In detail

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence

An article by
Diana Tudose
Psychologist, Organization Save the Children Romania

Emotional intelligence. What is it and why is it important?

They often ask parents what their children would like to be when they grow up. The answers are almost invariably in the range: "messy", "determined", "independent", "safe on him".
At the question "How do you want to be your child now?", The answer often comes: "good, good student, with high grades". But not always "the good student, with high grades" becomes the adult "misguided", "determined", "independent", "confident on him".

What's going on? The key is emotional intelligence ...

Psychology studies over the last decade have firmly stated that emotional intelligence and the ability to establish relationships with others are the main predictor of success in life.

For parents, very good grades and school awards are probably the main guarantee for the child's success in life. That's right, school performance is welcome, but not enough. Moreover, statistics show us that many of the former students, not even bright, are now adults, both professionally and personally.
For a more harmonious development, it is best to take care of your child's mind and emotions as well. If grades and academic performance give us a measure of the mind, how can we realize that we have emotionally intelligent children?
What does an intelligent intelligent child look like?
The emotionally intelligent child:
  • is aware of his emotions and speaks freely about them;
  • recognizes the emotions of those around him;
  • communicates easily about what interests him or concerns him;
  • knows how to say NO without hurting others;
  • has a good management of negative emotions (for example, does not make anger outbursts when you have a house full of guests);
  • it has reasonable behaviors even when things do not go as they would like and do not abandon an activity, even when it becomes difficult;
  • he has well developed the motivational system - for example, he does not do some activities just because you asked him to do them or just while you are near him and you supervise him, but he does them because he understood that they are useful for his own development and he offers them benefits;
  • he is safe in most situations, and when he feels he is not doing well, he asks for help;
  • adapt quickly to new situations / people;
  • he is not afraid to ask questions or affirm his preferences;
  • has friends with whom he relaxes but from which he also learns new patterns of behavior.
  • Observe your child, regardless of age, and encourage friendship. Why is it so important for a child to have friends?
    Because friends are:

  • emotional resources for spending a pleasant time in leisure time. The researchers show that the period of time we laugh, smile, talk is much greater among friends than between people who know less. During these moments of relaxation, certain chemicals - endorphins - in the body are released in the body, which strengthen the immune system and create a well-being.
  • area - buffer against the negative effects of events such as: family conflicts, divorce, school problems. In these situations, the children distance themselves a little from the family and call on friends to obtain the necessary emotional support.
  • learning resource in situations that the child does not know how to solve. Children can imitate their friend's behavior when they do not know what to do or they can ask their help directly.

  • Optimal learning period of emotional skills, and therefore of developing emotional intelligence, is given even from the first years of our child's life; thus, the period of preschooling is essential, because when children learn the vocabulary of emotions, the association between emotions and life contexts, the facial expression of emotions (for example, they learn to decode a frowning face as a sign of worry or upset, a smile as a sign of joy etc.), modalities of reaction to the emotions of others.
    Parents are the first to contribute to the development of children's emotional abilities, by expressing their own emotions in the family, through the reactions and behavioral response to the child's emotions and by creating contexts in which emotions are spoken. For example, a parent who raises the tone when he is unhappy with something, will teach the child (through behavioral modeling) to raise the tone in the first more difficult situation; In a family where there is no open talk about emotions and no one shows what they are feeling, the child learns that expressing your emotions and talking about them is inappropriate or even a sign of weakness.
    There are specialized studies that show that the expression of positive emotions towards children is a predictor for the empathic abilities of the children and their good social functioning in the primary classes.
    What can you do as a parent to stimulate the emotional intelligence of your child?

  • uses messages formulated in person I, to express their opinions, emotions, desires (for example, instead of "you upset me" you can say "I'm upset that you don't answer me when I cry");
  • gives the child the choice between two or more alternatives. This is a very good way to teach the child to make decisions alone. Creates contexts in which the child can make decisions alone;
  • solve problems together with the child, pay attention to what he / she feels and thinks, to your emotional reactions; note together with the child alternative solutions.
  • consistently apply the rules governing the behavior of the child;
  • encourages the child to critically analyze a situation and to anticipate the consequences of his own behaviors;
  • ignore minor issues for conflict mitigation;
  • permanently encourages and praises the child's desirable behaviors; he needs to develop his self-confidence and his own skills and abilities.
  • And do not forget ! You are the first and most important landmark in your child's life. From you learn patterns of reaction and behavior, which are the essential things in life and how important it is to value ourselves and to respect ourselves and those around us.