How to Help Children Nurture Emotional Intelligence
Emotional awareness is paramount for teen success in life. However, some parents underestimate its importance and don’t support their children adequately. It is a big mistake. The thing is kids grow up physically much faster than mentally. Not surprisingly, they often become hostages of their emotions. But they are not to blame.
Emotional growth is a long and complicated process. Both children (8-12 years) and teenagers (13-17 years) find it hard to understand their emotions and regulate their feelings. This can lead to many problems in their daily social life. So parental involvement is crucial.
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the educational process aimed at helping children to develop skills to understand the nature of their emotions, control their feelings, and make deliberate decisions. It is an important part of personality development.
What is more, it is an effective method of bullying prevention. The behavior, attitude, and skills it promotes teach teens to be friendly and compassionate to each other.
When it comes to social emotional intelligence, a family is the first social institution to improve children’s knowledge of the topic. The following tips will help you raise emotionally intelligent kids.
4 ways to enhance emotional awareness of your child
1. A warm-hearted talk
Did you notice some changes in your kid’s personality? They may be suffering for no apparent reason or worried a lot about something. Sometimes, using parental monitoring apps can help you find out a problem and solve it. But being there for your son or daughter to hear what they need to say is the ultimate value. So, sit and talk to your kid.
Explain to them that emotional understanding is vital for fostering the right attitude towards unpleasant moments. Try to find the right words. Make sure it doesn’t sound like a lecture. Encourage your child to share his/her personal fears. If he or she is a victim of cyberbullying, tell them how to cope with painful feelings. Having a warm conversation is a superb way to get rid of the inner turmoil.
2. Specifically developed SEL programs
There is a bunch of specially designed programs that help children understand their emotions. Let’s take “Jack Cherry” as an example. It is a social enterprise aimed at kids. It helps them be more happy and confident, as well as teaches them how to deal with sadness and change bad feelings for good ones. The program is based on the metaphor of the fruits as feelings that you put into Juicer to feel the way you want. “Jack Cherry” activity sessions are held in schools, youth centers, theaters, etc.
They also have specially designed comics, activity books, and videos, so concerned parent will definitely find something best suited for their needs. Also, there’s a wide choice of special institutions designed for teens, including Center for Emotional Intelligence at Yale University. Its purpose is to show adolescents how to handle with negative emotions. As for parents, Gostrengths may be of great help as it demonstrates how to foster skills of resilience.
3. Mood management
Your teen can combat their negative emotions by applying very simple yet effective techniques. It is called mood management, and it can become one of the most powerful emotional regulation skills for children. It offers a peaceful approach to resolving conflicts.
Let’s consider such an intense emotion as anger. You are supposed to explain to your teen that anger is a common thing in our life. It is normal to be angry. Each of us experiences this feeling from time to time. But it is important not to make things worse when trying to overcome it. Teach your child how to control it. Counting to ten is the simplest anger management tip to cool off. Another sure-fire technique is focusing on the breath.
4. Watching learning cartoons
Kids like to watch cartoons. Not all of them are just for fun. Why not pick those that teach to understand emotions and feelings? “Inside Out”, for instance, would be a perfect choice. The animated movie from Pixar features the five personified emotions within the mind of a little girl named Riley. They are Joy, Fear, Sadness, Anger, and Disgust.
As they come to life, they control actions of the girl. What an original yet true-life idea! Watching this cartoon with help your child enhance emotional understanding. It would be a good thing to talk it over afterward. If the kid has found some scenes difficult to understand, make time to explain them. Watch movies and cartoons with them; thus, you get to spend time with your kids and have fun.
Parental involvement is essential for developing emotional skills of the child. So be an active part of your teen’s daily life. Show your support and understanding. This will help you build a healthy relationship with your child in today’s troubled world.