Dr. Caron Goode
Helping your child become emotionally intelligent is essential and correlates highly to being a happier and a more successful human being. The environment and manner in which children are raised forms the basis of emotional behavior and decision making. There are two aspects of emotional intelligence – within and without! It is the ability to control and manage one’s feelings and emotions, and being able to interact socially and empathize with others in their situations. These include emotional aspects like being caring, optimistic, motivated, morally strong or resilient. The emotionally intelligent person is able to control and manage negative emotions and nurture positive ones. This process is called emotional regulation which starts with the bonding process at birth and is shaped in the years through parental modeling and peer acceptance or rejection during play time.
Emotional regulation involves four levels:
1. Observation: By age two, children learn to watch for facial gestures, body language, and voice tone and associate these behaviors with feelings. At age three to four, they name their emotions and can read other’s fairly well. They learn to change their emotional states in the early childhood years.
2. Practicing being happy, feeling sad, or expressing other emotions takes place through role playing, reading story books, and identifying with the character or modeling after parents and peers.
3. Being aware of how they feel inside, giving it a name, and describing the feeling is the child’s verbal acknowledgement that they know.
4. Acceptance of an emotional state is learned in the family culture. Children learn which feelings are okay or not okay very early in life.
Talking about emotions helps in explaining to the child that the emotions they feel are not unique and that everyone undergoes these feelings now and then. Being a friend and listening shows that you respect your child and that their matters are not trivial.
For older children it helps to discuss incidents that you may have experienced and how you tackled negative emotions. Mention times when your best friend suddenly stopped talking to you and what you felt at that time. Discuss how you feel disappointment when your child doesn’t pick up the toys. Such discussions will ensure that your child is ready to handle and address his emotions when the situation arises.
Last but not the least, it is critical that you reinforce positive feelings in your children and obviate negative ones. Moving on with life, leaving the bad experiences behind, ensures a happier and more cheerful child. If negative thoughts and experiences are not purged from memory caches, they are likely to be sparked off by some stimuli at a later date and can result in impractical and emotionally charged behavior. Teach your child to hold on to positive feelings and remember them in times of stress.
There are five core competencies in emotional intelligence that, if learned, provide children with a successful foundation in life. These include
o Social Skills
Let’s take a look at each intelligence or emotional skill over the over the next several weeks and learn how each contributes positively to a child’s success.
Post Doctoral Work: (1996-1998) Institute of Transpersonal Psychology; focus on Women’s Psychology and on Wellness
Doctorate of Education: (1979-1983) The George Washington University, My degree is in Counseling Psychology, with the major, Human Development and Leadership and a minor in Special Education.
Masters of Communication: (1972-73) Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio TX. Major was language and minor was learning disabilities.
Bachelor of Science: (1971) Oklahoma University of Liberal Arts, Major was Speech Therapy and Deaf Education.
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