Emotional Intelligence: Practical Magic for your Kids

Being able to understand other people's feelings is like mastering a universal language that all people speak despite age, race, nationality and social status. In some way, it is an ability to read the minds of other people. But they can reveal only if we have enough empathy to understand their feelings and put ourselves in their place. Only when looking from perspective we can suddenly understand that many actions and decisions of people surrounding us that we might have found selfish or illogical have a proper cause and reason. Seeing a big picture and analyzing things this way may be quite a challenging task even for the grown-ups. But what if I told you that you can help your child to develop these 'magical' abilities from the young years?

There's a Name for the Magic

The ability to be smart about other people's feelings is called Emotional Intelligence (EI). It is a crucial part of a socialization process and building healthy connections with the world around us. The concept of EI was introduced in 1950s by a psychologist Daniel Goleman. He suggested five basic components of social intelligence.

  • Self-Awareness: the ability to understand our own feelings and the outcomes of our particular emotional reactions.

  • Self-Regulation: the ability to manage our own emotions and tame impulsive reactions.

  • Motivation: the ability to act effectively and reach goals in spite of distracting feelings.

  • Empathy: the ability to understand the other people's feelings.

  • Social Skills: the ability to manage relationships and predict the response to certain kinds of behavior.

All these elements are closely interconnected and work best when combined. In general, the algorithm of EI-based behavior is similar to a chess play. A person should analyze a situation, understand preconditions, predict the outcomes, and make the best possible decision that will lead to the most favorable result.

Magical Transformations

This level of understanding and perception can change your child's behavior drastically. It can turn an aggressive and highly strung kid into a compassionate and sensible person as if by magic. All you need is to give your child a chance to understand his feelings and the game of social interactions. Moreover, understanding own feelings is the best way for your child to cope with emotional challenges that he/she will face every day in massive amounts — from the most common and minor ones to the totally overwhelming feelings. The case is that even the minor emotional challenge can become a real problem if not treated correctly.

The level of EI differs from person to person. Growing up and learning a child develops his/her EI with a help of social interactions. However, while some elements may develop naturally, the other ones like self-regulation may require additional fostering. There are many ways to develop these abilities, as EI is not a talent or some kind of a natural gift.

Practicing the Magic

Being a mother of two beautiful but rather active and rebellious kids I found out that the best way of teaching is to entertain. Nobody likes to be lectured or berated for his/her offences, but if you manage to capture children's attention — they would listen to your each and every word. In my case, the illustrated books worked best. Together we've dived into the adventures of book's characters and then analyzed and discussed their behavior and decisions. At that moment I realized that I can explain to my little loved ones the things they would never listen to when teaching them to behave in a usual way. And that's the exact moment when I decided on creating my own children's book that would help my children to develop their self-regulation skills. But that's the whole other story.

Hope you enjoyed this article and found the information useful. I'm planning to post regular updates in this blog in order to provide you with the information that can help you better understand your children and give them a helping hand when they need it. I welcome you to subscribe to my blog updates and get the latest articles as soon as they are released.

With love, Elizabeth