What is Emotional Intelligence?

What is all this hype about emotional intelligence? Emotional intelligence is the new buzzword in education and parenting. Research has shown that it is an important factor in helping our kids have healthy relationships with their spouses, friends and co-workers. Adults who are emotionally intelligent are happier and more satisfied with their lives. Kids who are emotionally intelligent are better behaved, more resilient, responsible and calmer.

There are kids and adults who are naturally intelligent emotionally. They get along easier with others, their parents, teachers and friends. They are more resilient, they bounce back easily from disappointment. They are able to monitor and manage their feelings, they have self-control (the ability to resist temptation in the service of a higher goal) and they naturally take into consideration the feelings of others.

Fortunately, research has shown that emotional intelligence can be taught.

Families who have healthy communication and coping skills are more likely to have children who are more emotionally intelligent. One simple way to model good communication and coping skills is for parents to use “I” statements when they are mad.

So instead of accusing:
“Why are you always making so much noise?”
“Can’t you see I am busy! Stop interrupting me!”

Parents can use an “I” statement:
“I am having trouble holding onto my patience with all the loud fighting going on around me.”
“I need 5 minutes to myself right now. Afterwards I will be available to help you.”

Children can also be taught to use “I” statements:

So if in response to teasing they tell their sibling:
“You are so stupid!”

Teach them to tell their sibling what is bothering them using “I” statements:
“I get upset when you tease me about my questions.”
“I like my art project and I want you to stop making fun of it!”

Using “I” statements in our homes is a great way to model healthy communication and coping skills and to build the emotional intelligence of our kids easily and simply.

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