You must be a very smart parent to even think of this topic, well it might be normal for you, but I only started to learn about this very recently,, while i was in a webinar about self help, and personal development. I thought well, I might have missed out on some emotional intelligence myself, but i’d rather save my children from falling in the same rabbit hole. since i learned a few things about emotional intelligence I started to implement them myself , then i started to notice my children’ s behavior, and noticed some behavior and choices made especially in my older children, ( teens) I thought sorry babies, my bad, I should have taught you better.
Hey i am Fatma Zubia, Welcome to my blog. in today’ s blog I will be teaching you about emotional intelligence, its importance, and how to actually teach it to our children.
Well to be honest I think that is wrong to say “teach it to our children” because I do believe that as human being the only kind of knowledge and intelligence we are born with is emotional intelligence. but through out our lives we are conditioned to loose those skills and that kind of knowledge.
Now let us begin. so what is emotional intelligence? according to wikipedia Emotional intelligence (EI), also known as Emotional quotient (EQ) and Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EIQ), is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).
I know this sounds fancy and no way that kids might be born with such intelligence, but let us try to simplify it. ( capability to recognize emotions, and discern between different feelings and label them appropriately). so aren’t emotions and feelings the same thing ? No way.
We need to dig even deeper here. Emotions are the physical sensations we have in our body when we go through certain experiences, but the feelings are how our minds process those sensations and give them names, (label them appropriately ).
if you have little children, as a parent or guardian or a teacher, you would have definitely noticed that children are extremely sensitive to their bodies, they are very aware of their body sensations ( recognize their own emotions ) . you would have noticed a child screaming their head off, then we assume they are hungry so we offer them food, but they reject it, because in fact they are actually tired and sleepy. If you are handling children closely you would have definitely come across something like this. this means they are emotionally intelligent, they are so aware of the sensations in their bodies, their only problem is that they don’t know the label for that sensation. they don’t have he vocabulary to say I feel tired, or thirsty, or scared, or bored. the only way for them to express themselves is by crying, because they tried it as newborns and it worked, we always attend to our babies when they are crying.
So now we agree on the first part of this definition. the second part of the definition is to “recognize their own emotions and those of others ” I think this is an extremely powerful one about newborns in particular. I am usually a laid back person, I don’t like stressing out and try to allow myself a lot of time and space to do things. but sometimes thins get out of hand, well no matter how organized you are things might not go according to plan.
I remember back in June 2014 my little boy Ahmed was one month old, my friends were coming to have dinner at my place, I remember it was a Friday, so two nights before, I made a full shopping from the supermarket to arrive on Friday Morning by 7:30 am, that morning i sat in my window and waited for the shopping van to arrive until 9 am then I had to go to drop my daughter in her school, so I took her late, but when I arrived home. I found a card from the delivery man saying ” sorry we missed you ” Oh Nooooooo, I was screaming and running around around like a headless chicken. I rang the costumer service and started crying because my time slot was between 7:30 am and 9 am. they left the card at 9:05. so she answered me well if you read the terms and conditions, it does say allow for an extra hour after your delivery time slot. any way making long horrific story short. I cried a lot , I panicked a lot, it was a very stressful morning, baby started to cry so I went to feed him, I breastfeed my kids up to two years. so I tried feeding it was quite tough, then he started to vomit, (you are still reading so I am assuming you probably are a parent, so this normal for you, you are not grossed out). I tried to calm him down but he just wouldn’t. he was fine and healthy, he doesn’t usually throw up, so that was abnormal behavior for him, but my behavior that morning was abnormal to him too.
My mum came that afternoon and she was trying to calm me down , then she said to me don’t you dare feed that baby until after a few hours of calming down, you have been upset so your baby will definitely become sick, I was like well it is too late.
Everything went well that evening, except for Ahmed he just wouldn’t calm down, i tried to feed him and put him to bed he just wouldn’t and everyone was telling he seems uncomfortable, may be you fed him while you were upset. I was like yes I am guilty I admit it, he cannot be that sensitive, milk is milk, and then my friend’ s mum said to me ” babies are far too sensitive to miss on mummy being upset”.
I started to pay attention to that, i notice that when i am feeling low my little girl would come to me and give me a hug, and say I thought you might need it mummy, and of course vice versa if i am excited you see the little ones full of joy and excitement.
I mean i don’t know much about energy omitted by people according to how they are feeling, but let me tell you one thing children most certainly can sense that. they can send our emotions and our energies around them all day long they just might not be able to put it into words ” they can recognize their emotions and those of others “. fascinating ha!
now the next part of the definition ” discern between different feelings and label them appropriately”. the labeling par, of this emotional journey, is where we as parents, guardians and teachers come in. our mission is to teach the children how to name what every sensation actually mean, so when they sweaty palms, and hearts are racing may be they are frightened. we tell our children what that sensation is called, we bring logic to it, we materialize it, because we like to feel like we can grab it or at least put our finger on it.
I remember when I was a little girl i was always fascinated with such things, I always thought how can i ever know if when I am feeling happy and my sister is feeling happy, that we are actually experiencing exactly the sensations, then the other day i was in a training session about this emotional stuff then the coach said exactly the same thing, we can never know for sure when i heard that, I thought oh I am so smart, I thought of this since I was little, I mean am I smart or what?
Going back to how to teach your child emotional intelligence, when we are handling our children and their emotions, and our emotions, and we try to put labels of feeling s ( names) on those sensations, we usually go further than just naming, we start to categorize feelings into negative and positive, good or bad. this is where things start to get messed up. because we start to teach our children that some feelings are bad, or when they cry we panic, stop crying like a baby, or the worst statement in my opinion is when we tell our boys ” men don’t cry ” .
