esteem and a good concept of himself, which will allow him to overcome the obstacles he will find in life and solve conflicts.
Self-esteem is the appreciation of one’s own worth. And the child’s self-esteem is formed from the experiences he also experiences with his parents.
Showing that it is important and that you learn to accept yourself as you are is a good way to develop positive self-esteem.
If the person feels and perceives that others accept him, love him and consider him important, he will feel competent, confident and with good self-esteem.
5. Help him discover his strengths and weaknesses
Knowing one’s own strengths and weaknesses is also an essential aspect of one’s awareness.
When you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you feel more confident about yourself, your abilities and your abilities. You know how far you can go, what you can expect and what you should improve.
We have to teach our son that we all have positive aspects and weaknesses and that this does not make us better or worse than others.
We do not have to be good at everything and neither our mistakes nor our weaknesses define us as people.
Helping your child to detect their strengths and weaknesses will help them recognize when they need help, how they can cope with difficulties, when they can do their best and contribute to their personal development.
6. Work self-control and adaptability
Self-control is also one of the main characteristics of emotional intelligence.
Self-control and self-motivation are part of the intrapersonal intelligence that Gardner already named.
Self-control is part of self-management, of knowing how to properly manage one’s own emotions.
Having self-control does not mean that you have to repress or deny emotions or that your child does not express them. The proper management of emotions is a learning that requires time and effort.
In the first place, the child must recognize the emotions that he has, and if he is not able to do so, he can hardly manage it properly.
Self-control can be worked on, but not through repressing emotions or denying them. They must be accepted, and even if they come out properly in our child (for example, in the form of tantrums), they should not punish, if not work the underlying emotion from that behavior.
Having self-control means understanding emotion and transforming emotion into our benefit. It requires the person to be flexible, open to new approaches and adapt new perspectives in solving problems.
7. Work motivation
Self-motivation is another component of emotional intelligence, specifically the intrapersonal intelligence proposed by Gardner.
To have self-motivation is to train oneself emotionally to maintain a goal-oriented behavior.
It is about the child having in mind the goal and remember the rewards he will achieve.
It is about working on children persistence, the fact of not being discouraged, of being applied, of getting in spite of mistakes, etc.
Motivation will help your child achieve the goals he or she sets out in life. To do this, help them to value the effort, to set realistic and specific goals and avoid delaying the tasks they must perform.
8. Help him develop empathy
Empathy is one of the components of interpersonal intelligence proposed in Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
Empathy helps the child to understand others, to put himself in his place, to understand his moods and also psychological or motivational states.
In order to recognize the emotional states of others we need to be understanding, sensitive, have perceptive skills and the ability to adopt different roles.
Developing empathy is essential to be emotionally intelligent, since it is the point from which satisfactory social relationships with our peers start.
9. Communicate with him
Communication skills in children also have an important role in their social competence, and therefore in emotional intelligence.
Within communication we refer to basic non-verbal skills (for example, eye contact or gestures), to conversational competence or language skills.
Communicating with your child is also important because it will help you connect and externalize feelings, to detect the emotions that paralyze you, that block you or that matter to you.
To get the child to learn to manage their emotions properly is necessary that parents and educators have information to manage their emotional states and facilitate learning to children.
It is also important that you let him speak, and some tricks you can use to communicate properly with him is to use messages that reflect feelings.
10. Work social skills!
Social skills are a fundamental component of emotional intelligence.
They are the set of behaviors that a subject emits within an interpersonal relationship where he is able to express his emotions, desires and opinions, taking into account others and solving immediate problems and preventing future problems.
The interaction with other people is essential in the development of the person and conditions their socialization process.
Social skills can go from simple to complex behaviors: say hello, express opinions, make friends ??
For this, it offers an appropriate model of social skills, the child will learn by example when he sees in his parents expressions of courtesy, respect, solidarity towards other people.
In addition, assess the positive aspects and reinforce your child and provide opportunities where you can relate to social situations.
