A recent story I read brought my attention to the subject of Emotional Quotient (EQ).
The story was about how on a public forum, a university student explained how she unknowingly yelled at a very senior member of the organisation she was interning at.
In her story, she said that there was no water in the water dispenser in the kitchen, and she had ‘told’ a man standing nearby to replenish it. Not ‘asked’, but ‘told’. He glared at her and walked away, and she ‘shouted’ at him.
The intern’s story garnered an avalanche of responses from people. Many pointed out how disrespectful she was and how wrongly she handled the situation. The act of asking for help replenishing the water wasn’t what was in question; it was how she went about it!
How could the intern have handled this situation better? I can think of many ways. For instance, she could been more pleasant and polite when asking for help.
We all know that when you smile and ask for something nicely, people find it very difficult to refuse you.
It makes a world of a difference when you ask for something with a smile!
There were also comments on how the intern displayed poor behavioural qualities common to the current generation of young adults.
But let’s not generalise. I have personally come across many polite and well-mannered young people in Singapore.
It’s still worthwhile thinking about how to ensure that our children grow up with good manners and what can you do to nurture your child’s EQ.
As parents, we devote a lot of time and attention to developing our kids’ IQs (Intelligence Quotient) and making sure they get good grades.
But are you aware that children with higher EQs are known to be overall better performers in school than those with only high IQs? This is because they are equipped to handle high-pressure situations like exams better than their counterparts.
Your child’s EQ – if high – will help her perform better at school and be more all-rounded in general.
So what is EQ?
EQ, also known as emotional intelligence, is generally defined as the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups.
This term has been around since the ‘60s and many studies have been done on this in the ‘90s.
The topic of EQ is very pertinent to us mums as well. We live in an age where people are driven by success but may not necessarily have the social skills to back them. We also want our kids to grow up to be notably different — for good reasons!
Why it is important to develop your child’s EQ
Experts say that children with high EQs will grow up to be more successful in life, due to the following reasons:
- They handle stress and anxiety better and have better problem-solving capabilities, which pave the way for them to have successful careers.
- In general, they have better temperaments that will help when faced with problems and aggressive people.
- They are known to be closer to, and have good relationships with their parents, with a tendency to mingle with other kids from similar backgrounds. This also paves the way for them to grow up into better-behaved teenagers.
- They will be less likely to turn to substance abuse (be it alcohol, drugs or even over-eating) when life gets difficult.
- They will be more sensitive to the emotions of others and handle relationships better.
- They will have better developed social skills, and naturally more polite, outgoing and friendly.
How do you develop your child’s EQ?
We all want our kids to be as happy and successful as they can possibly be. We also want them to be good human beings.
So it is very important to develop your child’s EQ from a young age. Here are a few ways you can do this:
1. Teach her how to identify her feelings from an early age
Teach your child to express her feelings.
A toddler throwing a tantrum is an ideal opportunity to teach her about her emotions. Get your child tell you what she is feeling as opposed to what she wants; is she feeling sad or angry?
Likewise, do this in happy moments too. Your child will learn to identify her different emotions, and in time, verbalise and deal with them.
2. Always show empathy
Show your child plenty of empathy when needed.
Empathising doesn’t mean agreeing. Once you teach your child to talk about how she is feeling, she will (in true kid-style) tell you how she is feeling all the time! Handle this by acknowledging her feelings, and if you can’t agree to what she wants, explain why.
3. Teach her problem solving
For instance, if your child comes crying to tell you she’s feeling angry that her brother has torn her artwork, use the opportunity to show her how to deal with the issue.
Praise her for not yelling at her brother. Thank her for telling you about the issue and for sharing her feelings with you.
Give her options on how she can fix the problem; suggest that both of you paste the picture back together, or that you can help her create something new.
This will show her that there’s always a solution to a problem. Follow through with the solution she chooses.
4. Teach her to be sensitive to others
Teach your child to be sensitive to how others feel.
This is a follow-up from the previous tip. Your child will emulate the way you show compassion towards her. So teach her to extend the same principle towards others.
Very soon, you will see your child asking a friend why she is sad and offering to cheer her up. As a result, your child will learn how to be a good friend too.
I have experienced this with my own daughter and can attest to its effectiveness!
5. Lead by example through managing your own feelings
Sometimes the things your kid does may leave you wanting to tear your hair out… but try your best to control your emotions especially in front of your child.
Dealing with our feelings appropriately presents yet another EQ teaching opportunity for your child. For instance, if your child breaks something you love, you might flare up quickly.
Take a minute to get your temper in check, then communicate how you are feeling and discuss what the consequences will be. This way, she will learn how to deal with similar future situations, and that there are repercussions to her actions.
In addition to showering your kids with love, we are positive that these 5 tips will help increase your child’s EQ.
If you find this article interesting or if you know of any other tips that are not mentioned above, do leave us a comment. We would love to hear your thoughts!