An excerpt from a great post from the Aha! Parenting web site. Make sure you follow the link at the end to go through to the site to read the rest of the post.
Why is emotional intelligence so important in raising a child? Managing anxiety in order to tackle a big project, managing anger to work through a marital conflict, managing fear to apply for a job — the ability of a human being to manage his or her emotions in a healthy way will determine the quality of his life in a much more fundamental way than his IQ. In fact, psychologists have come to call this ability EQ, or Emotional Intelligence Quotient.
What are the core components of high EQ? Emotional self knowledge and self acceptance, sensitivity to the cues of others, empathy (which can be defined as the ability to see and feel something from the other’s point of view), and the ability to regulate one’s own anxiety in order to talk about emotionally charged issues in a constructive way.
Your child’s EQ begins with her relationship with you. How can you lay a solid foundation?
1. Hold your infant when she wants you and respond quickly to her cries. High EQ starts in infancy with the baby’s earliest interactions with caregivers, from which she develops feelings of security and trust.
2. Calm your own anxiety. Almost a hundred years ago, psychologist Harry Stack Sullivan originated the idea that infants pick up anxiety from their parents. Recent research has confirmed that parents’ touch, voices, and movements can either soothe a child or stimulate anxiety.
3. Help him learn to self-soothe. We now know that babies learn to sooth themselves by first having someone else soothe them. From this they gain the experience of their physical and emotional needs as something manageable that can be tolerated. In fact, their nervous systems actually begin to lay the groundwork for self-calming later in life, meaning that babies’ brains and nerves don’t develop adequately unless they are held and soothed when they’re upset. Infants experience needs that aren’t met as life threatening (as unsatiated hunger, or an absent caretaker, actually could be). Emotions swamp these babies. Without the soothing they need, their nervous systems don’t lay down the pathways that would later allow them to soothe themselves. As toddlers they have a very hard time learning to self soothe or self regulate, because every feeling makes them anxious -– after all, it might lead to a catastrophe -– and escalates.
In later childhood their feelings of neediness, fear or anger can trigger sweeping anxiety or panic, leading these kids to act out because they can’t tolerate their feelings or calm themselves down.
To read the rest of the great post – click here to be taken directly to the post on the Aha! Parenting site.
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Don’t forget to enjoy your day.
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