We as parents have responsibilities towards our children. We read about what to feed them, how to discipline them, we do research to make sure they go to great schools, we do everything to ensure we set them up for success. As parents we also know that life can be challenging and that smooth sailing, do not make good sailors.
In these modern times and in this modern societies, we have to remeber that the environment our children is placed in on a day to day basis, effects their life and well being. Not only does children today live under extreme pressure to achieve goals their parents set out for them, they also have to make their way through a broken society. Which can leave them feel overwhelmed and insecure.
But what about laying down an emotionally strong foundation for your child?
By teaching your child to be emotionally strong does not mean teaching your son that men don’t cry. Or teaching your daughter that she is a “drama queen”. It simply means teaching them to be emotionally intelligent.
Telling or expecting our children to keep their emotions bottled up is surely one of the worst mistakes we as parents can make. Bottled up emotions can cause mental health problems and can lead to problems with memory, aggression, anxiety and depression.
1. the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
“emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success”
Parents should stop ignoring their children’s emotions or disapproving and punishing them for their emotional expressions.
How do I teach my child to be emotionally intelligent?
- Be Aware. As a parent be aware and pay attention to what emotions your child is experiencing. Do not brush it off as overreacting. Acknowledge their feelings. Try and understand why they experience these emotions and feelings. Emphasize with what they are feeling. Help them reflect on this emotion or feeling by talking to them about it. Teenagers first go to is: “But you don’t understand” or “Nobody gets me”. I am sure most mothers can relate… right? Acknowledging and understanding what they feel even though it might “seem” stupid to you, will teach them that their feelings is important and that you can relate to what they are feeling. Share a similar story or situation with them that you found yourself in.
- Teach them to control how they express their emotions. Let your child be able to express what they are feeling. Make sure they feel safe in sharing their emotions, and that they don’t have to feel like a bad person for the emotions they are experiencing. Expressing of these emotions will help you as the parent to help your child resolve their feelings and then teach them that there are certain ways of expressing emotions without throwing tantrums or slamming the door shut. Bottled up emotions will cause more damage than actually dealing with that emotion or feeling at that time. It will have a serious impact on their lives as children, teens and adults.
- Listen to your child. Listening is the one thing we as parents slip up with the most. Being a mother myself and raising four children, having a full time job and being a wife is hard. And sometimes we just cravvveee…. peace and quiet. Parents make time each day to listen to what your child wants to share with you. Take at least 30 minutes a day and stay 100% focussed on your children in that time. Look them in the eye and give them your full attention. Opening up this channel of communication, talking and mostly listening will create a special bond and that way your children will put their trust in you. Listen to their opinions. They want to feel that their opinions matter. In return they may end up being more open to your opinions and listen to what you have to say or to listen to the advice you give.
Raising your children to be emotionally intelligent will benefit them in any situation. Helping them cope with everyday obstacles and how to face and overcome them, and teaching them healthy coping skills will allow them to grow on a personal and intimate level.
Children with low levels of emotional intelligence would most likely fall into depression, or other mental illness that can lead to withdrawal or suicide. It is your duty as a parent to do everything you can to make sure your child’s emotions and feelings is being cared for.
Do not dismiss their emotional wellbeing or write it off as growing pains. Step in and make sure they are in an environment, where they are coping emotionally and have a healthy emotional balance.
If you suspect that your child is bullying children at school and do nothing about it, be assured that you and your child will be afflicting emotional harm on another child. Which can lead to devastating events. It’s our responsibility as parents to take action against inappropriate behavior of our children. Denial will only make it worse.
Parents, just be present and there for your kids. Do not allow other children, parents or anyone for that matter to bully your child. Verbal and physical abuse can leave deep wounded scars.
If you have any stories to share with us on this topic please leave a comment below. I’d like to discuss this issue some more and get a few different opinions.