Should we allow children to throw tantrums and show anger?
How do you nurture emotional intelligence in children? Here are some quick tips for you.
In July, I shared with you the need to empathise with your children to empower them to develop their emotional intelligence. This will help them thrive and succeed in our competitive world. In this article, I invite you to consider the value of allowing and encouraging children to express themselves.
When our children throw tantrums or show anger, we often get angry and tell them to behave. We deny them the chance to express their feelings and tell their side of the story.
Encouraging children to express their feelings does not mean that you encourage them to continue to throw tantrums or make complaints. It means that you calm them down and encourage them to tell their story in order to explain the source of their anger or frustration. Oftentimes, parents are too quick to judge and we tend to shut them up before listening to the full story.
Allow and encourage expression
Let them talk and then calmly ask some simple questions to help them assess the situation. This will help them learn how to deal with their anger. Ask them:
- Why are you angry?
- Who has caused you to be so angry?
- What has caused you to be so angry?
- What can you do to calm yourself down?
- Would you like to confront the person?
- How should you confront the person?
- Can you change the situation?
- If not, what do you propose to do?
- How long would you like to remain angry?
- How does it benefit you to remain angry?
Why is it important for kids to develop emotional intelligence? Read on the next page!
Emotional intelligence for kids
More often than not, allowing and encouraging your children to talk would go a long way in simmering them down. Do not condemn their angry feelings or threaten them with further abuse to make them repress their anger. This will make them resentful. Their anger will build up over time, and implode or explode in the most unexpected way.
Do understand that they are trapped by their own anger and they need you to calm them down by allowing them to let go of steam, literally speaking. The pot has reached its boiling point and is boiling over. What do you do? Turn off the electricity and lift the lid and let the steam out.
We need to teach them a restrained way to deal with unpleasant situations. Teach them the importance of self-discipline and conscious control of their anger.
Otherwise, it may rear its ugly head in the form of nightmares, nervous tic, or stutters. Encourage them to reason with those who cause them anger. Tell them it is acceptable to express their disappointment or fear. Give them a cuddle even as they struggle to put their emotions into words. This will often trigger a torrent of tears before they can settle down to talk sensibly. Offer a kiss, a hug and a treat and you are sure to put a smile on those adorable little faces
Why does allowing and encouraging expression develop emotional intelligence?
Encouraging emotional expression provides a vital avenue for children to communicate. It allows them to be understood in the best way they know how. Talking and sharing their story is therapeutic on its own.
Sometimes you need not say a thing. After they have had the chance to explain their anger, they may just go away, sobbing a little but wanting some love and sympathy.
Allowing them to talk means that you accept that feeling angry, frustrated or disappointed is reasonable and they have nothing to hide. It is helping them accept and deal with feelings, whether negative or positive.
Talking about their emotional state also suggests that they can actually control and regulate their own feelings and not put the blame on others all the time. They learn that they can control how others and situations affect them. In this way, they gain better control of their lives, and become less vulnerable to the nastiness of others or the unpleasantness of the situations.