“Men don’t cry” I mean who came up with this? Are you kidding me? this the worst thing you could associate a feeling to, you deny someone the feeling. males are denied from crying. ewe. horrible stuff. i mean crying is the most and the best stress relief in the world, literally, i mean yeah i am a girl and i love crying, but this is not a girl’ s thing. crying is not a sign of weakness, it is an emotion we go through, we cry when we are filled with joy, when we are sad, or when we feel overloaded with emotions, we just allow them to flow by crying. as simple as that. Ahhhhi feel better now that this is out of my chest. “men don’t cry”, that is just so mean .
In my culture, I am a Muslim woman from Libya North Africa, and in there these kind of statements are massive and logos on people’ s houses, and men take pride in that, it is considered ti be a sign of weakness, although it is totally against the teachings of Islam. I mean in the Islamic history, it is known to the nation that the biggest leaders of the Islamic nation, those who were picked by the prophet PBUH himself were know to actually have marks on their faces , two lines down their cheeks, from weeping for long periods of time. those people were in power, ruling the country yet still they were know for how much they would cry. It is nothing to be embarrassed about, they are just going through certain emotions and it showing up to them in the form of tears. The Lord Glory be to him praises people who shed their tears, because it is a form of surrender.
Guys let those tears out, you will feel better I promise you.
Going back to how to teach your child emotional intelligence, and this is the juicy stuff, when we teach our kids that some feelings are bad or we should avoid certain feelings, we are telling them that they are unworthy of going through the experience, and that experience is going to show up in their lives again again and again, so if they keep resisting it they will only feel a lot worse and they wouldn’t even know why, so we teach them that there are only two feelings happy or unhappy, unhappy is not good we should avoid it so we feel angry because when we are angry we seem more powerful and in control, but the truth is we are scared, or disappointed, or confused or whatever, we just do not acknowledge the sensations in our bodies until we loose all kinds of them. our bodies become numb, and we are not aware of our emotions any more.
When we feel ok, it means we are happy, if not we get angry, and we don’t pay attention to our body and all the signals it is sending us. we become conditioned to what we are taught over the years, and as we carry on ignoring our bodies, we develop a subconscious message in our minds and hearts that we are not worthy of that acknowledgment. we will be getting aches and pains , signs our bodies need nourishment, or just need to cry and we keep ignoring them by taking pain killers, or we get into eating disorders, or we become the biggest procrastinators. we treat the symptoms rather than the cause of the aches of pains.
This will come back to our children late on in their lives and creep up on them as self worth issues, they will might not even be aware of it. They will have issues finding a good spouse, and even if they think they found one they will sabotage it for themselves, because of the deep embedded code in their subconscious that they are not worthy of happiness, or that they are so messed up if that person knows who they truly are, they will leave them. so they become clingy and never happy because always in panic mode of others will abandon them.
It will come up when they are applying for their dream job, and when they get the interview they either go late, or become sick that day, or go into fight or flight mode and sabotage their interview, although they would have been the perfect candidate according to their C.V.
It comes up when they want to change career and create more wealth or become healthier or what ever they might dream about achieving they will always be in the way of their own dreams, because in the subconscious mind they feel unworthy of achieving that dream.
The list can carry on for as long as you want to, look into your own life and see where you have self sabotaged your own success.
So how do you teach your child emotional intelligence ?
Well I received a podcast in an email the other day from my mentors Ilan and Guy Firdman, about how to handle children, and they had a guest who said ” when your child comes crying to you or you see them upset or when they are having a tantrum do not say to them what is wrong, but say what do you need ” I thought that was so powerful, because you don’t put a negative touch on the emotions and the sensations the child is going through. when you say what is wrong you are implying that crying or feeling sad is a negative thing, but really it is not. it is our body is telling us it needs something. and most of the time children just need reassurance , because they are feeling scared or unsure, so they panic , they cry, they might even have a tantrum while all they need is to feel safe. allow them to cry, please don’t tell them to calm down just give them a hug or rub their back and allow them to express their emotions without you trying to put those feelings into categories or boxes, just let them be freeeeeee.
I don’t want to discuss how to avoid tantrums and all that kind of behavior that we get overwhelmed by , because that is a completely different conversation, I discussed it in other blogs. but today i just want to shed some light on emotions and how we can help our children develop their emotional intelligence that they were actually born with and just help them give names and labels to those sensations rather than tell them to shut down or their senses and live like robots, then wonder why they are actually living in a rut.
We cannot buy self worth, not to ourselves and not to our children. so no matter how much luxury we provide for ourselves or our children, it is emotions and feelings that matter. children ill grow to forget everything we ever bought them but will never how we made them feel.
Allowing the emotions to take their time and travel through our body, and us giving ourselves the permission to actually experience them, will only result in growth and fulfillment, being vulnerable and true to ourselves leads to authenticity, and we feel comfortable in our own skin, our imperfections are what make us perfect. and we allow ourselves to go through those fascinating experiences we give permission to those around us to go through theirs too, we teach our children that this how you handle your emotions, and that they are worthy of going through those fascinating experiences. They get to earn from them and grow to be more mature stable fulfilled human beings.
You might be thinking it can’t be the only way forward, it can’t be that easy, but the truth s it is not easy because we were told the complete opposite. It is that simple but it is not easy, you have to want to do it to be able to undo the damage that has been done, but it is a habit to ignore you feelings and you can replace that habit with a new one. become the role model for your children, because they following your footsteps, good or bad.
Try It today, if your child starts to cry or says they scared of the dark or just doesn’t want to sleep, just give them some acknowledgment and say what do you need? you don’t have to give in to what they want if it is not right, but just listen to them without judgement. This stuff works, believe me I have four children.
This is my insight on How to teach your child emotional intelligence
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