Part 2: Emotional Intelligence- HOW Parents Should Boost Their Implementation of This Important Tool

Posted on January 30, 2014

Welcome back! Last week, we established WHY it is important for parents to take the lead with modeling and teaching their children’s Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills. So let’s jump right in and learn how.

To begin with, I’d like to give credit where it is deserved. The tool that I’m about to introduce you to is the simplified version of the great work of the pioneers in EI, Drs. Daniel Goleman and John Gottman. The efforts and years that went into their EI research needs to reach all parents so  that they may help their kids reap the benefits like academic success, social skill building, boosting self esteem, and increasting self confidence. So here it is, one tool with three simple and easy-to-remember steps:

Dealing with the Feeling

1. Spot it : In your mind, spot the feeling – “My child is angry/sad/hurt/tired…” 

2. Say it : Say it out loud – “Are you angry with your brother?” or “Are you sad that you lost your favorite toy?”  

               This step builds a child’s emotional vocabulary. It helps the child identify their feelings and express them in words. In order to build emotional vocabulary and get the child comfortable with putting his or her feelings into words, you will have to start by saying it out loud to your son or daughter. And before you know it, when you ask what is wrong or what feelings are going on, your child will easily share the feeling independently. 

3. OK it: With a tiny nod, tell your child that it’s OK to feel this way. Validate or OK the feelings by saying, “I understand” or “I would be sad/angry/frustrated/ too.”

                Feelings are neither right or wrong. They just are. When feelings are acknowledged and validated, the energy of the emotion weakens and will start to lose steam, which is exactly what we want. Imagine if you were angry and if someone, anyone, responded with an, “I understand.” Would that not make you feel less angry? 

Here’s what my talented editor, Amy M., had to say when she put Dealing with the Feeling to test with her 3 year-old son, Lughan: 

Hi, Roma, 

I have been doing “It seems like you’re feeling XXXX … I understand … I would feel XXXX too” with our three-year-old, and it is becoming a natural response. I can see it working even in the midst of some of our bugaboo moments; several times it’s left me thinking, “I didn’t expect THAT to go so well!” 
I just fully realized that I have been doing this for several days now and should really let you know … and THANK YOU!

That’s what we want! We want to turn down the volume of the emotions and make way for effective communication. And effective communication is a confidence booster for both parents and children. So every chance you get, respond by Dealing with the Feeling and Spot it, Say it, OK it and you’ll be well on your way to building EI: yours and your children’s.

Emotional Intelligence and its end result, effective communication, is what will help you be more relaxed and happy so that you can focus on Raising Kids to Be Happy, Think Positive and Do Good!

Please do share your examples with us on our TOG Facebook page and Twitter Handle @toolsofgrowth