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Emotional Intelligence (EI)…tips for success in modern parenting

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Emotional Intelligence (EI) It’s a bit of a modern buzz word; particularly as we move further into a world dominated by the ease of accessibility to ones and zeros. As a recent Chicago Tribune article explained, “In brief, the growing interest in emotional intelligence stems from a slow-but-steady recognition that the people who inhabit office spaces are, in fact, human beings.”

The interesting thing is that while the workplace may be the focus for many studies, home life is also impacted by EI, as it applies to the entire family culture. The inability to not only understand one’s personal feelings and corresponding reactions, but how these actions could affect others (particularly in the wake of a personal emotional response,) is essential in creating a happy, healthy home life.

“Emotional Intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80% of the “success” in our lives.” ~Freedman, Handle With Care: Emotional Intelligence Activity Book

With a better awareness of our own emotions, we’re further prepared to deal with two-year-old tantrums, rebellious teenagers and all of life’s greatest challenges. The hope is that the understanding of one’s own emotions will result in the understanding of others, which would allow for effective management and optimal use of individual skills.

“In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships.” ~John Gottman, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child

Emotional Intelligence

As I continue to research EI, one thing I’m sure of is that emotional awareness can be an excellent predictor of success – both personally and professionally. I recommend having fun with the subject and incorporating extra emphasis on discussing emotions (and how to best handle them) in all parenting efforts. Yes, this could be a pitch for the inevitable “feelings chart.”

EI Project for Kids

Take photos of your children feeling happy, sad, angry, confused, etc. (with their cooperation, of course!) and design your own chart. Ask them throughout the day to identify the emotions they’ve experienced that day and get them talking about their feelings.

 

sources: about.com, Chicago Tribune 
photos: kentbaby, gilaskins

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Comments
  • comment avatar Bruce Smith September 5, 2013

    I wholeheartedly concur on the importance of Emotional Intelligence. While I’ve heard it labeled as “soft skills,” my two decades as a teacher — most recently at Alpine Valley School (http://alpinevalleyschool.com) — confirm EI’s pivotal role in ensuring successful lives. When young people are given the space and time to learn who they are, and practice the skills of working with others, they thrive at whatever they choose to do. This process can take years, as well as an environment where kids are fully respected and given real responsibility. Yet despite the seeming novelty and risks of a child-driven education, the results are dazzling.

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  • comment avatar Jaime Clark September 9, 2013

    Thanks for the great feedback! It would be amazing if every child were treated as a unique, valuable individual and given the opportunity to make the most of their innate soft skills. I hope to be part of that movement and build a more satisfying,successful future for our children. I wish you the best of luck at Alpine Valley School :)

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