I recently had a seven-year-old in my office who was listening to her father's conversations about the mistakes he had made in his life. She instantly looked up at her father with big blue eyes and said, “Daddy everybody makes mistakes, to make mistakes is human." I looked at her father and said, "Your daughter is an old soul, and on an emotional level is way beyond her years." I knew in part, that his daughter's emotional IQ was a result of he and his wife's teachings. That is the beautiful thing about parenting is that YOU can help your child to develop their emotional IQ.
Emotional IQ is different from intellectual IQ. Emotional IQ is the ability for a child to process and to know their feelings and the feelings of others. If they have high emotional IQ, that child will intuitively know and will be able to understand other people emotionally and relate to them accordingly.
This process develops naturally as children develop and mature. They experience life circumstances that teach them how to respond to others empathetically. This means they are able to put themselves in another person's shoes and know how they feel. As children mature they get better at this and they oftentimes model their parents who do this with them and with others. That's where your training comes in because you can teach them how to imagine how another child might feel which increases your child's emotional IQ.
The best way to do this is to listen carefully for events that occur in your child's life. As your child is sharing the story from his or her point of view you can say to your child, "Wow, I wonder how that made Tommy feel?” This simple question usually goes unanswered by your child and so then you need to probe until your child gives you an answer that might look like "I know Tommy felt sad when he was left out of the soccer game."
Or if your child is frustrated with his sister because she continues to use his game boy you might say "I wonder why Stella wants so badly to play with your game boy?" If your son has difficulty answering this question you might throw out a couple of choices that might look like "Do you think she wants to be like her big brother?” Or do you think you've had so much fun with your game boy that she wants to have that much fun too? "
When a child can understand another person's perspective it raises their emotional maturity and IQ. They end up being kinder, gentler people and it teaches them how to relate to others and how they might use other relationship skills like negotiation and compromise so that they will get along better with their peers and family. This increases their chances of becoming leaders in their community, becoming managers or bosses of their companies, and invariably being better people who have much to offer this world.
So the two most fundamental ways that you can help your child develop this type of IQ is to:
• roll model empathy yourself and share why you are seeing it from another person's point of view
• ask some questions that begin to help them look at the process of how others might see and interpret the world.
You have the ability to mold your child in so many ways and helping them to develop emotional IQ sets them up for success in life!
Carol Juergensen Sheets, LCSW PCC is a psychotherapist and personal life coach. SHe does motivational speaking and empowerment trainings locally and nationally. To find out more about her services, contact her at www.carolthecoach.com or call her at 317-218-3479. You can watch Carol the Coach segments on WTHR's Channel 13 Wednesdays at 12:50PM.