August 08, 2008

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

On the topic of making your child tough enough to face the wild winds of life, I've always been intrigued by the topic of emotional intelligence. It's not only something we need to pay attention to while raising children but also for ourselves. It's never too late to make ammends, and life is always going to be a learning curve for us all. EQ may prove to be the most valuable form of intelligence your child masters in this lifetime. When I looked at this particular aspect of my childs growth, it opened many doors for us and strengthened her abilities to deal with obstacles.

Here's something I found:

'Emotional Intelligence' this new buzzword was coined by Yale psychologists Peter Salovey and the University of New Hampshire's John Mayer to describe qualities like understanding one's own emotions, empathy for the feelings of others, and managing one's emotions. In addition to grade point average, IQ, and other standardized testing, emotional intelligence (EQ) is being described as a new and better way of measuring an individual's chance of success in life. The higher your EQ, the greater your ability to manage your feelings and deal effectively with others, the greater your chances are for a happier life.

How Can You Improve Your EQ?

1.Take responsibility for your emotions and your happiness.

2. Examine your own feelings rather than the actions or motives of other people.

3. Develop constructive coping skills for specific moods. Learn
to relax when your emotions are running high and to get up and move when you are feeling down.

4. Make hunting for the silver lining a game. Look for the
humor or life lesson in a negative situation.

5. Be honest with yourself. Acknowledge your negative feelings, look for their source, and come up with a way to solve the underlying problem.

6. Show respect by respecting other people's feelings.

7. Avoid people who invalidate you or don't respect your

8. Listen twice as much as you speak.

9. Pay attention to non-verbal communication. We communicate with our whole selves. Watch faces, listen to tone of voice, and take note of body language.

10. Realize that improving your EQ will take time and patience.

Copyright (c) 1999 by Edel Jarboe. All Rights Reserved.

Emotional Intelligence For Children

How do we identify Emotional Intelligence
One of the simple tests administered to young children involves postponing fulfillment in order to receive a bigger reward. The researcher puts a marshmallow on the table and tells the child he can either eat it now or wait until the researcher comes back with a second marshmallow, then eat both. A child who is able to control bodily appetites long enough to earn the bigger reward is considered to be more emotionally intelligent.

If you would like to exercise your child's EQ, here are some ideas you may want to try.

  • Practice Start/Stop games. For example, "Let's run to the corner, but listen carefully to me... Start! Stop!" Games such as these (Red Light / Green Light is a classic example) allow a child to practice exerting control over his whole body.
  • The next step is to institute the "Freeze" command as part of your daily interaction. The trick with the "Freeze" command is to use it just as much for fun as for work. Say "Freeze" then kiss your child. Say "Freeze" then give him a treat. The "Freeze" game work when it's used for positive rewards just as much as it's used as a tool.
  • Teach your child to recognize what he wants. One of the key aspects of emotional intelligence is identifying feelings, needs, wants, etc. Say often, "What are you feeling?" and model it too. Instead of directly scolding your child, say, "I'm so angry right now!" Name the emotions, whatever they may be, and encourage your child to do the same. Practice stating what you really want and encourage your child to do the same. Try to discuss things casually and extensively so you can find out what your child really wants.
  • Practice patience. This is a skill that needs to be done slowly, consistently, over a long period of time. Every now and then, when your child is in a good mood and can handle it, practice patience. For example, if your in line at a store, tell your child, "Hey, let's practice patience" or "Let's flex our patience muscles. Wow, you're getting strong!" Name the skill. Talk about what it means, how patience can be "short" or "long", how sometimes patience can be "used up". Talk about ways to develop patience and give examples: earning a toy slowly over a period of days or weeks, waiting to play with a friend, saving up money for college and other examples that may have meaning for your child.

How does reading improve emotional intelligence?

Early reading experiences can pave the way for children to learn to cope with emotions and to develop skill in interpersonal relationships. That foundation will aid them in succeeding in school and work later in life.

  • Books expose children to a variety of people, attitudes and experiences that mirror real life. They help them understand what others think and feel and do every day. In learning to identify the emotions of characters in stories, they begin to understand their own feelings and the emotions of others as well.
  • Reading gives children words with which to express themselves. Children who can state what they feel are less inclined to act out, become depressed, or express their feelings through bodily symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches.
  • Stories often show positive and negative behaviors, conflicts, dilemmas and the resolution of problems in relationships. They give children strategies to work out similar issues in their own lives.
  • Books can inspire and teach by example. Stories of famous people and heroes can illustrate positive qualities such as perseverance, hard work, and determination to overcome obstacles. Having a role model often motivates children to set goals and succeed at achieving them.

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