11. Help him resolve conflicts
Conflicts often take place on many occasions due to mismanaged emotions. Teach your child that anger is a normal emotional and that there is no problem in getting angry.
What you must learn is to manage that anger. To do this, show him that although everyone gets angry, the way we act later is what determines the consequences.
Teach him to detect the signs that lead to anger and that can lead to conflict, as well as different ways of acting as he always does.
Show him how to manage anger and avoid problems that end up causing conflicts. Help him to avoid impulsive acts, to calm down with different techniques (breathing, relaxation?).
12. Show him the importance of teamwork
Teamwork is fundamental in the society in which we develop and is present in the lives of children constantly.
Learning to manage in a group, to deal with other people, resolve conflicts, communicate, etc., are necessary skills to work as a team.
When we work as a team, emotional intelligence is very present. And being emotionally intelligent can help your child to develop in groups in a more optimal way.
You can work with your child on how teamwork is: the importance of establishing good communication between colleagues, the fact of working with different solutions, the importance of maintaining a commitment, of knowing how to resolve conflicts?
13. Knowing how to listen is also important
Active listening is one of the pillars of emotional intelligence. Listening requires more effort than talking.
Knowing how to listen requires learning, and refers not only to listen to what the person has expressed but also to listen to the feelings and thoughts that underlie.
To be able to listen actively, empathy is also needed.
Active listening is learned and begin to develop in childhood with children, will help them understand the importance it has to relate adequately with others.
Teach them the importance of respecting the turn of the word, of not interrupting other people, of focusing attention when someone is telling us something important, of maintaining eye contact?
14. Assertiveness works
The Assertiveness is also part of emotional intelligence, being one of the cornerstones of it.
If you work assertiveness, the child will be sure of himself, will express himself clearly and will be a person capable of expressing his desires, motivations and needs, taking into account others at the same time.
For this it is important that you respect your child and that you show him that his opinions are important, but that at the same time he must take into consideration others.
An assertive child will be able to express himself adequately, say no when he needs it, defend his rights and express his feelings, all according to his interests and objectives and respecting the rights of others.
15. Help him to trust himself
To build an adequate emotional intelligence is also necessary the confidence in oneself.
We make reference to the security that one shows about the assessment of what he does and his abilities and competences.
A child who trusts in himself or herself is a child who feels capable of achieving the goals that are proposed, that is strong in order to face the obstacles that life proposes and, therefore, can develop optimally.
For a child to trust in himself, it is necessary that you trust him. Therefore, have high expectations about him, but be realistic, otherwise you might feel frustrated.
If you trust him, the child will also do it and will not give up, always looking for alternatives that help him achieve the goals he sets.
16. Express affection and say how you feel
Unconditional love is something that must be expressed and must be shown on a day-to-day basis. Love should not be given in exchange for anything, and should be expressed both in everyday examples and with the word.
You must respect your child for being what he is, tell him how much you love him and put words to how you feel.
In your relationship and to yourself, in the things that happen to you every day, many and varied emotions arise. Sometimes you are sad, sometimes happy, sometimes you get angry? Put the focus on yourself and how you feel and express it to the child.
Telling how we feel, what emotions are called, and why we feel this way also helps them develop their emotional intelligence.
17. Address your needs
One of the main tasks of the success of the parents is to train them in emotional competitions so that they are responsible adults and healthy emotionally.
Parents should help their children identify emotions and label them, respect their feelings, help them handle social situations.
The way in which parents attend to the needs of their children, show empathy for what they feel and need, regulate their emotions, express themselves with them or talk about emotions, for example, help their children to exercise it on themselves.
Children also learn by imitation, and if they see certain attitudes in their parents’ example, they will end up incorporating them into their own repertoire.
Being empathic and sensitive to the needs of others, the child can learn it through the example of his parents.
Parents can show emotional competences to their children through two days: the direct route, speaking of emotional competences explicitly or indirectly through the transmission of skills implicitly.
How? Through observation and modeling of competencies and emotional responses in other people.
Emotional intelligence is important, so you can consider all these tips to build it properly in your child.